I started my “adult” life very practically. My dreams of being a rockstar or famous author (either one would have worked out wonderfully for me!) had been put on hold in order to chase a college education, be practical, and make enough money to pay the bills. I listened to the practical, guiding voice of my father, and entered college – majoring in the most practical of all majors, accounting.
12 years later, my practicality had brought me to the top of my game – I was employed at one of the largest firms in my industry, holding an import title and a cushy job. I was well liked, successful at what I did, and a superstar in the company. A GREAT gig by all means, until one day I found myself thinking:
I would much rather poke myself in the eye with this pencil than sit through another one of these financial meetings…
I really didn’t want to poke my eyes out, so the only other choice was to correct what made me feel the way I did. So, I began making a series of changes that corrected my course ever so slightly at first, and then much more drastically once I tasted how truly wonderful my life could be. I was moving away from being 110% dissatisfied, to 110% satisfied.
At a family Christmas one year, my mother, whom I adore with all my heart, was telling stories about my childhood to my children. I remember hearing her say to them, “When your mom was a child, she never went anywhere without her notebook. She was like a little mad scientist, scribbling in her notebook everywhere we went, writing about everything she saw. I often wondered if she would paint me a heroine or a villain in one of her books. I thought for sure she would be a famous writer…”
I remember sitting there, holding my hot chocolate, and when my mom said those last words, I felt a distinct pang somewhere in the deepest pocket of my heart. (I call this my heart of hearts, that secret place where all your wishes, hopes and dreams are whispered and given life.) It was the ghost of my creative self reaching from the secret place, and she cried gently, but lovingly to me:
“…write, because you must.“
That night, I cried. I didn’t know where I went so wrong. How had I ignored my heart all these years? I missed that – so much I barely knew where to begin. The important thing to know – I decided that moment to BEGIN:
- I grabbed an empty notebook and just wrote. I wrote down all my secret hopes and dreams – the ones in my heart of hearts. The ones that were whispered but never spoken?THOSE secret hopes and dreams. I wrote them ALL down.
- I wrote down all the things that brought me pain, anger, discomfort or even minor irritation. The list was scary. THOSE items were also secretly whispered in my heart, but never acknowledged.
- List 1 would say: WISH: I want to start writing again. Something creative and TOTALLY unstructured and NOT financially related. Create something every day. GRANTED: So I wrote in my journal everyday for a year.
- List 2 would say: PROBLEM: My job is killing me. SOLUTION: Quit.