Photo by goodies first-Krista

Have you ever felt like your life was on a roller coaster? I have and very recently, too. Here’s what’s been going on:

1. Work sucks

You might wonder how something negative like being disgruntled at work could lead to something wonderful. But it did.

It  all started when I asked to leave work one hour earlier three times a month so that I could volunteer for an organization I care about. My request was denied,labelled excessive and they questioned my commitment. I was upset with their decision and my recruiters asked if it was time for me to move on.

I couldn’t think straight. I agreed to an interview for a full-time position elsewhere for another job I am overqualified for. I felt lost, confused and on the road to giving up my dreams.

Then something wonderful happened. I reached out to a trusted friend for her opinion on my situation. Her reply was, “Priya, you still have yet to answer this question for me in a complete sentence: what is your dream job, all practicalities aside?

Now the pressure was on!

I was put on the spot and desperate to pull myself out of this mental fog. So I said the first thing that came to mind: “I want to be a writer working from home. I want to set my own hours and be self-employed.” Then, like gears in a lock, everything clicked into place.

My mind ran with the idea of being self-employed and I envisioned myself working long hours on projects of my choosing, taking breaks as I saw fit, getting enough sleep, reading, writing and learning. I eagerly searched online to discover making this work, reading sites on writing, freelancing and blogging, soaking it up with a zest I haven’t felt in years. I was motivated like I haven’t been in years. Finally, I was on the right path!

2. I’m going to become a writer!

In case you missed that announcement in my first point, I’m making it official now!

Fiction is something I’ve enjoyed since childhood. I remember weekly visits to the library during the summer, lugging home 13 books at a time and reading all day long. My 6th grade creative writing assignments (along with sentence diagrams!) are few parts of my early education  that I can recall from memory quite easily. I remember being a freshman in high school when it first dawned on me that becoming a writer was a profession I’d want to pursue.

So when did my dream of becoming a writer die? When my dad swiftly killed it with his discouragement.

My dad had a strong opinion on what career path I should follow: molecular biology. He had his own dreams on what his children should study and they extended from his own career ambitions and shortcomings. As a teenager in high school with a very strong authority figure, I didn’t have the guts to stand up to him on this, mainly because I believed his fears to be true. As a writer there is so much competition that it would be difficult to find steady employment. That scared me a lot. I like stability (who doesn’t?) and am very risk-averse. So I gave it up and went after a different dream.

Fast forward to present day: the economy is still recovering slowly and I’ve been stuck working jobs I am over qualified for in an industry I have no interest in. I’ve followed the “safer path” and still have not reaped the rewards of my patience. I’m so tired of waiting for someone else to give me a chance to prove I’m amazing. I need to give myself a chance to prove I’m amazing.

My Awesome Girlfriend gave me another sage piece of advice. She noted that given all the awards, accolades and accomplishments I’ve already achieved in my life, I could afford a failure. I could take a risk, fall flat on my face, and still not have it put dent in all the successes I’ve had to date.

Huh, I never really looked at it that way. But I am now. Most importantly, I won’t let my father’s discouragement hold me back anymore and am willing to face that struggle now.

New Goal for 2013: Quit my day job and get paid to write while working from home. 

Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, how have you re-defined your path? Share your goals below!

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