I have a story to tell you. It’s about life being turned upside down.
For all the posts written about the creative process, owing the writing life, and telling myself “You Are A Writer,” I hadn’t really made the leap. In fact, I was feeling even more comfortable about the work I was doing at camp. Yes, I felt called to a type of work where I could help people do what they love, and choose what matters. But I felt my face-to-face work with young men and college guys was perhaps a better choice.
I was content, and ready to settle in for the next 20 years.
In early March, one of my bosses retired. The emotions were swift and heavy. Sad he was stepping back, excited that I may be given more responsibility. Morgan and I talked about the possibilities of staying in Black Mountain long-term, and what that would look like for us.
Two weeks later, I was told my contract would not be renewed after this summer. It was time to move on.
Wow. Didn’t see that coming.
Steven Pressfield alludes to this in The War of Art. The Resistance was growing stronger, and my practice was weakening. Turns out my muse had different plans.
Have you ever had a job change happen out of the blue? It’s tough. But there’s opportunity.
Morgan, my wife, had been applying to nursing programs around the South. So far, she hadn’t been accepted to any, and wait-listed at one; Belmont University in Nashville.
For two weeks after my news, we were in a tailspin. Where’s next? What’s next? There was excitement, we could go anywhere and do anything. But vast opportunity brings anxiety along with it. When you can go anywhere, where do you go?
Have you ever thought about choosing a city because you love it, or think you will? Or do you go to where the best work opportunity lies? These are all questions we asked over and over again.
Mostly, we talked about work. It was time for me to ship and be a writer. No more excuses, no safety net.
One year ago, I took a big step. I declared to the world that I wanted to write and make an impact. Now it was time to actually make the jump.
A traditional job, the kind with two weeks vacation, a desk, 50+ hours a week, and health insurance?
Or the work and time that I have chosen, love, and care about?
Two weeks later, Morgan was accepted in to Belmont’s Nursing program, and the decision was made.
We are moving to Nashville, the Music City.
New places and people are always exciting. I’m very happy that Morgan can follow her dream of becoming a nurse. Do I have the courage to follow mine?
I have the opportunity to give writing and online business a real shot. We have some money saved up, I would work part-time to pay bills, and our living arrangements are affordable. Doing all of this meant cutting back even more than we had, and going on a strict budget.
Am I willing to do this for a season, to create my own future?
Could I let go of the expectations of income, status, and possessions?
For all my writing, I didn’t know. And I was pissed at myself.
I would love to hear about what kind of situations you have been in regarding work and big life changes.
If you’re in this situation, it’s always helpful to speak with people who have gone before you. I spoke with a few people who wed incredibly helpful to me. Matt Frazier (NoMeatAthlete.com) gave some very helpful advice on building a tribe and being patient with your growth.
I didn’t speak with Pat Flynn (SmartPassiveIncome.com) directly, but his story of being let go was very powerful and resonated with me. I also felt I was doing everything society told me was right, and it still didn’t work out as I hoped. I’m not upset about it, but I am breaking away from following the road map we’ve been given by default.
John Saddington (Tentblogger.com) was very patient with me through many emails, encouraged me (demanded is a good word as well) to follow the path of growth, and not be afraid to let a project die.
“You follow the momentum… always.” – John Saddington
I still don’t know exactly what everything is going to look like. What I do know is I won’t be looking to jump in the next desk job right away, trading hours for pay. But this type of writing and digital life, reaching people and helping you choose what matters, what we all do to prioritize our lives, I’m giving it a real shot.