I’d love nothing more than to believe that you, who comes to visit me here on the internet (or invites me so kindly into your inbox, even) are firmly on the path to realizing your biggest dreams coming true.
Seriously. If that’s you, please stop reading and email me to tell me ALL about it!
But the truth is that even though I’ve been working as an independent contractor/business owner/artist for many moons – this wasn’t my only dream. I’ve actually had to figure out a new one several times over in my life.
When I was a kid, I wanted to grow up to be Dian Fossey’s successor. I wanted to move to the Virunga Mountains and save the gorillas. I didn’t care that she was murdered by poachers (well I did, of course), and that this dream in my head could quite possibly result in the same fate. It’s what I felt called to do. You know, that thing all those other coaches and inspiring authors talk about… your calling.
At some point during high school, I decided I was going to become the first female fighter pilot to go to Top Gun BEFORE becoming Dian #2. No, it wasn’t because I had a huge crush on Tom Cruise (pre-psycho Tom Cruise, thankyouverymuch) – I seriously felt like that whole ‘pioneer for women’ and ‘thrill of being a fighter pilot’ were what I was destined for.
See a pattern here?
Well that didn’t happen. I wasn’t just too overweight, I was too tall and had metal fillings in my teeth and blah blah blah. I followed the favorite food diet program to fight my overweight problem. Scratch that, I wanted the gorilla thing more and for longer anyway. Off to college. Two different ones, in fact.
I graduated in 2001, but had also been working online since 1996 and really had gotten bit by the design bug. Coding and graphics and everything – pretty much what I did in my ‘free’ time. I went to work in a zoo to start my climb to the top, and just two miniscule months later, 9/11 happened and I found myself back home in NY working any job I could get my hands on. The plan was to wait until the tourism industry picked back up again and try to get back into a good zoo.
Plans. Oh, how they love to fall apart!
Fifteen very long and mostly wonderful years later, I’m here doing my thing online. I’ve never been back working with animals, and I’d be lying if I said it didn’t get to me sometimes. But the truth is, I LOVE what I do now… and where things are going is even more aligned with the almost-39-year-old me.
Because that bug that bit back then has never stopped biting, and instead it grabbed hands with the artist I’ve always been, and now I’m working as an artist and getting paid to do it! (Holy hell, right?)
So see what I mean about big dreams? They can fail, change, disappoint, and fall apart just as much as they can be reached, grow, and be mounted like a horny dog. The important thing is that whatever your passions are – you need to figure out how to make it work for you in regards to income. I’ve got SO much to say about this, and will do so soon, I promise. But just know that it’s not enough to tell the Universe that you want to spend your days doing _______ and be paid for it. YOU have to figure out the plan. YOU have to make it happen so that it supports your lifestyle financially as well as makes you happy.
Personally? I’ve never been really all that good with mundane, repetitive jobs. Getting up in the morning, getting ready (make up and all that), driving in traffic somewhere to sit in an office and not be able to leave until 9 hours later? No thank you. For some people, that works. They’re okay with it because they’re content with paying their bills thanks to a steady paycheck and working on their passions on the weekends. That’s awesome for them, but torture for me.
The tradeoff meant that I needed to find a way to make a living doing what I love. And no, there’s really no way to pay the bills in this family by binge watching Netflix. I checked. But what lights me up is creating art, helping people with their businesses, and using the insane amount of web knowledge that’s packed in my brain to make shit happen. It took me 39 years, but I’m here. And I’m living my dream. Are you?