I’ve heard people talk about “being realistic about how real life works” and what’s possible. I’m grateful that I don’t listen very well, and realized a long-shot dream.
7 years ago I worked for DC government. I was doing great work (on paper): running the breastfeeding program for DC WIC. But I had totally burned out for a variety of reasons, and there was mold at the office, and I was terrified that it was exacerbating my medical issues.
It was my chiropractor who first encouraged me to think about what I WANTED. My initial reaction? I was furious—I felt like he was mocking me. At that point, I was technically disabled, barely walking, having major fatigue issues, in severe pain daily and *just* squeaking by. I mean, just sitting in a chair for 8 hours was about maxing me out.
I did talk to Mr. Dude back then about leaving my job. He sat me down, and we had the “this is our mortgage, these are our salaries, this is the house going bye-bye without your salary. Any questions??” I don’t blame him in the least. I knew what I wanted to move away from, but didn’t yet have a vision of what I was moving TOWARD. I just wanted out, and had no plan.
Dream? Who was I kidding. I had a steady job with benefits and job security. The grown up thing is to suck it up and continue the course.
Yet the seed was planted. And what fun is the “adult thing” anyhow.
By then, I had started helping people with a gluten-free diet online and in person, and it was a perfect match. I knew it would be a great fit, and yet…bridging the gap to starting a business seemed ridiculous. Sick people don’t start businesses. What was I supposed to do, network? I was walking around with a cane, and perpetually a funky shade of greyish green.
Oh, and did I mention that I hated clinical nutrition during my internship because I thought it meant working in a hospital and never learned anything about private practice?
And, somehow, that seed started to sprout.
I started by asking around, and I found a perfect place with super cheap rent. I left my job, and they let me do some independent contracting, and I worked 2 days a week at a local WIC agency.
I started seeing clients, which was a joy. It wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns: I also had things that looked promising end abruptly, and days where it felt like the sky was falling. I made a lot of mistakes because I didn’t have a roadmap. It was humbling. I can’t say it was a smooth process for me, but I don’t ever remember even considering giving up.
I had opportunities fall in my lap out of the blue and was speaking at groups maybe a month or two after I started. I was lucky in making good connections. Slowly, and yet, amazingly, pieces fell in place. Mr. Dude was/is a huge support, especially for classes. My former supervisor even took pictures for my website and logo.
I’ve been seeing clients formally for more than 6 years, and I love it. Or at least I’m very grateful for the overwhelming majority of it.
Looking backwards, I wonder how I stuck with this early on. Good thing I have the temperament of a pit bull with a bone. I’ve always been terrified of change, and I realized early that a certain amount of fear was (usually) a sign that I was on the right track, rather than a sign I should retreat. Of course, much of it was the fortune of finding wonderful people. But none of it would have happened if someone didn’t see more in me, or if I didn’t choose to see more in myself.
I can say is that my dream has been a blessing to me, and (I believe) to others. I had every reason imaginable to believe my dream was impossible, or at the very least, highly improbable.
And yet, here I am. Doing what I want, and able to make it work financially, too. I have the sense of using my gifts for what I love, and that in itself is amazingly rewarding.
And, of course, if I can do it, so can you.
I love the words of Joseph Campbell:
“When you follow your bliss…doors will open where you would not have thought there would be doors, and where there wouldn’t be a door for anyone else.”
What would you do if you didn’t have that little voice on your shoulder saying that you couldn’t?
Drop by for the December Sanity Retreat! This week’s hostess is Valerie of City Life Eats and she posted on getting more present with reflection and breathwork. Hop on over to comment on her post and be entered to win a Nuts.come $50 gift cert!
Posts so far:
- Valerie’s Kickoff post
- Carrie of Ginger Lemon Girl’s Seeking Joy
- Eat Recycle Repeat’s Joy to the World
- Ginger Lemon Girl’s Seeking Joy Every Day
- Day 1: Gratitude
- Day 2: Grateful for Genghis Khat
- Day 3: Grateful for amazing people
- Day 4: The roundabout road to gratitude
- Day 5: Grateful for beautiful weather
- Day 6: Grateful for New Experiences
- Day 7: Grateful for Local Apples
- Day 8: Grateful for Acts of Kindness
- Day 9 & 10: Grateful for Everyday Miracles
- Day 11: Grateful for Resilience
- Day 12: Ah, Grateful
- Day 13: Peaceful Day
- Day 14: Grateful for Pomegranates
- Day 15: Grateful for Interweb goodness
I’m delighted to be joined by wonderful hostesses with likeminded blogs:
- Kickoff: Gluten Free Goodness (moi)
- Dec 7th Kate of Eat, Recycle, Repeat
- Dec 14th Carrie of Ginger Lemon Girl
- Dec 21st Valerie of City Life Eats
- Roundup: Gluten Free Goodness (moi)
I loved reading about your journey and am encouraged by the fact you are doing what you want to be doing. As I enter this new stage in life where I’ve finished homeschooling our youngest and trying to figure out what act three will be I want to hold on to that.
Thanks so much Kathryn, I appreciate that! It’s a fun (and scary) thing to be in the place of choosing your own adventure.