Monday, December 26, 2011
Choosing "Failure" or It's Never Too Late to Do What You Dream
Moving home with my mom was always my "worst case scenario". I used to refer to it that way a lot. I had considered my 'worst case scenario' many times during years of working for psychotic attorneys with anger management issues and personality disorders. (You wouldn't believe me if I told you. But I will, sometime.) It wasn't just the bosses, bad as they were. The clients had long ago convinced me that humanity had begun to devolve...rapidly. When I found myself starting each day with the thought "most men lead lives of quiet desperation" running through my head and I was "most men", I knew it was time to get out. \
I still wasn't ready, however, to surrender to the "worst case scenario." I hung in there in Chicago refusing to give up the museums and the nightlife and the CULTURE. I'd spent 18 years trying to get away from the small town I'd grown up in, no way could I survive returning there. I was convinced my mind would atrophy, I would be utterly adrift in a sea of rednecks and white trash, alone and growing more and more bitter by the day. Not to mention I had no idea how I would explain such a move to my friends and acquaintances. Giving up a decent salary, a respectable career and the urban lifestyle isn't exactly what most people I know choose to do at age 35. I felt deep down that people would think I'd failed, that Chicago had chewed up the small town girl and spit her out. So, I stayed in Chicago, unemployed and wondering what to do next. It took a year but I finally realized that Chicago was making me more and more bitter by the day. I was tired of the expense of just trying to live in the city and the inconvenience of everything from carrying groceries up to my apartment to doing laundry to parking during the day. I was beyond sick of planning my life around rush hour traffic. So, perhaps inevitably, I threw in the towel, packed my things and headed south.
In the midst of my horrible jobs I used to pray for time, time to figure out what I really wanted to do in life. Well, I guess I got it and now that I have it, I spend a lot of it wandering through Walmart but I'm also pursuing my dream of being a writer. It never seemed possible before. With student loan payments hanging over my head and a lifetime of training for a very specific career behind me, writing was not a practical occupation to pursue. It never even occurred to me to write until I was a junior in college and had already been accepted to law school. So, I'm coming to it late and with a tendency to procrastinate that is a real problem. Still, "most men lead lives of quiet desperation" and I refuse for that to be me anymore.
It's been an interesting year since I left Chicago. I'll be writing about some of my experiences and thoughts from the past year from time to time. Mainly, what I've discovered is, the people who matter don't think I'm a failure and the ones who don't have time for small town me, no longer matter to me. As it turns out, you can go home again. It might be a bizarre experience but you may find that you were small town all along and there's nothing wrong with that.