I don’t know if this happened to you last year or not, but I turned another year older (43… still watching Glee?). Birthdays come and go without much fanfare these days; however, 43 was more stressful than the last few… because of the blog. I was pretty wrapped up in finding a new name for it, mainly since I was no longer going to be 42, but also because I discovered (much to my surprise) that maybe, just maybe, I did have a clue after all…
I know right? Pretty mind-blowing!
The first big change of 2012 came in January when I left my job. I worked at Urban Barn for 10 years, got my Tiffany ring and bolted for greener pastures… Actually, who am I kidding, it was nothing like that. After investing such a long time in a company and helping it grow from 10 to 40 stores you become pretty attached to its people and to its success. Leaving was never something I took lightly. Ultimately, it came down to passion. Sure, the job paid my mortgage, provided me with a comfortable living and helped pay for my new teeth (Chippy, Cracky, Blacky and Can-opener will NOT be missed) but it never truly excited me.
I know a lot of people that hate their jobs and a few who actually love what they do; the difference is astounding. The quality of life for those who sincerely love their jobs versus those of us who are just going thru the motions? It’s night and day. I kept wondering when I was going to find my calling? When was I going to be “one of those people?” When was it going to be my turn?
Things changed when I let go of the fear.
As a person who has suffered with anxiety and panic disorder for most of his adult life, fear is a pretty big deal; it holds a lot of weight and assists in the creation of some monumental “doomsday” scenarios. The things I am able to convince myself of simply defy logic. Fear drives the lies but it is also a warm blanket, a familiar friend in the swirling chaos and a very difficult thing to let go of.
A simple thought continued to nag at me: if I never tried to find my passion I would one day regret it. If I tried and failed then at least I tried. If I never tried, if I let the fear win, then I’ve already failed. I didn’t want to be 72 and look back on my life wishing that I had taken the chance – regretting that I didn’t.
Guess what? The sky didn’t fall. I am not homeless and alone… yet.
The second big decision of 2012 was starting to write… again. I have always been a “closet writer,” somebody who has volumes of unshared short stories, the first few chapters of numerous books quietly hidden away, endless journals and a bounty of poems too terrible to force upon an unsuspecting world. Throughout my life I have used writing to avoid the hard reality of a complex existence. It has always been easier to escape into the written word than to face the fight head on.
I started 42 Still No Clue because I wanted to use my voice. I have stood on the sidelines most of my life, watching in quiet dread as the injustices of the world piled up on the backs of the silent minority while the vocal majority danced in the streets. I had something to say, about being different and marginalized, about a world I didn’t believe in, but I was afraid to stand up and be counted. What if nobody cared? What if I started a blog and nobody wanted to read it? What if I wasn’t as funny as I thought I was?
In the end, when I finally pressed the “publish” button for the first time, it didn’t matter what sort of reception I received. I simply had to speak.
This year I also started writing a memoir about my life. Revisiting the past and telling this story has been exceptionally hard and extremely liberating. From the unlovable little boy who survives against all odds, to the sexually confused teen-ager who escapes into a world of drugs, to the 28 year old man abandoned by God; there’s a compelling narrative in there. I know with certainty, if even one kid who is lost and alone reads my story and makes the choice to live, it matters.
The third, and final part (yes, my self indulgence does have limits) of 2012’s review has to do with making a living. It is all fine and wonderful to write a blog and a book about my life, but I still have to pay the mortgage. The last thing I wanted to do was fall back into a job that I wasn’t passionate about, where my talent and energy were wasted on people with their own agendas. We only have so much energy; it needs to be harnessed and focused on the people who matter, the ones who really have your back.
With Serendipity’s voice whispering in my ear, I challenged myself to think outside of my comfort zone and trust that The Universe would guide the way. I read once, that the perfect job doesn’t exist: it needs to be created, so that is what I did. I work with people I love and respect, have creative outlets (for my tireless brain) and the freedom to spend time on the things and the people who are important to me. I do not make the money I did doing a job without passion, but so what? Quality of life is worth so much more than money.
I will make a bunch of resolutions for 2013, most of which will be broken within the first few days, but there is one that I will keep. I will resolve to live 2013 much like I did 2012, with a little less fear and a lot more faith.
And maybe, just maybe, if I continue to live with an eye towards the horizon of possibility, those “clues” I so desperately crave will continue to manifest in the most unexpected ways.