“Nobody cares. Work harder.” Those words have been ringing in my ears since I heard Tomi read them on Audible in my car earlier today. I am entering a new chapter in my life; a new, exciting, scary chapter. I’m two weeks away from closing on my first home! Two weeks away from having a mortgage, two weeks away from my own sanctuary and endless home improvement projects. I am so excited. I have worked so long and so hard for this and I’m damn proud of myself. Entering this new chapter has forced me into some deep reevaluations about my priorities and some come-to-Jesus moments about how to compartmentalize parts of my life, so that I have enough in me to tend to all of my responsibilities.
Ever since I graduated high school I have worked full time (or more) and paid my way through school. I’ve chipped away at my degree while working a wide array of jobs, including nannying, managing farmers’ markets and street fairs, waitressing, and for the last three plus years, my job at the law firm. I have always worked hard at whatever I happen to be doing at the time, but my true goals, passion and aspirations all center around writing. The problem is that writing has always taken a backseat to the job I’m working to pay the bills. My current job is more demanding than any job I’ve ever had. I work really hard, and I’m good at my job. I am what most would consider successful. But knowing internally that I am succeeding in a career path that is not where I wanted to be can be disheartening at times. I want to write, but my job isn’t to write. I make no money sitting here typing this out. I make no money from my hilarious tweets or my political commentary. I make no money from the labor of love it takes to put myself and my writing out there. And that’s okay, for now. But I want to make money doing those things. I want to make money writing, and talking about politics, and commentating on social issues. Those are the things that light the fire in my soul and fulfill me.
As I’m beginning this new phase in my life I’m learning some very important things. My current career, and the career I dream for myself are not in the same wheelhouse. I work to pay the bills, but it’s not the work I have always dreamed of doing. I’ve dreamed of writing articles and op-eds and books, all while knowing I am not putting the time and energy I need to into my writing in order to achieve those things. I know that if I go to work now, do what is expected of me, bust my ass, and continue learning that I will be successful. It’s very black and white. There are no guarantees with writing. Writing requires vulnerability; it requires patience and energy and confidence. I have the opportunity to redesign my life, start new habits, make new goals, and it’s all right in front of me. I can stand in my home and know that all of the work I’ve put in and all the sacrifices I’ve made were worth it, because I have the house to show for it. I could say the same about my position at work. I want to be able to say the same about writing.
Maybe it’s this new phase of life, maybe it’s that I turned 25 this year, maybe it’s the frustration I have with myself, or maybe it’s the inspiration from other young, successful women that are forcing me into this headspace. Likely, it’s a combination of everything. I don’t have all the time in the world. If I keep doing what I’m doing, day in and day out, I am not fighting for myself or for my dreams. I’ve wanted nothing more than to write, for years and years, but have always kept it on the backburner. Something I’ll get to eventually, something that will happen eventually, something that is secondary to the job that puts money in the bank. I had the realization today that if I don’t treat writing the way I treat my job now, it never will put money in the bank. Sure, I work hard, but if I’m not working hard at the things that I want to be successful in, then what am I doing?
I don’t have much of a message for anyone reading this as much as it is a message to myself. To manifest my dreams, to wake up, to stop wasting time, and to start doing the things I love to do in hopes that someday it will pay the bills. I’m sure a lot of my realizations come from maturity, and a lot of them come from observation and self-reflection. If I’m not happy with an aspect of my life, or I want to achieve my goal of getting a book deal by my 30th birthday, I’m going to have to get to work. I owe it to myself now and I owe it to my 18 year old self to chase my dreams. I feel so hopeful and excited about what the next season of my life will bring, and I feel empowered to do all of the things I’ve been too scared or too busy or too intimidated to throw my heart into. There is no time better than now, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store. I’m not going to tell you, I’m just going to show you. And those wise words from my girl Tomi will be ringing in my head the whole way, “Nobody cares. Work harder.”