For a long time, I was embarrassed to talk about how much I liked to write or even allude to wanting to write for a living. It just didn’t feel like a valid career path and, so, made me feel less valid as an adult. It felt like I was chasing a child’s dream rather than embracing a passion that I so clearly had from a very young age. This refusal to take on a non-traditional work lifestyle is something I see very often in my generation, especially in the Greek community which I grew up in. Our parents grew up in a time when it was more acceptable to have children young and did everything in their power to provide them with the best life, which is very respectable. However, this mentality was then perpetuate to the millennial generation, despite the massive digital shift that occurred and which made it that much easier to pursue a career in the arts simply by taking yourself and your work online.
I will often meet people in my age group and from my childhood community that don’t have a specific passion to tap into and are making their career, which then leads to settling with with traditional jobs that may not be in the field they would have wanted to be in had they had more freedom growing up to discover a passion. Of course, this is all from my experience and observation, so these perceptions aren’t set in stone, but it is something that many people I talk to seem to struggle with.
In 2018 I unknowingly started my own business by taking on a regular freelance writing opportunity. I never really considered that writing could become a type of work that pays, let alone start my own business all about it, but those are the opportunities the internet has offered young creatives like myself. Even after working with this client for a few months I was still hesitant in accepting that this was something I could do as a full on career, thinking that I would probably go back to an office job at some point when I decide to get “serious”. However, my understanding and perception of the freelance lifestyle has changed immensely in the past few months and I can honestly say that I have come to accept that writing has always been what gives me purpose in life and that I am ready to finally embrace it. Since coming to that realization, I noticed 3 things about myself:
1) I was beginning to feel much more fulfilled, despite not making as much money as I was in my previous office job
2) I was excited to tell people what I did for a living, rather than shrugging it off as “I work for so and so”
3) I was curating my life to match what I envisioned for myself as the ideal way to live, rather than struggling to combine a not-so-enjoyable work life with a fulfilling private life
While these are huge revelations for me, I’m not going to say that everything has been perfect since accepting my new work lifestyle—pushing myself to achieve more than I think I’m capable of and realizing that it’s going to take some more time and growth to make as much as I did working at a large corporation are both struggles I deal with on a daily basis. But, I have now learned that what I want and what I can get aren’t mutually exclusive; when opportunities align in just the right way and you allow yourself to embrace the change and the fear, wonderful things can happen.