Hi friends! Today’s post is going to be a little more on the personal side. I’ve been dealing with an inordinate amount of stress the past few days and it has made me reconsider pretty much everything; from my career path to my living situation, and all the little details that go along with those choices.
Being a writer, like any creative path, is unstable and unlikely to yield any rewards for many years. We have to work in jobs we probably wish we didn’t in order to support ourselves while we use any and all free time to do the thing we love. I, myself, have been unemployed for over 2 years. I have, literally, sent out over 200 resumes, receiving only 3 responses, none of which led anywhere. This is a stress unto itself because my much younger sister has been supporting us all this time. You can imagine what this does to my creativity.
I tend not to share too much about myself for a couple of reasons. One, I feel my writer side is almost a separate entity. Two, I’ve always been a little shy of sharing who I am; I have a small pool of friends, I don’t care for big gatherings where I don’t know anyone, and as you’ve probably noticed, I hide behind an avatar, everywhere, even on my personal FB page. There’s also the small thing about some people who have been in my life knowing that it’s me who writes here.
So when the stress began, due to my sister’s job, I had to wonder if the path we were on was the best choice at the moment. If she were to lose her job, we would for all intents and purposes be screwed. We could not afford to live in LA for longer than a month, and in this current market, it would be unlikely that she would find another job of that caliber in such a short amount of time. And this was an enormous wake up call.
We didn’t have a backup plan.
I am a planner. I am all about lists. Except for outlines in regards to my writing. So the fact that we had never considered what we would do in such an event was a more than a little off putting. It was probably always lingering a bit in the back of our minds, something neither of us was willing to explore or bring to the forefront, like any bad omen, the more you talk about it the more likely it will come into existence.
I’m the big sister. I half raised her from the time I was nineteen (we have a brother too, who, in part because of our move to LA we rarely speak to. That’s a story for another day.). It is my job to take care of her and the last couple of years have been emotionally draining and depression inducing. Because she has born the weight of responsibility all this time, she hasn’t been able to finish school, we haven’t been on any type of vacation, we have no savings, we rarely splurge on anything, and this is a hard pill for me to swallow. This is not how life was supposed to be. I knew moving to LA was going to be a bit of a rough journey, but I never expected this. I suppose that will mean I will savor the success I am damned determined to achieve that much greater.
So, together, we plotted out a couple of options of what to do “in case of emergency”. This is something I would recommend not just to my fellow creatives, but everyone. Me chasing my dreams should not be a hinderance to our livelihood. This week I had one of those moments where I questioned whether pursuing being a professional writer was worth it. I know that writing is my passion. It is the only thing I want to do, and I will continue to do it, but I may have to suck it up and do something else in the meantime for the sake of my family. Although it’s not like I’ve not been trying, but maybe moving out of one of the most expensive cities in the country should be an option. I can write anywhere. I can submit from anywhere.
After our conversation last night, I felt better, not great, but a little more at ease that we wouldn’t be destitute. She and I have decided that we are going to work towards our mutual goal of moving overseas. As many of you who have been following me know, I am an Anglophile. Since I was nineteen, it has been my desire to live in England, and now we are making plans of making that a reality. Regardless of how things continue here, this is our long term goal. Again, this is a story for another day.
Thank you for letting me get this off my chest. Hopefully, one day in the near future, this bump in the road will make us laugh or at least sigh with that sort of edgy relief.
So my tip of the day, and not meant in the Debbie Downer sort of way, Make a Backup Plan! Don’t be caught off guard and be left with choices you don’t want to make and consequences that may affect you in ways you aren’t prepared. Let me be your example of what not to do. 🙂
On a side note, I had a really interesting dream that will probably lead me to a new story idea. So there’s that.
Happy TGI Friday! Best wishes to you all!