Alicia Anthony

Suspense with a Twist

Tag: career change

Spring Renewal

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Starting over – it’s not easy, but the season of Spring exudes it. Flowers poke their heads above the warming earth and trees begin to bud and leaf. What better season, then, to make a metamorphosis of my own?

I will graduate from Spalding University’s Master of Fine Arts in Writing program on June 4th. It’s been a long journey that has spanned four countries and two continents. It has been the impetus for new friendships with wonderful, imaginative people, and an excuse to travel to places I’d never under normal circumstances get to go. And although it proved arduous at times, and will likely bankrupt me as I spend the rest of my days paying back all those student loans, it is a decision I’d make all over again.

A year ago, in the midst of writing my extended critical essay, I was ready to be done. I was tired of the grind that five packets a semester entailed. Tired of critiquing books by other authors when all I wanted to do was write my own. But now that the time has arrived, now that I’ve spent the last several months immersed in my own fiction, spit shining my creative thesis, I’m having a hard time letting go.

I can’t help but ask the question, “What happens now?”

Thanks to the poignant words of my mentor in our final conference, I think I can begin to answer that question.

This is not the end. This is just the beginning.

This is the time to plan, the time to give voice and merit to the goals I’ve set for myself. It’s time to stop calling this vision I have a dream, and begin calling it what it is…a professional goal. One that I’ve spent the last four years dedicated to achieving, and one that has become even more attainable by earning this degree.

This is my spring renewal… my metamorphosis from dreamer to achiever. My chance to put what I’ve learned into action, not for the purposes of the next packet, but for myself. Each word, sentence, and scene that I write will bring me one step closer to the goals I’ve set for myself. This spring, it’s time to bloom.

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Navigating Life’s Journey

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It is obvious when you meet someone who is truly satisfied with life. There is an ethereal glow that seems to surround them, pulling life, love, and happiness into their gravitational field. I met one such person recently. His passion for his chosen profession was obvious, and intrigued me. This man, let’s call him “Brian”, like many of us, started out on one path, but ended up on quite another. He did what was expected of him, went to college, pursuing a career in resort management. Lucky for him, it didn’t take long to realize that the cobblestones along the path he was taking simply didn’t fit. During a six month internship, fresh out of college, he chose to take the step that would forever change the course of his life. He gathered up his courage, and moved to Hilton Head Island, ready to do what was necessary to find a career that fit.

Ten years later he is one of the most satisfied individuals I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. Spending time with him was like receiving a gift, gleaning knowledge from one who truly loves his profession. That, my friend, is a rarity in the public service industry these days. The look on his face as he navigated our boat through Calibogue Sound and along Jenkins Creek was unmistakable. He wore the expression of a man who is truly at peace. I watched in awe as he kneeled with Jillian, pointing out tiny creatures, nearly invisible to the untrained eye, freely sharing his knowledge and joy with her. I hope someday that Jillian will be able to discover that same peacefulness in whatever endeavor she chooses.

As I reflect on our afternoon with “Brian”, I am amazed by his happiness and satisfaction with life. Like the marshy maze that surrounds Hilton Head, life is a journey we must navigate carefully. One wrong turn can lead us down paths we never intended. At times it may seem we’ve lost our way for good; stuck in a rut from which it is impossible to free ourselves. What I learned from “Brian” is that even if our boat is stuck in the muck at low tide, high tide will always return, lifting our vessel from the mud below. We owe it to ourselves and those around us to free our boat and continue to navigate our journey when the tide returns.

Frustration

A friend of mine recently shared a blog post via Facebook that hit home. It was a rather tongue-in-cheek take on the achievements (or lack thereof) made by those who pursue their dreams in the hours around their day job and familial commitments. (The blog was written by David Ferguson and posted on www.theonion.com if you’d like to read it for yourself.)

Every word that man wrote seemed to come directly from the little sarcastic being that whispers words of doubt and belittlement to me on a daily basis. I am one of those who attempts to achieve my dreams around the day job (it pays the bills) and my family (who offers much needed support). If I were to challenge the role of either of those entities in favor of 100% pursuance of my personal dream, would I be happier in the long run?

That is the ultimate question isn’t it?

We could make a list of pros and cons in an effort to determine the best road to take. Let’s see… if I quit my day job and write eight hours a day, five days a week…

Pro: My stack of completed pieces would be substantially thicker than it is currently. I would also be able to commit more time to the business side of writing, perhaps generating some income through freelancing, etc.

Con: I would be unable to meet financial obligations, which could lead to such things as vehicle repossession or even foreclosure on my home.

I think I can answer with certainty that the inner turmoil of the con in this situation would wreak havoc on my creative juices. Although I would have 8 hours, chances are I would be less able to create the high quality work I currently expect from myself in my abbreviated time slots.

The crazy thing is, I don’t disagree with Mr. Ferguson at all. I don’t want to be one of those people who says, “Well, I gave it 50% and it didn’t pan out, but at least I tried.”

I want to be one of those people that can say, “I did all I could with the time I had and it’s finally working out! Now I can quit my day job!”

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