Recently I wrote about my year-end review and how I thought it turned out pretty good.
Until it didn’t.
And I wrote about the aftermath followup my sociopathic boss had with me two weeks later. Trust me, as rants go, I pretty much set the page ablaze and poured lighter fluid on it. If you want a little hot sauce to go with this piece you can read about it here:
Warning. I cuss when I get pissed. So for my brother and sister writers who have more cultured pallets and sensibilities when they read, I apologize for taking you on a gutter trip in advance.
Now that I’ve had a few days to stew, breakdown, worry, stew, feel terribly sorry for myself, simmer, and then uncurl from my fetal position and start acting like a Human again, my wife started talking to me.
Yeah, I’m a beast when life hands me a raw deal.
Hey, if you folks have been reading me long enough, you already know that right? But this piece today isn’t about life handing me a sh*tty deal. Life gives everybody a sh*tty situation at times.
It’s what we do when it happens that’s important.
Now for me, what I’ve done each and every time life has handed me a sh*tty deal is take the safe way out. Stay with me here. It’ll all begin to make sense in just a bit.
As a child of twelve, I dreamed of being a writer. I loved to write (still do) all the wild stories running in my head. At the time, I never thought of turning all those words I wrote into income.
Income was something I got running a newspaper route on my bicycle or shining shoes at the barbershop or mowing lawns in the neighborhood during the spring and summer months.
It was what was expected, the ordinary, everyday way of making money for a kid back in my day.
But making money as a writer? Oh, h*ll no. I’m wasn’t about to try and take a chance on that.
And then one day I stopped being a child.
Don’t remember when that happened, really. I guess entering the military, serving my tours, and then hooking up with the ladies had something to do with my transformation.
But in the back of my mind, those words were still there. Nestled in the deep recesses of my brain were those absolutely fantastic stories, waiting for me to revisit them, urging me to start writing for real.
I always listened, but I never paid attention. I had myself convinced I couldn’t take the chance of trying to make it as a writer. Instead, I played it safe and started working for this company and that company and those companies, searching for a little pot of gold, then more, then more.
And I met the most wonderful woman in the world, and I fell in love with her, and I married her. At least I’d like to think I married her. Sometimes when we sit in the evenings and chat (every night), she reminds me that she married me.
Either way, I still love her to this day.
Of course, as an old ditty reminds us:
“P.G. and sweetheart sitting in a tree.
First comes love,
Then comes marriage,
Then comes baby in a baby carriage.”
We didn’t have four carriages because we couldn’t afford it, so all four daughters experienced a lot of rideshares in those days.
We were their very own personal Ubers and Lyfts.
The children grew, and of course, their needs along with them. It got to a point where mommy and daddy had to figure out how to pay for everything and keep from living in cardboard boxes beneath some bridge.
And so I always sought out higher-paying work, all the while still hearing those words, those beautiful stories spinning about in my head urging me to take a chance, to focus on writing for a living. It’s what I’d always dreamed about doing.
Just take a chance P.G. It’s what you were born to do.
No, I was born to fall in love, raise a family, and eventually become the sole supporter when my wife went down with her back issues and was forced to retire.
Hey, I knew my role. I knew what was expected of me, and I by God/Goddess did precisely what was expected of me all these years.
Until I realized life wasn’t going to let me.
Remember that story I offered up at the beginning of this piece? About working for a sociopath? Yeah, that one. So here (finally) is the point. It’s like another old saying. You know, the one about taking a crap or getting off the commode?
This time life and the powers that be are again handing me the chance to write full time for a living. If you read the story about my boss being a sociopath, then you all know what the outcome of this “ninety-day action plan” of his will be.
Right, a subjective way of punching my ticket and sending me packing. I know it as well.
Well, my honey and I discussed things last night, and my baby said something that simply blew me away.
“Baby, you were right about what you said yesterday. When you said what you said about how we’ve always taken the safe way, the easy way out trying to live our lives. We’ve gotten accustomed to no or low stress, being able to do whatever we wanted to do on your six-figure salary. But you’ve never been able to really do that one thing you’ve always dreamed of doing. You’ve never been able to follow your dream of writing for a living.”
Jokingly, I told her I thought I’ve had plenty of practice, though. She didn’t laugh. Frankly, neither did I. It was pretty easy to see we both felt life, and a higher power was pushing me through this doorway as fast as it could.
So, here’s what we’re planning to do. I firmly believe I’ve got another ninety days at work. A ninety-day action plan equals ninety days left at work. See how that math works?
Two weeks and two days from today, we will pay off the house mortgage, sell all our stocks, cash in our 401 K (I’m gonna get sh*tcanned at work remember?) and then I’m going to make a decision which just scares the everloving sh*t out of the both of us.
I’m going to start writing full time.
I’m going to give freelancing a go. I’m going to pick back up writing and submitting to magazines, newspapers, any place I think where I may have a shot.
For just this once I’m not taking the easy and safe way out.
We’ll have enough to live comfortably for a little over a year without touching my social security. But by the end of a full year, I better have turned this dream of mine into some dough.
It won’t be easy, and we know it won’t, but sometimes you just have to try, that’s all, just try.
We’re both scared as h*ll as to what the future’s going to bring us, but when I stop to think about it, I’m glad life has finally forced me to follow my dream.
Thank You All For Reading
Paul Gene Barnett
Let’s keep in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
© P.G. Barnett, 2020. All Rights Reserved.