About two and a half years ago, The Wife and I had a pretty life altering conversation. After twenty years with the same company, she decided that her journey was taking her down a different path. She stepped out in faith and made a major move. She left her security. She left comfort zone. She left the familiar behind and started down an unfamiliar road with, ultimately, no clue as to where it would lead.
Once she threw her chips in and got into the hand, the entire game started to crystallize. Sure, she didn’t (and still doesn’t) know what the next card will be, but she’s in the game.
That decision has taken her to places where she never thought she’d be just two plus years ago. And, in reality, she probably wouldn’t if she never pushed her chips in and went for it.
Back when we made those, we also made the decision for me to stay home with the kids and use that time to pursue some of my creative dreams. A little back story, when we were first married and expecting our (soon to be) 13-year-old (Editor’s Note: Ugh! 13!?!?) we made a big decision. We decided that by hook or by crook, we would do everything in our power to prevent our children from being latch-key kids. I’m certainly not condemning families who have ,or choose, to have both parents in the workforce. You have to do what you have to do to make it work. I was a latch-key kid.
Up to the point of The Wife’s career change, she worked primarily part-time during the school year and, during the summer, she would only take weekend shifts. I worked pretty standard full-time gigs, so, at the most, the kids would spend a few hours per week in a wonderful local daycare that was more like family than anything. But, at the time of job change, GiGi was in her final year of Elementary School and would “age out” of any local childcare options at the end of the year.
So we made the decision for me to leave my job and stay home full-time. Be there for the kids. Beat the hell out of the “honey do list” that had gone neglected for the previous three years due to a long commute I was doing daily. And, perhaps most important, actually make legit steps towards pursuing the dream of putting my creativity into the world and seeing if I could turn it into anything. Not a “see if I can get rich writing” thing. Just finding a way to put myself out into the world and see if I had a voice that anyone was looking for.
The first few months went by and, to be honest, I was doing everything but what I should have been. Big sign on the fridge showed all of the projects that I wanted to get done. A calendar on the wall marked the endless stream of social and extra curricular activities that the kids need to be escorted to, picked up from, volunteered at or donated to. Nothing to be found on chasing my dreams.
In early fall, I found an even better way to ignore it – a job. An offer I couldn’t refuse. Ridiculously good money for minimal effort and, on top of that, they’d let me work only when the kids were at school. I’d drop of the youngest, head into the office, and leave in time to pick up the oldest. Perfect setup, right?
I was miserable.
Not because of the job. It was a great job.
Not because of the company. They were awesome.
Because I knew what I was doing. I was at the table, but I was staying out of the hand. I was just folding and letting life take my ante. If I didn’t play, I couldn’t lose. But, I couldn’t win either. And, eventually, I’d be out of chips.
Yesterday was my last day.
It took me over a year to leave the job. In fairness to me, I tried to leave last March, but ended up agreeing to stay on when they offered to let me telecommute 100% of the time. Again, I’m a sucker for the old “offer you can’t refuse.” I’m the first one dead in Mob movie… for sure!
So… today is the day.
I’m All In.
My chips are in the middle, sportin’ shades indoors, my hoodie is up and I’ve got my best poker face on.
This is my last major frontier.
I haven’t won my physical war… but I won the battle.
I haven’t won my spiritual war… but I’m winning.
This is the fight that I’ve avoided for just as long as the others. I’m never happier than when I’m being creative. It’s what I want to do all day… so why can’t I do it for a living?
Find something you love that you’d do for free and DO IT. Figure out the money later. That might not be an option for every person right this second, but it’s exactly what we should all be working toward. It’s never too late.
I’m All In.
Are you just watching or do you have skin in the game?