I believe in following dreams. It’s what will keep you moving, getting up day after day. I believe in traveling the globe, in adventure, in opening your mind to new experiences.
I believe know there’s no glamour in financially struggling.
Following is an honest look at “following your bliss” into dark corners. A recent experience led me to believe that sometimes, your dreams have to be put aside for awhile, at least until the ship rights itself, ’til the storm is over.
You’ve seen the Pinterest boards of the blue car on the wide open road with a nice Kerouac quote: “Live, travel, adventure, bless, and don’t be sorry.” These Pinterest boards all have us wanting to sell our stuff and take to the open road.
- You’ll serve rude people pie and work on your writing. Looked good in that movie, right?
- You’ll tootle around the country in a jeep for a year
- You’ll publish a novel about your life on the road. Because no one’s done that yet.
- You’ll become a famous blogger. There aren’t many travel bloggers right?
All of these things sound great.
Read no further if you’re currently sitting on a stack of dollar bills. Or if your name is Richard Branson. If you are either of those two people, please by all means, follow your bliss.
For the rest of us, consider this:
Inspiring quotes leave out the convenient fact that people NEED things. Not things like more chairs, Mac computers and smartphones, things like money and medical insurance. And what pays isn’t traveling the world and writing books. Let’s be honest. This country doesn’t exactly “value” artists with copious sums of cash.
My recent “seizing the day” would have landed me in some scorching water if I had not saved and developed skills in copywriting, a career that pay well and can be fun.
How Carpe Diem Kicked Me in the A$$
A few months ago, I let my copywriting contract expire at a Mega Corp.
I worked on a compound for nine months. They called it a campus, but it was a compound. Every building was painted a sad, unwelcoming gray and named with a number or letter combination. I had to turn down the work I wanted to do, work that pays in by-lines and creativity and travel for writing work that didn’t make me happy. Writing work that wasn’t filled with bliss.
Keep in mind, I had just come from Quebec where I was working as a freelance journalist and travel writer, covering music, art, and food, all of the things I adore. I even got to write about Prince William and Kate. How cool is that?
At HQ, Monday turned quickly into Friday, turned quickly into Monday again. I wrote lots and lots of things that sold lots and lots of things.
The cubicle walls tightened. I decided since the contract was coming up, to freelance for a while. Go back to journalism. Focus more on travel writing. How hard would it be? I could get another contract right away, right?
Carpe Diem, Carpe Diem, Carpe Diem!
My “bliss” led me into a dark corner. Stupid bliss.
The week after I left my job and the week before we left for Paris, a very.serious health issue came to our door and with it came a stack of medical bills.
If we had not saved and worked all throughout our marriage, the situation would have been much more stressful. If we didn’t have insurance, good health care would have been out of the question. Our ship has since righted itself and we’re basically back to normal. We’re lucky. A lot of people aren’t so lucky. If we weren’t anchored, just a little bit, this storm could have ripped us apart. (Sorry for all the nautical references…)
Travel and my writing career woes suddenly didn’t seem so important. Not more important than the well-being of my family. Letting my contract expire seem foolish, even though I had no idea what fate had in store. They say to travel when you’re young, but I say to travel always. Travel and follow your bliss, but be practical and careful, have money stowed away. Sometimes, “bliss” (air quotes because I hate the term) is staying just where you are and being in the moment with your nearest and dearest. Sometimes that’s all you need.
Allow yourself stability if it’s required. Don’t let your dreams come before your life needs. Take care of yourself, even in your twenties. Life gets hard and when it gets hard, all of us need a solid support system: Money, friends, blankets. A dog. Ice cream. A solid exercise routine.
Have solid support in place. Then hit the road.