Make it Happen!

Posted by Judy Anne Cavey on Mar 1, 2012 in , , | No Comments

“Follow your heart”, advice many of you have gotten at one time or another–usually not regarding a college major or career.

Often we become “practical”, choosing a safer route. Perhaps one suggested to us by parents, guidance counselor or friends. Do you yearn to become a writer? Great, but how do you intend to pay the bills after majoring in Journalism? A promising musician? Why not? But can you support yourself and one day, perhaps a family? You want to become an artist, however, your parents want a doctor in the house. Sound familiar?

You Must Change Your Life

I recently read an article by writer Ali Liebegott, “Live Your Dream Life“, Self Magazine, which gave her personal account of stacking cat food in a store to support her love of writing. She tells the reader how she awoke two years ago, with a line by poet Rainer Maria Rilke in her head: “You must change your life.” And so she did, quitting a prestigious college teaching job and opting for a house sitting stint that lasted three months. There, she spent her time writing.

Work in her family’s eyes, was a real job, one that a person went to and put in an honest days labor. She wanted to write, but that didn’t qualify as a job with the family. It wasn’t until she was shopping at a food co-op and mentioned to a friend who worked there, that her teaching career was bogging her down in stress, that a change began. Her friend suggested she apply for a job at the co-op where many employees were writers and artists, wanting work, but also wanting time to hone their craft. Not only did she get the job, she received a 20 percent grocery discount, health insurance, 35 percent off vitamins and matching 401(k) contributions–all this, and time to write!

Your Own Definition of Success

Ms. Liebegott recalls while working, a former colleague showed up at the co-op, stating that she envied her new simpler existence. Yet, even with that, she had her own twinge of envy. She lamented, in the working world, a professor is perceived as “successful”–not a grocery clerk that stacks cat food cans. However, that’s all in the eye of the beholder, isn’t it? Each of us needs to define success for ourselves.

The doubts Ms. Liebegott had about her career change eventually faded, especially after having 30 hours a week to write. She ends her article with this:“That may not be visible to the outside world [extra time to write] , but it means the world to me.” The author has published two critically successful books and is a freelance writer. Not bad for someone who stacks cat food cans at a co-op!

Make it Happen!

What dream do you have? Are you following your heart in your choice of college major and career? Perhaps it’s time to redefine what success means to you in order to get a clearer picture of what you really want for your future. 


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