Thirteen years ago I was dating a guy who had a roommate. This roommate was a little whacky but also very smart. He had decided years before that he would get married on a particular date. As the date grew near, and he didn’t have a serious girlfriend, he launched a campaign to find a wife. His friends and family interviewed a slew of candidates, they chose the one they felt was best suited for him, and the couple got married…meeting in-person for the first time just minutes before the ceremony. They are still together, have children and from what I’ve heard, are very happy.
My boyfriend and I, at the time, broke up just before all of this went down so I watched it from the outside. I remember thinking it was crazy. Insane. A publicity stunt. Ridiculous. I still shake my head thinking about it…but…BUT…it worked.
My girlfriend Ess and I had lunch a couple weeks ago and we were talking about the idea of The Year of What If. She said that if I was going to do “what ifs” that I need to REALLY kick it into high gear and “what if” the hell out of this year. Meaning, if I come up with crazy ideas to garner more readers, than by God I need to just try it. What do I have to lose?
It has me thinking about risk. I have a history of seeking out professional opportunities that seemed just a bit out of my league. It’s served me well over the years and I’ve found myself in amazing jobs and organizations simply because I was willing to go after roles I wasn’t entirely sure I was qualified to fill. Why wouldn’t I be thinking that way now?
In the past five weeks I’ve learned a lot about myself, my phenomenal support system, and what I am and am not willing to do with the precious little time I have in amongst all I have in my life. I’ve had to cut down on some of the commitments I’d made that just weren’t working for me and/or my family. I’ve had to sharpen my time management skills to allow for a second “job.” I’ve had to do a lot of soul searching to determine what I am and am not willing to share and how that may or may not affect the little girls. And I’ve had to figure out just what to make of this newfound passion of mine now that I’m well into my career and can’t afford to close-up shop and start something new.
The thing is…I love it. I love writing every day. I love receiving your comments and having the opportunity to talk to people outside of my circle of friends. I love that after the little girls go to bed I have something to do that excites me, makes me laugh, challenges me, and holds my interest every single day. I love that I now understand how my husband feels about his actual job and I am so much more grateful that he has that.
So what comes next?!
Yeah, yeah, the point of this post isn’t that I’m crazy. Although…my husband…and friends…and parents…might call that debatable some days. But I’m not expecting my phone to ring next week with an offer I can’t refuse. (If said offer exists please email me and I’ll give you my digits STAT!)
But what if…I mean WHAT IF I put in the work to make this something really special? What if I do follow through with any fleeting idea that, might be crazy but also, might. Just. Work.
Crazier things have happened, right? We hear stories all the time of people who have the audacity to try something crazy and then…oddly enough…it actually works. What if I could be one of those lucky people?
We all seem so ready to believe that extraordinary things can’t happen to us. They always happen to someone else. I don’t think I’m willing to do that anymore. If taking risks, or putting myself out there, or “what iffing the hell out of this year” can bring more good things than I’ve already received, it’s totally worth it.
If the guy who campaigned for a wife on the streets now has a decade of a happy marriage and three kids under his belt, couldn’t I possibly have the opportunity to make this my life’s work? I mean come on…couldn’t I?
TODAY: What if I take risks, plunge forward head held high, and “what if the hell out of this year?” What if instead of passively treating this like a hobby I look at it as a tremendous opportunity to do something I love and about which I’m passionate? What if WRITER is the next role I seek even though I’m not entirely certain I’m qualified to fill it?