When I first moved to Australia, all I wanted to do was write full time. To work as a writer has always been my dream. Moving to Australia was a huge accomplishment, but to write for a living too? What an achievement!
So I did what I set out to do – I stayed home and I wrote every day.
And do you know something?
It wasn’t what I thought it would be at all.
I was lonely and isolated. I’d left everyone I knew to move to Australia, yet because of working from home I wasn’t able to go out and make new connections without really pulling myself out of my comfort zone.
If I wasn’t working all day, every day, I felt guilty. I thought people would think of me as a ‘slacker’.
I gained weight.
I was scared to go out of the house on my own.
When asked what I did for a living, a few people’s dismissive comments stuck with me and so I felt judged by everyone who asked me even if they were genuinely interested in my writing.
In short, I caved in on myself.
I lost my sparkle.
I realised that, for my own mental health and wellbeing, I needed to get out. Staying home and writing full time wasn’t for me. I needed to be around people. I needed a ‘normal’ job.
So I got one.
And do you know something? This job has been the best thing I’ve ever done.
I work in education, an area I feel confident in and passionate about. I leave work feeling like I have made a difference. I have Tuesdays and Wednesday’s off so I have time to write, yet work enough days in the week to be around people in a meaningful way.
My life feels full again.
If I’m honest, initially I felt a little ashamed that I’d ‘caved’ and got a ‘real’ job. What if people were mocking me for ‘giving up’? Would I be able to balance both careers or was my writing going to slip? Could I call myself a writer if I was a manager and a teacher too?
Had I given up on my dream?
These thoughts worried me at first, but they don’t anymore.
I realised that it didn’t matter what other people thought. I realised that dreams and ambitions evolve just like people do. I realised that I needed to put my mental health first. I was struggling and I changed it… what’s there to be ashamed of in that?
And as far as worrying if I’m still a writer – I write. I make time for myself to write. ‘Real’ job or no ‘real’ job, I’m a writer.
My point is, never be afraid to chase your dreams. And, most importantly, never be afraid to change them if they no longer serve you.