A Realisation…


I received the final wage slip from my school today.

Eight months ago, I made the decision that I needed a change. I handed in my resignation, started saving up and have been as frugal as possible in that time, but this morning as I opened the envelope I had quite a frightening realisation.

This is it. I’m on my own. Sh*t just got real.

The confidence I’ve been building up has withered a little – I know that I have steady work lined up, and if I’m very careful it will be enough to live on, but what if? What if it all goes wrong? What if the work dries up? What if I get to Christmas and find that I won’t be able to pay the rent?

It’s terrifying.

However, I’m taking solace from Jim Carrey of all people. In a recent speech he gave at Maharishi University in May, he told a story of his father, who ignored his dreams to be a comic and became an accountant, only to lose his job later on. And then he said something which I am going to hold close to me over the coming months:

I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.

That’s exactly what I’m doing, or at least what I’m trying to do. It may be the best decision I’ve ever made, or I could fall flat on my face.

And if I do, at least I’ll know that I took the chance.

143 thoughts on “A Realisation…

  1. I had the job of my dreams many years ago. I was good at it, my students loved what I taught them, some went on to become professional in the field, and all of them found worthy skills and life direction in the classes they’d taken. Then a new and horrible person took over as the principal of the school. Long story but I’ll just say I lost the job of my dreams, the school was unable to replace me with a competent teacher in the field for several years. (They just put bodies in the classroom.) It was then I began to write. I’m still not published but I still write. The pursuit of one’s dreams must be the motivator for one’s life or your soul dies when the job ends.
    I continued to teach (art) for decades after, but for much smaller schools and therefore for much less money. Now no longer formally teaching art, I still consider myself an art teacher. Yesterday I had a lengthy conversation with someone who knew nothing about art but wanted to know if she should try a class. Before she left, she said I’d taught her more about art than she realized she could learn. She didn’t pay me – am I still an art teacher?
    Please go back and read your post about how one describes oneself, especially the assertion that one can’t call oneself a plumber unless they make money at it. You may have a different perspective now.
    You are no longer a full time music teacher at your old school, but I bet you are still a teacher – and a musician and a writer and a photographer, and – you’ll have to complete your list. Employment and income are always in flux, we are always growing though sometimes we regret our actions, and who I am today is a summation of my past experiences (some professional,) my current efforts, and my dreams for my future.

    • Well said, Sharon. We are what we are and money doesn’t make us any more of teacher or a writer or a plumber. As you say, ’employment and income are always in flux’ and sometimes the thing we value most about ourselves is not the thing that attracts the most cash. But on the day we die, cash won’t be the thing that we’ll be counting.

      Which isn’t to say that money isn’t important – money converted into food, housing and warm clothes is essential – but over the whole term of a life, money comes and goes, builds up and washes away.

      You put it much better than I have, but I just wanted to say that I absolutely agree with you.

      Best wishes

    • Thanks so much Sharon. I always love your positivity in your comments and the support you give, and it’s great to know that even when you lose a job things work out well! I’m looking forward to seeing how you get on in your writing endeavours too!

  2. You’ll bounce back whatever happens, and I have every faith in you. It can be scary, trying something new. But what if you weren’t brave? And what if you weren’t following your dreams? You wouldn’t feel the sense of achievement just by taking that step. Hold on to that, because you’re awesome 😀

  3. An excellent decision! Go for it ………… and give it 110%. If your decision was not good, you might just turn into okay. If your decision was good, you might turn into really good. If your decision was really good, then 110% could turn into amazing.

  4. I read somewhere that our biggest regrets will be the things we didn’t do.
    No matter where this journey leads, you had the courage to take a chance and that is awesome!

  5. You made the right decision, following a dream can’t be wrong. I will miss our morning chin wags, but looks like we have both jumped off the cliff into a better world so bring it on x

    • Thanks my lovely! Totally ‘stoked’ (wonder who I got that word from) about how things are going for you and the missus! I’ll miss that too, but it means that you’ll have to get your spare room ready so me and the bloke can come and annoy you guys!!

  6. The things I regret in life are the ones I did not do. You are young, a professional,able to make a living. Keep all those options open that come your way and devote yourself to doing what you love. Courage,Camille. Armand may not be coming, but you don’t need someone else. You are strong and can do anything!

  7. I love that quote! It is so true.. Good luck with everything, I hope it works out even better than you hoped it would!

  8. I understand you Suzie! I was there two years ago and there is not one day I don´t feel grateful for having left that life behind. You´ll see how you get stronger every day and soon you will remember this time as a great and wonderful lesson. You are more than enough!

      • I walked a lot! No, really! The more you keep your mind busy, the less you will fall into the “poor me” mode. And that will keep the other people to keep you there too. I walked a lot (and I am still walking a lot) because your mind and body are removing toxins and then you can see things in a different way, your mind gets more ideas, you manifest more new things in your life and you get to attract new people and circumstances since you are doing something different.
        When I began to enjoy my “freedom” my soul began to find new options and new activities and that feeling helped me immensely to create new opportunities.
        I began to learn new things and now I have got a life I enjoy and love.
        It´s not as easy as it sounds in the beginning, but believe me, once you clean your mind from those old ideas that lead you to your old routine, your life will begin to change and you will manifest in your life what you really love.
        It takes some time, but good things take time.

      • That’s great! As soon as she remain relaxed. You will allow your mind to l open to new ideas and opportunities. And soon you will see the results

      • That I was talking to you about this subject and my mind was going through all those events and when I saw the calendar I realise that exactly two years ago that adventure began.

  9. I think it’s a most amazingly brave thing that you have done. I am such a coward, I would be too worried. But I also have two huge teenagers that cost about $500+ a week to feed just in groceries, and then college and cars and clothes. Someday….maybe!!!!

      • You have to eat to get the gains, at least that is what my boys say. They are both body builders and have to get in their protein and their macros (whatever that is). So needless to say we have $250 of the free-range, antibiotic free meat sitting in our fridge right now. Brown rice, meat and spinach is all we ever seem to eat anymore. All I want is chocolate – don’t have any. No gains in chocolate, I guess. It’s like having two babies back in the house, they eat every 3 hours.

  10. Reblogged this on A Momma's View and commented:
    It takes a lot of guts to risk leaving something that feels secure. And yet: How can we ever know if it is truly secure? Life is full of changes and we never really have full control over what’s happening with and around us really. So you might as well take that risk and do what you love to do. Who knows, maybe it takes you so much further than what you ever dreamed of…

  11. There will be other doors to open if this one closes; you haven’t quit your own skills, just the old job. You’ll be fine and you’ll have so much to write about whatever

  12. Life truly is about taking chances, if not a person will forever ask themselves “could I have done that?” At least me, I tried quite a lot of things and failed miserable, but I did try and I can look at myself and say “Well that wasn´t for me” but if I didn´t try I would go to my grave asking the question “could I have done that and could it have turned out good?” Not my ideal way to live.

  13. It’s very easy to be fearful, and yet we only get one chance at this life. Too many of us hold back from living our dreams, and in the process hold back from living. It always amazes me that, when you set out on a path, even when you’ve no idea how you’ll get where you want to go, things happen that will help you along. Those things (sorry if I’m getting technical here) will come from the most unexpected of places. It won’t be a smooth ride, but life never is. Enjoy it anyway – you know you’ve got all these people here rooting for you.

    • Thanks so much Graeme! I think that is the underlying reason for my decision to make a change – I don’t want to look back with fears or regrets and i’m looking forward to the unexpected things!!

      • Quite right. Whenever I’ve made a significant but scary change in my life, I’ve always thought afterwards: “Why didn’t I do that earlier?” That’s what you’ll be thinking in a few months

  14. I think Graeme has summed this up so well and as someone who has just taken a big leap of faith to follow her dreams, I understand the ‘what if’s’. It takes real courage to follow your dreams and although I get niggles occasionally, my overriding feeling is one of optimism as I know I am one hundred and ten percent doing the right thing. I will never look back and say ‘oh but what if I had done it.’

    I saw this poem recently which I love:

    “There is freedom waiting for you,
    On the breezes of the sky,
    And you ask “What if I fall?”
    Oh but my darling,
    What if you fly?”

    You will be fine Suzie. Exciting times ahead and new opportunities are always round the corner 🙂

    • Thanks so much my lovely, and i love that poem! I know what enormous changes you’re making at the minute and I’m so pleased that things are working out for you and your hubby! I’ll look forward to coming and visiting you in your new life!!

  15. Embrace the fear, Jim Carrey’s quote was brilliant. I left teaching 40 years ago, through circumstances beyond my control, but I never stopped being a teacher. It factored into every job/career I ever had. Those skills never fade. You will be fine. Best wishes. ☺ Van

    • Thanks! That’s something that I’ve thought about before – the skillset that you develop as a teacher is something that can be adapted to many roles. What has been the best job you’ve had?

      • Human Resources..I got to train hospital personnel in time/stress management. I also took a writing/editing job in the marketing dept. of a global engineering company, translating engineer’s high tech speech into language that non-tech folks could comprehend. But my favorite came later..I trained hotel front desk personnel and later evolved into sales manager. Good Luck ☺

  16. Do what you have to, in order to be/do what you want. I’m going through a similar journey which is kind of scary… May I ask what you’re striving to do or become?

  17. Suzie, you are a bold and intrepid explorer. You have read your map. Done your preparations and now all you need to do is take that first step and keep walking. Run even!
    A few things I would suggest to help you relate to your new p[air of shoes, is to put some pictures around your house of the new you or people doing that role. You are not playing pretend or being a fraud. This is you.
    My cousin is a cellist and is acutely shy and you hear that about quite a few musicians where they perform with their backs to their family etc and then have to go on stage. My cousin’s sister who is much more outgoing told her to “fake it til you make it” and that really helped.
    I also wanted to tell you that my 9 year old daughter has successfully been chosen for an audition for the big stage production of The Sound of Music in Sydney. She is 9 years old and auditioning for the role of Marta. She is quite a good singer with good pitch but she has vocal nodules and has been seeing a speech therapist. It has helped but being the protective mother, I didn’t think it was a good time to audition. She, being a strong-willed smaller version of myself, was adamant and said she was the right height now and would never be the right height again. We also had to get her brother who is addicted to Minecraft off my computer to reply. Not an easy task either.
    Meanwhile, I picked up a very nasty lung infection and given my underlying health problems, this becomes serious. So while trying to get my head around the audition. Buy the movie. Buy the music. Try to get her to practice the tunes on the keyboard to save her voice, I’ve been coughing my lungs out on industrial strength antibiotics. We;ve hired a nebuliser and by the skin of my teeth, I’ve managed to stay out of hospital so far. I am determined to get to her audition even if I’m rugged up in a wheelchair barking and my husband comes along. How could I miss this for the world?
    So, I relate to stepping out into new territory at the moment and wondering how it’s all going to work out but it’s so much better to have a go, even if you failed because at least you’ve tried. I also have to remind myself of this when it comes to writing my book. I can do it. Deep breath. Sit tall. I can do it.
    You too!
    xx Rowena

    • Thanks Rowena! Sorry to hear you haven’t been well, but a huge congrats to your daughter on her audition! I agree – it’s better to have a go and at least then you’ll know that you tried, even if you fail!

      • Thanks so much, Suzie. She is pretty philosophical about it and sees the whole audition process as “fun”. Meanwhile, the dragon mother has dug up her keyboard and she’s having some impromptu piano lessons and learning how to read music. We’ve had a few goes at this and I’m making good progress. She sees herself being more of a dancer and singer and loves drama and an instrument didn’t fit into her vision. However, my Mum was accompanying a singer who could read music and his singing really improved after she taught him. So, I forged ahead. I can understand both why you went into teaching and got out of teaching based on my brief lessons with my daughter. You put so much in and some kids just don’t want to learn or don’t get the point. Thankfully, Miss is finally seeing reason. xx Rowena

  18. It’s a great quote, and keep telling this to yourself every time you have doubts.
    It’s terrifying to step out of the comfort zone but this feeling will disappear soon.
    Way to go, Suzie! All the best.

  19. Single female friend of ours did just what you did. She gave up a full time teaching job ( Maths, Science) and went to work – part time- in a bank. Took a massive hit is salary but a major uplift in health and welfare. According to her dad, she is happy at breakfast and loves when she is doing. She was taken on full time – still a drop in money – but she is a very happy girl. Loves the job, loves the bank and loves the people. She loved teaching and the kids, but the politics of the place was getting to her.

  20. Suzie, that’s a great quote. Everywhere I look there are people who are giving up what’s ‘safe’ to do what they love. Nothing’s truly safe, of course.

    I think the difficulty for a lot of people is that they turn out to be really rather good at what they don’t want, so don’t have the impetus to do what they love. It’s taken me over thirty years in a moderately successful career to realise that I might possibly be doing the wrong thing and I shall probably be retired before I can devote myself to what I love.

    At least I can do what I love in the time when I’m not at work, so it’s not all bad.

    I hope all goes well with your new endeavour.

    • Thanks so much April. I think that was the reasoning behind my choice – I didn’t want to get to retirement age and then look back on a career i knew wasn’t right for me. At least this way i’ll know one way or the other!

  21. Life is better when you take chances, learn and grow – as long as you are not reckless in the chances you take, you will always pull through and find a way to cope if things don’t quite go acceding to plan. Sometimes you just have to cut loose from dead weight.

    • Thanks so much Cherryl! I think that my main feeling is that of recklessness, despite having put things into place… Still, it will either work or it won’t – I’ll soon find out haha!

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