Thursday, February 15, 2007

Sink or Swim

Someone I work with mentioned today how many times she felt like she'd quit if she didn't have a mortgage, then went on to say that there were dreams she'd had of starting her own business, but was afraid to pursue it because she was afraid of not having enough money to get by in the beginning. She then said that she was starting to think that if she ever took the plunge, she'd probably work harder at it because it would be sink or swim. She was questioning whether to just forge ahead and damn the torpedoes, as several other people she knew had done.

I nearly fell over, because before she started talking, I had just been thinking that exact same thing. I keep telling myself to hang on a little longer, until I have enough money saved to last a while, but then some days I feel like I can't hold out a second longer. I've been wondering if I should just take the plunge and know that I had to make a success of what I wanted to do because there would be nothing to fall back on.

It's hard to balance dreams and responsibility. I have a responsibility to my daughter to make sure we have a roof over our heads along with food & clothing. I have a responsibility to the credit card companies I do business with to not file for bankruptcy. ;)

But don't I also have a responsibility to myself to live a good, full, and fulfilling life? Just how selfish can I be? Who'll care two thousand years from now if I quit my job or not? Of course, my daughter will care significantly for the next 4-8 years at least. (rest of high school & college) But to comment on the obvious: life is short, and nothing is guaranteed.

Today, Edie at Magical Musings asked the question, "Do you wake up planning on doing one thing and knowing you should do another?"

My answer: Every single day.

The question I ask is, what is it I truly ought to be doing? Recently (and unfortunately, I can't recall exactly where at this moment), I read that if at any time we ever desire to create--to play music, to write, to dance, to paint, even to start our own business--it is the Universal Spirit attempting to create through us; and should we heed this, we will be led in the right direction. I'd like to believe that. The risks are more than a little scary, though. Do I follow my dreams and perhaps fall on my face, or do I stay in a "safe" place (that could turn me loose at any moment anyway, should they fall into trouble) - how do I hedge my bets?

Do you ever feel that way?


  1. OMG I absolutely love your blog. It is so interesting and in some ways has a lot in common with what I focus on in my blogs! I am definetly putting your blog as one of my recommended links. I sincerely, really like it. This post I am commenting on made me feel inspired and that is very hard to do lately!

  2. When it comes to decisions like this, I use Tarot, not in any particularly "woo woo" way, but more as a process of figuring out what I REALLY want to do. I also make lists and if-then-else trees.

    When I quit my day job last March, we had our finances arranged so that we could afford to live on one salary for at least six months. We managed to stretch it out much longer than that by just being careful. I was surprised at how easy it was.

    I got a very nice offer out of the blue back in January, though, and my gut feeling was that I should take it. And so far, I've been very happy with that decision. The contact with coworkers is a very nice change of pace, and I'm feeling more energized than ever.

    Good luck with your decision!

  3. I do understand this, Kate, and keep telling myself that the salary and health insurance is for Slater. Once he gets out on his own then I'll join the Peace Corps (a secret dream of mine). But who knows? And like you say, we never know what today will bring, and my friends that seem the happiest now know to put themselves at the top of their lists.

    I echo the good luck with your decision from above!

  4. Kate, this happened to me also. For years I worked the day job when the girls were growing up. I carried the major health coverage in the family, so I was really stuck. I hated my job, but continued to write at nights, weekends. Amazingly, things worked out. When my youngest graduated high school, we relocated and my hubby followed his dreams. A family-owned business. This opened the doorway for me to do what I've always dreamed of, writing full-time. It hasn't always been easy. A new business, one income, bills to pay, overhead. But, it worked out beautifully. I have a quote from Dennis Wholey that's on my refrigerator. "We can trust that all is on schedule. Waiting time is not wasted time. Something is being worked out-in us, in someone else, in the Universe." In our case, this is exactly what happened. We waited for the moment and took it!

  5. LYNNE - Thanks. It's funny, I did pull out my Tarot cards last night, but I was sick and went to bed without looking at them. :)

    SUSAN - I was thinking about the dental insurance for Emily today too. Sigh. :)

    LADONNA - Thanks for the quote. That was helpful. It's hard to wait sometimes.

    A funny thing that happened today. I was really at the edge of my rope again and was seriously looking at the calendar wondering whether to give one or two weeks notice, and filling out a spreadsheet of how much money I had, how much I needed, and factoring in expenses to start up my own business, when my boss called. The first words out of her mouth were, "We have to start our own business." It was funny and perfect timing. I said, "tell me about it!"

    I told her very plainly what I was thinking and feeling, she threatened to kill me if I quit right now, but does want to sit down and go over business options to see if there's something we can do together to get out of that crazy place. Maybe there's hope after all. :)

  6. Wow, the Universe heard, Kate! Truly, just follow your gut on this. Sounds like a rope was tossed out today for sure. There were times, I wanted to quit. But, for me, I knew it would come...just not then. Maybe your time is NOW. Your friends sounds like a sweetie. Good luck with those options!

  7. Oh geeze, YES!!!! You just wrote a post that illustrated EXACTLY how I feel right now!

    If it's any consolation, when I quit another day job, years ago, I've found that when there's a need, the universe supplies a way to fill it.

  8. Wow, Kate! How exciting that your boss is on the same plane and you might have a partner.

    I'm reading Jack Canfield's THE SUCCESS PRINCIPLES now, and I'm getting excited about all the possibilities in life. You have so many in yours. You go!

  9. Thanks, LaDonna, Spy and Edie for the support. Spyscribbler, I'm sorry to hear you're feeling that way too. It sucks, doesn't it? :)

    I just got back from spending a whole lot of money at the bookstore (so what's new?:) some of the books I bought were on starting businesses (laws, etc.) and one that I'm looking forward to reading, "Making a Living Without a Job: Winning Ways for Creating Work that You Love" by Barbara J. Winter. I hope it lives up to its promise. :)

  10. My dream is to be a published writer,(or a comic book artist). Yeah. I would love to just take the plunge and devote all my time to wrting or drawing, and quit my job. But, here's the the whole responsibility to others thing, I've got two daughters to look after. I need to provide for them. But I also feel like I need to provide for myself. If I do then won't my family also prosper? I'd be great if it worked out that way. Really great.

  11. Yep, that's the rub, isn't it, Lucas?

    Thanks for dropping by. :)

  12. Every waking day of my life I'm doing something I'm not particularly fond of. Health care is the biggest issue for me.

  13. I'm sorry to hear that JR. It's hard to work at something you don't like. For me, it's a terrible feeling.

    I read most of the book "Making a Living Without a Job" last night (couldn't put it down) and it was very inspiring. I'm going to share it with my boss and another friend of ours whom we've spoken with before about going into business together.


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