In 2012 I made one of the biggest changes of my life. I quit my successful career. I worked in the gloriously boring field of accounting. I was an accounting controller for many years before it nearly sucked the creativity from my life when I finally woke up and realized that I was wasting that life. Don’t misunderstand…it was a well-paying career that anyone should be happy to have & I was grateful. My hard-earned career served me well but I was misguided. My choice, all those years ago when I entered college, wasn’t from the heart and that was the mistake. So, for today’s blog post I’m sharing my New Beginnings in the hopes of reaching those that think it’s too late to make necessary, life-changing changes.
I won’t lie to you. I’m a firm believer in all things happen for a reason. Growing up, I wanted to be several things. First, I wanted to be an archaeologist. Nothing fascinated me more than digging up arrow heads and uncovering secrets of the past right beneath my feet!
Then, I discovered Scooby-Doo…and I wanted to be a detective. I would sit in front of the television on Saturday mornings with my little notebook & pen in hand. Every time Velma said, “Hmmmmm,” I knew it was a clue & I would write it down in hopes of solving the mystery before they did…I often didn’t, but that isn’t the point.
As I got a little older (and not much) I discovered the wonderful world of reading where I could be anywhere I wanted to be or be anyone I wanted to be. I read EVERYTHING…bless my Mother’s soul. She didn’t edit ANY choices. I’ve read all the Hardy Boys & Nancy Drew mysteries. I’d stay up, late, into the night under the covers–flashlight in hand. Nothing held my attention more.
Summers I spent at a marina in Forestburg NY, next to Monticello, called Starlight Motel & Marina, reading Victorian horrors & romances. I even read Thornbirds…yup! At the ripe old age of 7 or 8, I read Thornbirds. Way to go, Mom! I even read an educational book on how to embalm a body. Don’t ask me where I got my hands on that. To this day I haven’t a clue.
Then, knowing my love of horror, Mom introduced me to Stephen King. She was an Agatha Christie fan, herself, and yes, I’ve read many of those delicious books. But Stephen King drew me into the worlds of his books like no others. Mom’s favorite author was Agatha Christie & mine soon became Stephen King. She often would say how lucky I was because he was still alive, unlike Agatha, and I could look forward to new installments.
My life of reading was quite an adult mix and I attribute this as the cause of my perpetual, ignorant innocence. When you learn all of life’s adult situations & then some, what is left?
Through all of my What I wanna be when I grow ups, the one commonality was mystery. Archeologists are the definition of uncovering the mysteries of life past. Detectives uncover mysteries of the present, mostly, and then there was reading. Which is where it all stopped. Well, there were a few more career choices throughout my life…but those weren’t the ones that sprang from my heart as a child before I was old enough to learn about this thing we call life. Then the choices had materialistic meaning. They were no longer coming from the core of what makes me, me.
But reading…reading took me away and allowed me to be whatever I wanted to be, whenever I wanted to be it and also wherever…
Stephen King’s The Shining was the book that inspired me to want to create. It’s a big book for a young kid. I always had a copy of Webster’s Dictionary by my side as I read. I wanted to understand all those words. Yes, it was a big book, not to mention all the others I was reading on my own. Don’t worry, I didn’t miss out on all the childhood classics. I just didn’t read them on my own like I was reading a mortician’s book or The Shining. My Mother read the childhood classics to me at bedtime and I loved them, but they were something different.
Stephen King inspired me to want to become a writer along with my Mother. She didn’t sit me down with a journal & pen, no. She inspired me by giving me complete freedom in my choices, as she always had. The only problem was that the path to that career wasn’t a clear one and it didn’t become any clearer in school, either.
When it came time for the good old guidance counselor, they didn’t ask me what was in my heart. They didn’t try and find what it was that would make me happy in my career throughout my life. They only focused on what was lucrative.
Little did they know…
So, I spent most of my years toiling away in the annals of accounting. Living or what I thought was living. Making money, paying bills & existing is not living. At least it isn’t in my book. But it took me years to realize this and they weren’t wasted years. Earlier, I mentioned all things happen for a reason, for a reason. Sometimes, you have to experience life in order to see the forest for the trees.
Did I know that I wanted to be a writer at age 8?
Of course not…but the underlying heart that was slowly beginning to beat was always there. Archeologist, Detective? Writer? I wasn’t ready at the age of 8. I needed to marinate & cultivate and I did. It just took me a while to realize what was making that heart beat. Once I realized what it was, I began feeding it.
I learned everything I could about The Process. There are courses you can take to learn the craft or full college curriculums. But again…that felt all too much like what my counselor tried to do. Don’t get me wrong–I’m not discrediting college for writing. No, absolutely not. It just wasn’t my path. I’d already taken that for my accounting career & while it was completely viable in attaining the knowledge, it was poorly suited for real life, which I learned along that boring path.
I did a quick Google search for famous writers that never finished school. Look at this impressive list: Harper Lee, Jack Kerouac, Charles Dickens,William Faulkner, Mark Twain, George Bernard Shaw, & H.G. Wells.
Did I feel I needed to spend another 4 years learning how to do what I already knew how to do? NO.
So, when it came to becoming a writer I chose the Montessori method (yes, I read her methods on teaching when I was 10) and learned the craft of writing on my own. This was actually the perfect method because every writer needs to find his/her own way. That’s the trick with this career. There isn’t a one-method-works-for-all method, regardless of what the marketeers will regurgitate on you. I read ALL the methods and finally worked out what worked for me.
Now I create mysterious worlds from the one we live in, where I uncover little-known secrets hidden about the world. I then twist those secrets into thrilling tales where I found Jack Elliot and I have never been happier.
The Road To Happiness Is Paved On The Beats Of Your Heart
If you follow your heart & turn those dreams into a plan, not only will happiness ensue, so will wealth. Even though the first book in my Jack Elliot series hasn’t hit the shelves yet (September 6th), preorder sales have been phenomenal. Better than I can have ever hoped and I’m really eager to see what happens when it launches in one month.
This reality would never have happened if I hadn’t taken the necessary steps. If you take anything, anything at all away from this post, let it be this: Nothing is ever accomplished without a plan set into action.
Was writing that first book, Brownstone, easy?
Anyone that has successfully done so will still be laughing, long after this post has been sent to the ether. I cannot begin to tell you the difficulties I went through writing Brownstone. And don’t worry…this windbag isn’t going to suffer you through details. Just know that it would’ve been easier to poke white-hot needles into the centers of my eyes.
Which brings me to my next point: Nothing in life worth a damn is ever easy.
And it shouldn’t be. Where is the value in accomplishing simple tasks? Dreams aren’t easy, people. That’s why most of them stay up in the clouds with the magical fairies.
But once you realize the value in accomplishing your dreams the sky is the limit. There is no point in your life now, or into your 80s, at which you cannot realize & accomplish your dreams. If you truly want it, you will find a way.
Can I tell you how to do it?
No, that you have to find on your own. Just like I did. I am living the life I was meant to live and making a difference. Maybe it’s a small difference for now, but it’s there. And that is what holds meaning in it for me. In 2012, I could no longer stand doing what someone else thought was a meaningful career.
What you get out of life is what you put in…
When you take a step back and look for what truly holds meaning in life, your life, in particular, you’ll begin to see the faint beats of that heart. It’s there. Don’t fool yourself. If you can’t hear them, it’s because you’re not really listening. Stop complaining about life and start making it the way you want it. Don’t allow what others think is appropriate to dominate your thoughts. Be individual. Be creative or just be. The choice is and always has been yours. Stop blaming others for things you can wrap your little fingers around and change.
The rewards are far greater than you can imagine–if you can hold on long enough to get there. I realize the joys of truly living, more, with each coming day. A life of fulfillment is worth a million of complacency. Of course, you need food on the table & a roof over your head, but don’t let those basic needs be the ones that define the destiny of your life. Don’t let them be the anchors that moor you just out of reach of dreams & happiness. Eradicate the words can’t or impossible from your dialect… You’re an adult. Figure it out. And please…don’t think my success has come from a place of entitlement or lucky fortune. It has not. The path has been a rocky one for me, but an enlightening one. One I wouldn’t change.
What actionable step can you take?
Realize the path your heart is trying to steer you towards. Sit down, write it out and make a plan. But keep in mind what I said earlier. Just writing out a plan won’t make it happen. That’s up to you. Below, I’ve written out some actionable steps you can take in order to realize your dreams. Feel free to comment about any other ideas. I’d love to hear them.
- Write your dream at the top of a piece of paper.
- Below it, list all the steps that would make that dream a reality.
- Research every aspect of those steps.
- Next to each of those researched-steps, write a few sentences on what you need to do to make them happen. This should be easy since you’ve done the research.
- Number each of those steps, from 1 to 1,000,000 if you have to make that many.
- Correlate those numbers on a calendar with the appropriate date for when you can start/accomplish those steps.
There! That seems pretty easy now that I’ve spelled it all out for you, right? You guessed it: WRONG! What was the other point I made about anything in worth a damn in life? That’s right…it’s never easy.
Writing out this list was easy, but it’s only a map. One map, to a ka-billion maps that you can use to reach your dreams. Remember people: only you can make it happen. No one is going to hand it to you and if they do, thank them very much and ask for seconds to pass along!
I guarantee you that if you follow those steps you will realize your dream. The time it takes you to make that happen depends on the time you invest in it. You can make dreams happen at any age. Life isn’t over once you hit 40 or 50 or 80! Life starts anew with each sunrise on each new day! REMEMBER THAT! It’s all about attitude & how you view things. If you’ve followed my blog, you’ve heard me say, “Think it. Be it.” Stop reading my blog right now & start making that list! Start your New Beginning today!