In January, I changed the course of my life. I left the job I had held for years and moved across the state of Texas to take up a position with a new company. This move represented a big step in my bread-job career, and promised to allow me more time and energy to write. Win-Win. However, when I was house hunting, I was faced with a choice that ended up being bigger than I expected.
After weeks of searching, I had narrowed down two dozen options to two primary candidates. The first was located in a prime area of town and was heavily discounted relative to its neighbors. It was an excellent investment property, but as one would expect, it was a bit of a fixer-upper. The house would have required me to invest thousands of dollars and hundreds of man-hours to bring it up to its full potential.
The second house was in excellent condition, but was priced higher than its neighbors. It was still in my budget, but it wouldn’t resell with anywhere near the same profit margin. Though a bit smaller than the first home, it was located in a good, if not prime, area of town, and was slightly closer to my new job. All things considered, it was an excellent starter home.
How do you choose between two good, if different, options? I looked at how each home fit into my longer term goals. Sure, making a larger return on my investment would be the better choice for my financial future, but ultimately I want to be a full-time, professional writer. By taking large amounts of my time and money, the first home would oppose that larger goal. From that perspective, the choice was easy.
Everyone says they want to live their dreams, but few people seem to take concrete actions to do so. I get it. Life is busy. We all have jobs, families, financial responsibilities, and every day obligations. I struggle with these things as much as anyone else. They are very, very good at making us think that they are incompatible with the pursuit of our other goals, and that there will always be time later for our raison d’être. These problems, however, are more important and urgent. That may be true. It’s hard to write when you are homeless and starving. When your family and friends resent your career choice and demand your time. When the stress from bills and bread-jobs keep you up at night. However, life is about choices.
Fairy god mothers may grant wishes and make dreams come true, but in our world, dreams are pursued and won. Whenever a big decision needs to be made, I remind myself of my real goals. Then, I make the choice that best aligns with that intent. After all, “living” is an active verb, so if you want to be living your dreams, you must be as active as the verb.Tags: Sequence 07: Living the Writer's Life, The Protagonist Philosophies