On January 21, 2013 I decided to set goals for myself. Now, these were not mere general resolutions that people tend to make every year and end up giving up on by March, these were specific, solid, life-changing goals.
Number one on the list: “Quit full time job by year-end.”
Why on earth would someone do this?! What about health benefits? Stability? The economy?! I know, I know, I’ve heard it all over the past few months from concerned family and friends. All good points, but sitting behind a desk for 8 hours a day for 15 years just for the stability is not my idea of a good time. (I suppose it is very few people’s idea of a good time.) Most of the people I have met that have been with the same company for that long are kind of miserable. That is something I did not want to become.
I guess it really just boils down to passion. I moved to Baltimore in August 2011 for a job that I knew I could manage, but still have the free time to follow my passion during the evenings and weekends. For most people this is enough to keep them going, but it wasn’t enough for me. I wanted something more fulfilling. The day job was sucking my soul and my energy and my creativity was becoming stilted. I needed a change.
After talking to several of my acting friends and gathering opinions I finally decided that I was going to make this a solid goal. I put “Leave Day Job” on August 1 on my calendar and reminded myself of the goal daily. Every decision I made was aligned to that goal. Granted, there were some setbacks, but I tried not to let that discourage me and powered forward.
August 1 came and a major part of the plan I had been working toward fell apart completely. So I took a deep breath, reevaluated, and revised my plan. It’s a full 2 months after my planned goal date, but I still achieved it. As of September 30 I will be leaving my full time job to pursue a career as a professional actor, teacher, magician, and speaker.
I recently read an excerpt from the book The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing by Bronnie Ware and it was completely validating. Here are those top five:
1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.