Thursday, April 2, 2009

A Real Job

I don’t know how many times in these last months I have been asked if I was going to get a job, a real job that is.

I am struck by a few things. The first is using the adjective ‘real’ before ‘job’. Apparently in some dictionaries writing is not considered to be one. A job is only a job if I have to leave the house in the morning and stay away all day. A job is only a job if someone is directing me as to what my responsibilities are as opposed to me directing me. A job is only a job if a paycheck arrives at the appointed time every week or every other week. And of course, a job is only a job if it creates some sort of displeasure. And I apparently appear too happy for writing to be a job.

It has made me wonder if I have not been making myself clear that I am divorcing myself from Corporate life, that I am on a journey of reinvention, that I want to earn my living as a writer. And if I am not clear with them, then is the Universe hearing me correctly? Because the truth is I am not so concerned with them not getting it, but the Universe, that is a different story. I want to be sure the Universe hears me loud and crystal clear.

This past Sunday I got a big wink that something had shifted. A portion of my Big Fat extended Greek Family was gathered for a memorial service for one of my mother’s cousins. These events usually include a couple of hours in church followed by an afternoon of eating.

I had braced myself ahead of time, that I would be getting those when are you going to get a job questions. While my mother gets I am serious, I wasn’t so sure about everyone else. This place of reinvention can be a fragile one and I was not interested that day in being thrown off course. I was ready to explain that I was a writer and that pursuing my writing was a lot like a start up business, and it would take some time.

So when my eighty nine year old Uncle embraced me with a big smile and said he heard I was writer now, I was caught off guard. And when he wanted to know more, when had I started, when did I discover this is what I wanted to do, what was I writing about, I knew something big had shifted. He did not have that look of worry on his face I was anticipating, but instead one of love and support and happiness for me.

My uncle is a thinker, a highly intellectual, self taught man who likes to contemplate the stars. When the weather is on his side, he still plays golf every day in Prospect Park. He also grew up in the Great Depression and like all those I have known in my life who experienced that, the worry and fear around money never really leaves them.

But he didn’t share with me his worry, only his happiness and support. And so did everyone else. I found myself handing out my cards with an invitation to read my blog and a promise to let everyone know when Forty Days is published. That Corporate career was fading further away, nothing more than material for my next novel.

I can’t help but wonder if my uncle’s reaction was merely a reflection of me. That he saw me as I now see me, with a real job, as a writer.

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