I can see myself writing every day from now until my deathbed. Genetically I have a good shot at that being in my nineties, so long as I respect my body, brain and soul. I can also see myself as a published writer, writing the stories I want to read as opposed to the corporate writing that has been my life for the past eight or so years. But right now, being a published writer is a dream rather than a reality, and it’s a scary thing to structure my life around.
A few days ago, I got offered a place at university for a degree I have been interested in since I was a teenager. Over 4000 people applied for this course, and I was one of 150 people to get in. In the excitement, I accepted. In four short years, I would be assured a job in an industry with global reach, where every day was different, where my experiences would enrich my writing, and where I could make a difference every day to people who were likely having the worst day of their lives.
And yet, for the past few days, I have been inconsolable. I have bawled my eyes out at being bitten by a mosquito, for stubbing my toe, for seeing a cute puppy on instagram. A constant ball of anxiety churns in my guts and I am driving my family and friends mental with varying levels of hysteria.
Despite getting into a course I have wanted to do for more than fifteen years, I have to acknowledge one incontrovertible truth.
I have made a mistake.
If all I want to do is write, why would I commit to a new career that could only draw me away from writing? There is only one answer: because it is safe.
I am in constant fear that the sacrifices I have made for writing will be for nothing. I worry I have many more sacrifices to make for something that may never happen. I feel my writing is not good enough to be published. And I fear that no one will like what I have to say.
But the option of a safer, more comfortable life lies before me and I cannot take it. I cannot bear the thought of hiding behind a career in a respected industry, where it doesn’t matter whether I chase my dream of writing.
So today I withdrew from the course, and now I feel weepy because of a wholly different reason:
I am back on the right path.