Following My Dreams Doesn’t Pay the Bills

I don’t really know what direction to go with my life.

That’s a scary thing to admit. Nobody gets all warm and fuzzy knowing that there doesn’t seem to be any direction to their future.

I mean, maybe some people do. Maybe there are those out there who love the feeling of not having commitments and being able to wake up every day not knowing what’s going to happen.

But that’s not me.

I like routine. I like having a plan. Knowing what I can expect from the future is comforting to me.

So, not having any idea where to go next is pretty much the worst.

For most of my life there was always an obvious next step, and there was no reason to wonder what was coming next.

After middle school you go to high school.

After high school you go to college.

After college you get a job.

That’s just what you do.

And that’s pretty much what I did.

I went all the way through the steps, but after working 4 jobs in the 3 years since getting my degree I’m feeling pretty lost.

I’ve been told that this is an opportunity. It’s a chance for me to identify what really makes me happy and then to pursue it.

“Follow your dreams”

“Find your passion”

Well, my passion is spending time with the people I care about. It’d be great if I could make money by staying home with my family, but that’s clearly not an option.

My dream career — something I do that could provide me with the financial stability I need in order to spend time with those I care about — would be something like creating this blog.

You know, sharing my thoughts with others and knowing that I’m making a difference in their lives. I love being able to write, or speak to a group, and know that the way they think about life is somehow different because of something I said.

“Then keep doing it, Denver.”

Well, Susan, following my dreams doesn’t pay the bills.

I don’t earn anything by doing this, and I’m currently working a part-time job at a grocery store for minimum wage while living with my parents in order to pay my bills. The same job I had 11 years ago as a 16-year-old, actually.

And this is after I earned my degree, had multiple salaried positions, rented my own apartment, and been weeks away from owning my own house.

But hey, at least I’m following my dreams.

** Sarcastically finger guns out of the room **

I know people mean well when they compliment me on my writing/speaking and when they tell me to keep pursuing it, but I’m really frustrated with where I am at this point in my life.

I just didn’t think I was going to be here.

I didn’t think I was going to have to live with my parents again. I didn’t think I was going to have to go back to the job I had in high school.

My life just seems to be going in the wrong direction.

And every time I get really excited about something I’ve written, or something I’ve said in a public setting, I have to sit there and watch as nothing comes from it.

I really would love to follow my dreams. I’d love to be able to make a living by writing my thoughts and sharing them with others. Being asked to speak to different groups about things that could potentially change the way they live their lives would be incredible.

But I look at where I am vs. where I want to be, and it all just seems impossible.

One thought on “Following My Dreams Doesn’t Pay the Bills

  1. It does seem impossible, but it’s not. It’s just not possible tomorrow. I was able to write exactly the kind of articles I wanted to at the high school newspaper but when I was lucky enough to get a job at a real newspaper, they put me in the sports department taking calls from coaches whose games we didn’t cover and writing three-paragraph stories with no byline. But after months of that, it led to actually covering a few high school sporting events. Eventually, that led to me working with the traditional news division and writing about everything else. Did the assignments suck? Sure, I was the bottom of the ladder, but I was being paid to write, even if it was to cover the birthday of a 108-year-old man. After a while, the assignments got a little better. Then, when the newspaper announced they were starting an expanded entertainment section on Fridays, I pitched a local music column. They went for it and, after three years, was allowed to write my opinion about something.
    Over the next 11 years I bounced around a few newspapers and magazines, but was always slowly moving upward. I finally pulled the trigger on an idea I had and launched a regional magazine. Now, I was the boss and I had 100% control over what I wanted to write, be it opinion pieces or hard news or fluffy features. After 14 years, I finally got what I wanted.
    That lasted about 5 years, then all kinds of crazy shit went down — you can read my blog for all that stuff — and for the last 2+ years, I’ve sat at home and been a freelance writer. Yes, you can sit on your ass in your favorite chair, laptop open, and make a living. Sure, you have to grind it out at first and slowly build a client base, but at this point, I wouldn’t trade the freedom I have working at home for any desk job.
    You CAN do this. You just have to commit yourself to it. Be patient. Plot a path and by the time you’re in your late 30s and early 40s, you’ll be in a position to do exactly what you want.


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