Taking the First Step

Sometimes you just have to take the first step. Even when you don’t know for sure that there will be ground under your feet.

For years now, I’ve talked about quitting my job. It’s a fine job; I’ve met wonderful people and had great opportunities (especially getting my writing degree). But my life’s dream has never been to be an administrative assistant, noble as that can be. Sitting all day surrounded by the same four walls, 8 to 5, Monday to Friday …

I used to hop on a train and meet someone in a café in Bratislava and be back in Budapest for an afternoon meeting. I feel confined.

When I started this job six years ago, I planned my exit date. You may recall that I did resign in the spring, followed by a heart-attack-ack-ack-ack. (Doctors like to call it a Bundle Branch Block). My boss asked me to stay on for a special project. When the bill for my portion of my hospital stay came in the mail, I said yes.

Fear took over.

Why would anyone give up a perfectly fine job that provided insurance and risk never being paid again? It just wasn’t logical. The what ifs became fodder for my nightmares.

So I remained, although I did reduce my hours. Nice as it has been this summer to have a day free, I haven’t been able to keep up with new writing and the business side of writing. Still, every time I thought about setting my termination date, I just couldn’t do it.

One day, as I was praying, a thought came to me. (Funny how that happens.) Maybe I need to stop worrying about insurance and money and just take the first step. Just step out in faith and not cower in fear.

Maybe I’m the one standing in my own way. Maybe my grasping on to the known, as unfulfilling as it is, is holding me back. Maybe I need to release it all before offers from agents pour in.

Maybe my clutching with fists closed was keeping me from receiving with open hands. Maybe ….

Steve and I talked, and I decided to fulfill my promise to help with this one short-term project (which ends mid-September) and then leave. The day before my appointment to set my termination date, it rained.

Literally, it rained. That day was my day reserved for writing. I had an interview scheduled for a position as adjunct English professor at my local community college.

I got the job! My one hour interview turned into a five hour orientation meeting.

During a break, I checked my phone, and read a message about a contract for a paid speaking gig. Now, I’ve spoken oodles of times in my life and only been paid once.

As the other adjuncts and I walked between buildings for the last session, the skies opened up and dumped a river of water on our heads. I sat in a meeting with water cascading down my face, my sandals in tatters, and laughing at the tired yet oh-so-appropriate cliche.

When I got home at 9:00 that evening, I had an email from an agent. She asked for my full manuscript. (Reality check: This doesn’t mean she’ll sign on, and doesn’t mean she’ll find a publisher. But, wow!)

When it rains …

I hit the trifecta of jobs you can do with a master’s in writing. Teaching. Speaking. Having your writing published.

After years of hard work and preparation, I have a glimmer of hope that this could become more than a hobby. Maybe I’ll actually make enough to break even with the insurance costs. 🙂

For the next five weeks, I will have three jobs. One is full-time and two are part-time. My first college class ever is in four days. I may be reduced to babbling incoherently while I rock in a corner of the classroom. But hey, I’m always up for a challenge.

So, what’s my point with all this? Is it to give you a magic formula? To tell you that you have to quit your job for things to go your way? Or maybe you have to pray more, because that’s when these ideas come?

Sorry, there are never magic formulas. Not for anything in life. You can’t follow seven simple steps and voila! It all goes your way.

Good and bad, all mixed together. That’s what life consists of. None of us gets to choose. We just have to learn to deal with whatever comes our way.

God doesn’t give us good things because we’ve suddenly arrived. We will never deserve his gifts. Neither does he punish us by bringing hard things in our lives. We don’t deserve that either. What he does promise is to be right there with us, through all of it.

The one thing I can say for sure is my own story. I let go of my fear. And that’s always a good thing. Whatever happens.


6 thoughts on “Taking the First Step

  1. Rita Purvis

    Fabulous job, all great journeys begin with a first step. I will miss seeing you at LR, but thrilled you are pursuing your dream.

    1. Taryn Hutchison Post author

      Thanks, Rita. I appreciate your moral support. But I hope to continue at the Writing Center. So you’ll still see me!


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