By Taylor Adams
I write this with a view of downtown Dallas. It’s 11:30 a.m. on a Tuesday, and I’m wearing yoga clothes. I’m not the type to don “active wear” when not active, but I figure I’ll squeeze it in among the actual work I need to do.
But it still feels weird.
About a month ago, I left my job that provided a comfortable salary. I didn’t leave for another gig that paid more or one that is in one of these beautiful skyrises I can see beyond my desktop right now.
I left the stable job for this: enjoying a slow morning before doing what I love. I started the day by putting together a quick listing of food events in Dallas. Later today, I’ll write a profile of someone in the restaurant industry.
Full disclosure: I’m 29. And yeah, I somewhat buried that fact, lest I be categorized as the stereotypical millennial: unsettled, dreaming of changing the world and audaciously saying “goodbye” to conformity.
But I don’t feel like I’m those things. Maybe the middle one – but I’m realistic about it, at least.
Someone I knew died this past summer. He was a mentor to many people, a kind personality and an influential leader. I was sitting uncomfortably in a too-low chair in a cubicle with taupe-colored walls when I heard the news of his death. I mourned for his husband and the people who love him.
His passing also reminded me life is short. Too short to not love who you love, do the work you’re meant to do or make a difference where you can.
Leaving the desk job wasn’t a decision I made lightly, nor was it one that was a new idea. I’ve been moonlighting while working a full-time job for years, working seemingly all day every day.
It took years for me to seriously consider the move. And once it looked like I could do it financially, it still wasn’t an easy step. I worried about health insurance, not having the biweekly direct deposit and what people would think. But once the idea became a possibility, working with my colleagues at the day job became harder, because I knew what I was supposed to do.
Most of us lean toward either freedom or stability. For most of my adult life, I leaned toward stability.
In the last year, it’s become clearer to me I was stifling some sort of entrepreneurial spirit I thought was so elusive, and I’ve made changes that once would have terrified me.
I left a bad relationship, moved downtown to an apartment by myself and, eventually, left the 9-to-5 life.
That last move has left me with varying emotions. I know this was the right decision. I can write what I want when I want and make somewhat of a living. I can go to a meeting and not worry about the fact that I had to leave work early.
But I often wake up around 3 a.m. wondering if I made the right move. I know it will work out with the little money writing does pay. I’ve figured out a solution to get health insurance. But am I in a place to where I’ll one day own a home again? I’m not sure. That expectation of society still sits on my shoulders.
When people ask what I do, and I say, “I’m a writer,” I feel as if I’m giving off the impression that I’m a wanna-be Ernest Hemingway – sleeping late, drinking copiously and scribbling stories through the night. That worry is one that kept me in the desk job that wasn’t fulfilling me. But then I thought again about the brevity of life.
This decision means I get to pursue a life that means something to me. I can write for local publications, sharing stories about our city. I can work in political campaigns any time of day. I can serve others during times that people are unable to because of work.
I’m fortunate to know what I want and to have the opportunity to do it. And it is a career path that requires me to hustle, something I’m game for. It’s not a bunch of side gigs, which is what I literally called these jobs when I was in a full-time job. It’s now my life.