Guest post by Dana Sitar
I work hard to hold back from imposing my idea of a “good life” on others. To each his own; that’s fine. But I refuse to remain silent every time I hear, “I wish I could…”
You know what that means? “I wish I could…” followed by anything you’re not actually doing or actively pursuing means, “I’m afraid to…”
I’m afraid to be a full-time writer.
I’m afraid to travel the world.
I’m afraid to follow my dreams.
Yeah. We’re all afraid. These roads are scary; following our passions is scary. When you forge your own path and follow your dreams, you have no precedent to follow and no rules to guide you. You’re wading into uncertainty, and fear is totally okay.
Being guided by fear is not okay.
Living a life only in a way that makes you happy will never be easy. Some parts of it, regardless of your dreams, will be scary. The difference between the people who are happy and the ones who aren’t is the happy ones chose to move forward in spite of their fears. The unhappy ones chose to let fear stop them in their tracks and trap them in a less-than-perfect life.
Two years ago, I left behind a predictable life: marriage, college, a steady job, and a small town I knew well. For the past two years, I’ve been traveling and living everywhere in the U.S. from the Midwest to the West coast to Utah to the Atlantic Ocean. And I’ve been making my living writing, rather than in the field of non-profit management I was studying in college. Freelance writing and building my own business are freeing, location-independent, empowering… and frightening every single day.
This business is as much about uncertainty as it is about freedom — probably anything that offers this much freedom is going to be filled with as much uncertainty. But we’re willing to make that trade.
Does a 9-5 office job make you happy? Are you excited for the next 40 years in the field you studied in college? Are marriage, children, and homeownership part of your ideal life?
Some people can say yes to all of these — that’s why I don’t impose my ideas. But many — and, it seems, increasingly more — people find this type of life path abhorrent, yet follow it because of expectations of others and because any other path from the life they know is riddled with uncertainty.
Those are the ones for whom I have no tolerance left.
Settling for a less-than-perfect life is unacceptable. Why would you do that, when you could be doing anything you want? Wake up tomorrow, and decide you want to do anything other than the day-to-day grind that makes you miserable and numb. What happens?
Does your house crumble to the ground? Do you children wither into malnourishment? Does your college education become nothing but a worthless pile of debt?
Because you are an intelligent, creative, and able person. You know how to become a master in the field you’re passionate about and learn how to make it lucrative. You know how to apply the lessons you learned in college to help you stand out in an unrelated niche. You know how to save money, cut expenses, and balance your need to pay the bills with your need to feel alive.
You’re capable of living a life you’re passionate about. You’re also afraid. That’s okay. We’re all afraid. Some of us are just also happy.
Choose to be happy, and forget about the rest — the fear, the expectations, the norms. Let them go, and live the “good life” you wish you could have.
About the Author
Dana Sitar is a freelance blogger, author, and entrepreneur. Her latest book A Writer’s Bucket List is an inspirational and educational guide for writers, and a kick in the butt for those who don’t know what to do next. Grab it free at writersbucketlist.com. Along with Lisa, Dana is also one of 41 contributors to the Bestseller eBooks Suck! (but they don’t have to): The Most Comprehensive Guide to eBook Conception, Creation, and Promotion Quite Possibly Ever.