Gratitude (Photo credit: elycefeliz)
Theme Song: “The Middle” Jimmy Eat World
Projects of the Day: Articles, articles, and more articles followed by a fundraiser
I originally was going to do this post as something around Thanksgiving, but you know how things go…you get busy and those plans go by the wayside. It’s kind of funny, because the way things go sometimes, you wind up realizing that you should really count those things you’re thankful for. Having gratitude is not an easy endeavor, by any means. It requires that you’re able to see things as being able to be another way.
I have had quite a crazy 18 months. Very few things have gone through as planned, and my life at the end of 2011 is nothing like what I’d thought my life at the beginning of 2010 would look like. If you go back further, I would have had no clue, back when I left grad school in 2008 that I would wind up where I am now. I’m actually really thankful for that. I’ve always been a planner. If you’d asked me in 2007 what my life plan looked like, it would have been something like this (taken from a journal entry):
3 Most Pressing goals:
Get a Ph.D.
Turn out a decent, good kid
Get a good, tenure-track job
I’d wanted, 5 years from when I wrote that entry to have finished my Ph.D. (I was well on my way to doing so), have a tenure-track job in philosophy lined up, published a book and journal articles, and be well on my way to “happily ever after” in every sense of the phrase.
That didn’t happen. It turns out that leaving my Ph.D. program was on the horizon a little less than a year after I’d written out my goals. I left for a multitude of reasons, the most pressing at the time being emotional pressure from back home combined with a strong desire NOT to accrue debt greater than many homes in the city I was attending grad school in cost.
So I set out home, with a new five-year plan. I’d get a good job, working for a good company – maybe even teaching at the junior college level, even though the prospect of adjuncting was scary.
That didn’t happen. I sent out my resume to over 200 prospective employers over a two month period. You know how many interviews I got? Zilch. Not a single one. The most common response when I followed up with employers? “You’re overqualified.”
So, I had to adjust yet again. I decided if I couldn’t find a job, what I had to do was make my own job. What sort of niche could I fill? What kind of skills did I possess? In college and grad school, my friends always wanted my feedback on their papers. Even papers I wrote that didn’t quite make the arguments I wanted, received compliments on my writing style. Ever since I was a kid, I had been writing – so, that’s what I decided to do. Armed with a copy of Bob Bly’s Secrets of a Freelance Writer and enormous amounts of dedication, motivation, and resolve to make it work, I started my business. Within a couple weeks, I had my first clients.
Since then, my business has grown. I didn’t publish a philosophy book, yet, but I did publish a book. I’ve written and published more than 1,000 articles – mostly on business management, finance, and technology. My son has aged and is coming into his own. I’ve moved around a bit. I became a runner. I became a better friend. I found love in a close friend. For all this, I’m thankful, and while none of it was planned, it’s all certainly good stuff. While it’s great to have a game plan, it’s also important to be sure that you are open to what life might throw in your way!