younger my grandfather, a landscape designer, retired from working for an employer at age 65 and started working for himself. He loved what he did for a living, and he relished the freedom of working on his own time and in his own way. With a drafting table set up in the basement, he worked hard—sometimes in the morning, sometimes at night—making his vision for a design come to life with pencil and marker. It was an example that made an enormous impression on me.
My ultimate fantasy, of course, is to be a full-time writer—to earn my income and spend my days weaving stories and plotting happy endings. However, I’ve never been able to convince my husband to let me quit my day job based on the hope that I would one day become a wildly successful published author. I always tried to view his reservations less as a lack of faith in my talent and more as the practical views of an accountant. I decided to be practical too. If I wanted to work for myself, I’d have to diversify my skill set.
So two years ago I took my dash of artistic ability, no doubt inherited from Grandpa, and started taking web design and development classes at my local community college. The classes were all offered online, so I could balance them with my day job and the scattered hours I spared for my writing. In order to practice what I was learning, I began creating book covers and other graphic design items for authors, at first for free, just to build up my portfolio.
Now, two years later, I have finally left my day job and work for myself full-time at my design venture, Gilded Heart Design. It has been a lifestyle revolution for me, forcing the development of skills beyond design. Every day I am honing my abilities related self-discipline, time management, and organization. I try new things and discover what works for me. Learning efficient and simple processes is my new obsession.
And something strange has happened. I am working longer hours than I ever have in my life. And I’m happy about it. I am also carving out regular writing time in a more focused and productive way. My only complaint is that there isn’t more time in each day to keep working and writing.
I’ve always believed in the call to “do what you love.” I just never lived it before. It has been a scary step and my husband is still dubious it was the right one. But I am doing what makes me happy, work that feeds my soul. I have claimed my bliss, and I never want to go back.
How have you claimed your bliss?