6 Years Ago I Took A Leap Of Faith To Become A Writer And It Changed The Trajectory Of My Life
Leap of Faith: Part 1 of 4
I was in the parking lot of my college, and I was lost.
My English professor had informed me that most of the English faculty were either retiring or leaving, and new professors were being interviewed. When I told my professor that I was thinking of taking up a master's next, she advised me otherwise.
"Take your English masters elsewhere," she said, "Better get it from a better city. The kind of learning you love, the new faculty may not be right for you."
I had planned that I'd continue with my master's in English Literature while, on the side, I could give writing crime fiction a go. I wanted the comfort of studying in the same college with the same professors. I wanted to live with my family because, after many years, we all were living under the same roof. Therefore I didn't want to waste my energy on new people and places. Instead, I desired to focus my energy on maintaining the relationships I already had at college and solving fictitious murders back home.
So here I was, in the parking lot of my college, recollecting the conversation with the professor to my mother on the phone.
As I finished saying, "Now I don't know what to do," my mother said something I had never expected her to say.
"Why don't you take a gap year and work on your writing?" she said.
I felt light bulbs turn on in my eyes, mind and heart. Why didn't I think of that before?
As I drove home, I kept thinking how amazing it would be to just focus one entire year on learning what it takes to be a writer. I even might end up writing my novel!
Today, 16th May 2022, is the sixth anniversary of my taking that leap of faith. And thank God I took the leap because it changed my life beyond my imagination.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
- Robert Frost
I Got A Chance To Study Myself.
This happened by accident.
I took the gap year to study writing and see if I could make it as a writer. But what did happen in the first year was I got to know who I really was.
Being constantly busy studying, finishing assignments and giving exams up until now, I never got the chance to figure out who I was, what I wanted and how I functioned.
All my life, I wanted to be the centre of attention. I wanted to have a big group of friends with whom I would spend my days chatting, laughing, travelling and enjoying life. But it was during these past six years I realised that I am actually an introvert.
I had tried being an extrovert and had fallen flat on my face. (And when I say "fallen flat on my face," I mean I have been rejected most of the time.) Now I realise I prefer deep conversations over small, casual ones. I favour meaningful relationships over superficial ones. I desire quiet over loud. I prefer alone time over being in a crowd.
There's nothing wrong with being an introvert. We are not necessarily shy or socially awkward. We are selective of where we show and who sees our fun side. But, yes, it does take effort for us to live in a world that recognises, promotes and celebrates extrovert behaviour.
I wouldn't have learnt about this if I had continued with the society's rigmarole.
I Got Choose To Lead A Different Life.
If I hadn't taken a chance on my life, I would have probably gotten married by now, like most of my classmates.
Now, there's nothing wrong with getting married. In fact, I am eager to know what life holds for me in that aspect. But since I didn't go on the same road that society enforces on us, I realised that I could choose a different life for myself.
I could choose what career path I wanted to tread. I could choose when to marry. Or not marry at all. I have a choice to decide whether I want kids or not. (Though I would love my friends to have kids so that I have someone to be a cool aunt for.)
I now also realise that given the profession I have chosen, I would prefer people, places and situations and my decisions to encourage my choice.
I do get to hear sometimes that I am missing out on life. The people who say this don't realise that they didn't actively choose the life they are living. On the other hand, I did, and I love every moment.
Sure, this is a lonely path. But you need to be alone to do some introspection. You can't find yourself in the crowd.
I Am A Writer.
The journey wasn't exactly how I imagined it to be. Still, I got the confirmation that I am indeed a writer. This happened in two folds.
First, I started publishing my work online and realised that you are there to read them. And not only are you there, but you are also relating to my work and showering me with social media's version of blessings - likes, comments, and follows.
Second, I realised that writing is not the hard part. Growing myself into a person with a writer's mindset, now that's some heavy lifting. Once I shifted my focus from writing to becoming a person who writes, I became a writer!
Now The Important Question - Do I Regret My Decision?
Sure, there have been times I wish things happened differently, but that's part of life. I was supposed to make those mistakes and go down that path because I had lessons to learn.
Sure, I could have a steady income, a boyfriend/husband, maybe a kid, a house, a car and a social life. You know all the things society thinks you need to have a satisfying life. But I am glad I chose a different path. The lessons I have learned so far will stay with me for life.
These six years have taught me so much more about life, love, relationships, humanity, fulfilment, health (mental, physical, emotional) and career that I hadn't done in the first 21 years of my life.
And with that in mind, I'll say that taking the leap of faith was the best decision of my life.
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