So… I do a lot. Anyone who knows me reasonably well knows that my interests are very fluid. I just like to do stuff. At any given time, I may have at least 2-3 different things that I’m working on in an effort to … I guess find my ‘niche’. Y’all have seen it. Hell, this blog originally started as a (pretty pitiful) beauty blog!
In the last seven years, I have been a handbag designer, telemarketer, jewelry designer, customer service rep, cosmetology student, hairbow designer, daycare worker, scented candle maker, brown sugar scrub maker, graphic designer, and most recently: author. I have enjoyed doing every single one of these things, but in the course of that constant movement, it always felt like something was missing for me.
Since I left school the first time around, the fact that I never finished my degree haunted me, and had me wrapped up in a crazy sense of failure. Nevermind that I had built a lucrative graphic design business from nothing, using skills that I developed on my own. I didn’t have a degree! How could I possibly succeed without it? I needed that degree so that I could get a dependable job, and contribute to my family with a check that I could count on every other week. I needed that degree so that I could show my girls that they had a mommy who was smart, and focused, and had a real job. I needed that degree to prove that I could finish something, that I didn’t fail at everything I tried.
So I went back.
But as I stressed myself to bring home good grades, give my kids the attention they needed, try to keep my business afloat, write, talk to my husband, and occasionally sleep, I started to wonder… is this REALLY worth it at this point in my life? I could (pay to) go to school for four years, get the degree, and (maybe) get a job where I was making (maybe) the same amount of money that I could have been bringing in from my graphic design business. Four years ago.
So what sense does that make? I’m stressing myself to the point of health issues for what… a safety net? Por Que? Why am I sacrificing MY business to get a degree so that I can make someone else a helluva lot more money than they’re going to pay me for my time, when I could spend this four years developing and honing my own specific skills and building it into something better? And did I mention that I don’t even like IT? I can do it, very well, but I prefer to spend my time making stuff look pretty.
Of course, I’m looking at this through the lens of someone who has a husband who makes enough that I don’t have to do anything. But he asked me something one day that really made me think. “What would you do if I weren’t here?” This was in the course of a conversation about my future, which is of course, our future. Guess what? Being a student certainly isn’t gonna pay any bills. But having my own business, something that depends on no one but me? That would. That will. My family knows first hand that corporate job security is a myth. Remember? 6-7 months pregnant, under contract on a house, massive lay-off from huge tech company? So yeah. I want to build something that is my MINE, because I’m certainly not gonna fire myself, right? (Well, maybe, but that’s another story.)
In any case, this is certainly not to downplay the value of a degree. I get it. But, I don’t want to focus my time or energy working on a degree because it’s ‘safe’ to have one, I want to do it because I want one.
And I thought I did.
But now I don’t.
So I’m not.
After I take finals next week, I won’t be returning to school. I’m gonna write more books, and design more logos, and potty train my kid, and get the other ready for kindergarten next fall. I’m gonna tend my veggie garden, grow my roses, and try not to comb out my locs. I’m going back to flexible and fluid, because that’s where I thrive, and it’s going to be ok, because I’m actually good at writing, and I’m a good graphic designer as well. *toot toot* I believe that I can make a good living with my God-given abilities, which I don’t need to learn algebraic functions to develop.
Failure is always a possibility, in any path, but I know how to overcome that. I’ve done it before. I’m stepping out, and I’m doing it as if I don’t have a safety net.