The Dream or Stability? (How I found both)

Picture by Sarah Evans

At the end of this month, I will officially step away from what I have always known as (until recently) 'stability'.

I have worked my current '9 to 5' job with diligence, and success for over 6 years. It has provided a decent wage, benefits package, and mobility that I had always hoped to have in a career.

As I mastered each role, the excitement of new challenges, and upward movement were highly satisfying. Coinciding with this journey, was the rationing of time for my passion, my art, my dream. The dream could always be pursued as long as it didn't take away from the 'work', and though passionate about my work, my work was never my passion.

The separation of dream from stability started for me as a child. Having watched my father do what needed to be done to provide for his family of 6. Faithfulness, hard work, and loyalty were all attributes that I inherited and treasured. "Your name is your most valued commodity." I was told. "Your name is MY name, if you do something to tarnish your good name, you tarnish MY good name." "Be a man of your word." These are all words I heard often, valued, and never took lightly. Internalizing these 'values', I solidified a world view that said a man is faithful (to his word), hard working (never perceived as lazy), and loyal (to family).

My father is a mechanic. A hard working, faithful, and loyal mechanic. He doesn't want to be a mechanic. He never wanted to be a mechanic beyond the initial draw that started him in that 'career'. My father is a writer. An amazing, eloquent, and creative writer. That is his passion. He writes in his 'free time', he writes when he doesn't have obligations to work, and family. WHY? Because he is a faithful, hard working, and loyal man. My father has stayed a mechanic for over 30 years because it is 'stable'. Stability is forefront for a faithful, hard working, and loyal man. My father did what needed to be done to provide stability for his family, even at the expense of his passion.

I have spent the entirety of my working life as a faithful, hard working, and loyal man. I have always put my passion aside, when 'stability' was on the line. In order to prove that I am a man of character, and my good name untarnished, I have always excelled in the work that I do. I always moved up as far as I could before taking another job, and I have stayed committed often beyond the time I knew I should move on.

In the last year (or so) I came to realize this about myself, and found that this behavior was not rooted in faithfulness, but in fear. I was FEARFUL, to leave a job where I was unhappy or unfulfilled. I was FEARFUL to leave the 'stability' of a check every 2 weeks. I was FEARFUL that if I left that 'stability' it would reflect poorly on my commitment, my work ethic, my good name. I was afraid to commit to me.

With maturity, comes perspective. With diversity of influence, comes awareness. I realized I was successful working for others because I am a faithful, hard working, and loyal man. It took but moments later to realize, to pursue my passion was to work for myself, and when I work, I excel. This was the moment I realized that stability will come with the dream. It is inevitable. I will do what needs to be done because I am a faithful, hard working, and loyal man.