on finding your way

discovering the void in ourselves is just the start of the journey…

When I moved to Melbourne I planned to do a lot of writing. I imagined that this would be my biggest challenge and in a lot of ways it has been. For quite some time I found I couldn’t write. I’d get up in the mornings and sit at my desk ready and willing but no matter what I did, the words refused to join me. It was terribly distressing; I felt like a failure. It didn’t make sense. I knew what I wanted to say and was prepared to put in the hours, but it was as if the timing wasn’t right, as if the words weren’t ready. I didn’t just sit there of course, I did write some things. But everything I scribed seemed clumsy and jarred. Kind of like someone had taken a song I knew well and then played it back, slightly out of key.

And then poetry reared its pretty head. On the day it arrived, writing became easy. Now I can sit and pen two pieces over my muesli. It’s like whatever wind is blowing them in will not be stilled or quieted. Unfortunately, poetry takes a person nowhere but to the warm cave inside of themselves. It’s awfully snug, but it’s not the type of writing that can be rationalised; there’s no chance these words will prove in any way self sustaining.

And now I have a bigger problem. I am running out of money. Surprisingly, finding work in the city is difficult. Initially I’d imagined that supporting myself with casual teaching would be simple. I visited stacks of schools and was sure I’d soon begin to hear from them. I started waking at six am in anticipation for the phone call and I would iron my clothes in the evenings in readiness for a last minute rush. But no one rang. I sent follow up emails and heard nothing. I broadened my scope by venturing further afield and still the line remained silent.

The dwindling of finances has left me certain that contentment doesn’t come from opting out. Being poor is stressful. Jobs are necessary. The challenge isn’t in figuring out how to avoid work, but rather finding an occupation that will allow you to keep the actual fire burning while also fueling your spirit, making your insides warm. I miss working. I enjoy time spent writing but I miss the sharing. I miss other voices and the laughter. I miss making someone else a cup of tea and seeing the smile that thanks me. Truly, writing can be such a lonely pursuit.

So a couple of weeks ago I decided it was time to begin to change some things. More than anything I suppose it was necessity that began to bump me outside of my box. I began applying for all types of jobs; not ones for which I’m acutely qualified, but ones I could imagine enjoying. This fortnight I have applied for upwards of ten non teaching jobs and I have grown unexpectedly excited by the prospect of being granted the opportunity to try something completely different.

This sudden feeling of hopefulness and exhilaration has led me to realise that somewhere along the line I’d lost track of what this year was about. To an extent, I’ve been waiting for fulfilment to kind of just rock up and join me while I go about the business of living. But I was being silly. If you want to be happy, you’ve got to bring it about for yourself. I don’t know why it’s taking me so long to realise that being passive doesn’t make things happen. I truly am the slowest of learners.

In the twenty first century it’s estimated that a person experiences an average of seven careers within their lifetime. These evolutions aren’t necessarily all radical; they may involve a promotion, for instance, or a change of duties within a profession. But the bottom line is that movement is an entirely normal element within the employment sphere. I’d come to this city searching for a change in scenery. It’s well and truly time to experiment with something new.

Some time after starting this journey, I forgot the point to it all. I’ve been dwelling on my need, rather than seeking my solution. This week I’ve come a little closer to synching with my purpose. And it feels good.


Have you undergone a career change during your working life? Were you glad that you did?

Peace and poetry, x


10 thoughts on “on finding your way

    • Thanks, Nolan. I guess it’s impossible to know if it will suit you until you’re doing it. I suppose the important thing is whether you’re brave enough to walk away if it’s not the one.

  1. It’s good to try new things and be open to opportunities… After I finished my law degree, I decided to move abroad which made it more difficult to find a job in my field. So I started to look for other options and finally started teaching French. A bit like you describe in your post, I could just picture myself enjoy the job. And so I did and I still do 3 years later :-). Who knows what I will do 10 years from now?

    Good luck on your job search 🙂

    • Thank you! It’s moving along swimmingly! It’s so reassuring to hear from other people who have chosen to work beyond the realms of their formal training. Oh, to move abroad. Perhaps I should follow your lead! : )

  2. I completed my engineering degree and worked in the field for a few years. I decided to leave engineering at 29 and pursue counseling. I wanted something more out of life. I eventually completed a graduate degree in counseling. 16 years later and there is still a part of me that yearns for further contentment and fulfillment. I don’t feel that making the change was a mistake by any means. I have learned a lot about myself through the journey. I think it is my INFP personality that is ever the dreamer and thinking there is yet more to life, personally and collectively. I would have never learned as much as I have about myself or accepted myself if I never would have decided to make the change. I have come to realize that the ever evolving self is much like searching for the Holy Grail. About the time I think I have discovered myself, something new dawns on the horizon to seek out pursue.

    I enjoy reading about your journey. Even though we are a generation apart, from two separate continents and different genders many of your thoughts and musings crossed my mind 16 years ago and even today. It is refreshing to know that others resonate with similar ideas. I am sure you will find all that you are looking for.

    • ‘About the time I think I have discovered myself, something new dawns on the horizon to seek out and pursue.’ Oh my gosh, this is exactly what it’s like for me, too. I suppose a part of what makes our lives meaningful is that we follow those instincts.

      Hearing stories like yours gives me courage. Thank you, Ron. x

  3. Beautiful! Love this one. I don’t know what happened, but for some reason your posts stopped coming to me… Glad I checked this page. I would argue that poetry can sustain, in so many ways and it’s about finding the venue, just like any novel. On line I see options for poetry all the time, and many include payment for those poems. I’m sure Maya Angelou would argue that poetry has been very good… but then, she’s Maya Angelou. I feel the same discouragement about my novel right now, but I’m determined to see it through. I hope you continue to find inspirations M.

    • I’ll keep writing the poetry because it’s such a compulsion and who knows; just like your novel, one day I may wake up to find I’ve created something more wonderful than I’d never planned to make. There are those of us out there who value poetry very much. That has to be in some way significant.

  4. I live an hour from melbourne and i have worked with children for ten years. A few things lead to me not having a job and it was near impossible to find one. I foind myself too applying for jobs outside of my career path, and the most amazing thing happened.. I have an office job and it is the bst decision i have made in a very long time. I wonder why i put up with stress for so many years. I hope you find your way. I enjoy reading your posts.

    • It’s so strange what we grow used to accepting in our lives, without even realising, isn’t it? I’m glad you stumbled upon a better alternative. The job we do is so important to our piece of mind! I got a new job last week, so I’m crossing my fingers it’s going to be one that challenges and fulfills me. Else, it’s back to the drawing board, I suppose! x

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