“Because you write, you show the rest of us that there is life after work – that you can retire and have a meaningful second career doing what you really want to do.”
A reader said these words to me this week, and they gave me a boost beyond anything I would have expected. I never thought that I set an example to others – my colleagues, my friends – I never thought there was a message of hope attached to my work. How did that happen?
Who’d ever think that others needed to see that it could be done – that the love of words could become two completed novels with a third on the way.
That they, in turn, might establish a little specialty shop where their needlepoint hobby could be turned into a vocation.
Or earn a position as a teacher of English from their penchant to correct the grammar of others and their own commitment to return to school and learn linguistics and teaching methods. Or establish an adoption agency that might come out of their love for their own Chinese daughters. That they might become a piano tuner, an antique dealer, or a local politician.
That they might help others for free – in food banks, shelters, or other ways so numerous that the challenge in this posting is to edit them out rather than write them down.
Here’s the message: people are watching you. They’re inspired by your efforts, your refusal to give up. When you stick to something – when you do the work, make the sacrifice, and follow your dream – people will notice. And the act of sticking to it, will give them hope that they too can do the work, make the sacrifice, and follow their dreams.
That’s a side benefit of the work. And, to paraphrase the old TV show: That’s your mission, should you choose to accept it.