My wife, Rachel Saylor, is a writer. Several months ago, she wouldn’t have told you that. She was on a totally different path. I’m really excited to have her tell her story about making a complete change of focus in her life. She shares insightful things about dealing with the difficulty of dropping a dream you’ve pursued for years as well as the power of focus.
How to Completely Change Your Focus and Celebrate It
Even if it means dropping a goal you’ve pursued for years
by Rachel Saylor
Here’s something I am working through at this very moment…being ok with changing my mind about what my dream is now. For years I have told people that I want to be a counselor. My bachelors degree is in Psychology and it was my plan to continue on to get my masters and become a licensed counselor. I have mentioned before that I am futuristically driven and this was my end goal, this was my drive; to become a counselor.
It hit me one night a little less than a year ago. I was crazy sick, laying in bed at the beach with my husband who was staying up with me while I couldn’t sleep. We were talking about all of the books I had been reading lately, specifically, the abundance of young adult fiction novels. During our conversation it hit me (with the helping suggestion of my husband) that I could write these kinds of books that I love to read. I could take a reader to another world on an exciting adventure to uncharted territories and I could be the one who gave the starving reader an ending that they were anxious to reach. My heart leapt at the idea and I knew I had to attempt this new dream.
Let me back up and explain how my plans changed and evolved to the present state. I got married straight after graduating from my undergrad. We had no plans to move anytime soon, especially since my husband’s job was good and steady and we were just starting out. I floundered for an entire year trying to figure out what I was doing, struggling to even land a simple job (our town is an incredibly difficult place to find a job and for that reason many people have to leave after graduating from the university). A position finally fell into my lap and I jumped on it. I became an after school and summer programmer at a non-profit for at-risk middle schoolers.
This was incredibly exciting for me; I got to partially fulfill my dreams. No, I wasn’t becoming a counselor for these kids, but I was becoming a mentor, positive influencer and leader in these kid’s lives. I am proud of what I do there and love that I get to positively impact their futures.
These past two years I have grown and learned a lot about myself in this position. I also began to wonder if I would ever feel like going back to school. The longer you wait to go back to school, the less likely it is that you will go back. Thoughts of not wanting to go back began creeping in my mind. This is how these thoughts went: “I don’t want to have to give up my job,” and “we are debt free and I’d like to keep it that way, but there’s no way we could pay straight out of pocket for school,” and then there was the biggest thought of them all, “I don’t know that I want to be a counselor anymore.”
Wait, that doesn’t align with what I have been telling people that I am going to do. My mindset has been going in this one direction for so long, so how do I change such a drastic course as this? In reality, it’s quite simple, just do it. My values however are clashing inside of me and making a bloody mess out of things.
I have come to realize a few things, though. First off, it’s ok that I am changing gears and not doing what I told people I was going to do, which was to become a counselor. If there is one thing I am learning right now, it is that life is wild. We can choose to go with the changing current or waste all of our time and energy trying to fight it and potentially drown. I am not disappointing others, the only person that this is really going to effect is me (and partially my husband too, who is crazy supportive of me changing directions, I should mention). This is my life and I have to be ok with not totally living out that statement of, “I’m going to be a counselor” that has driven me for the last 7 years. My current job has fulfilled so much of what I was looking for through being a counselor and it is incredibly rewarding.
Second of all, who knows what the future may hold for me? I may later have something click in my brain and tell me, you know what, Rachel? You want to be a counselor again. I am learning that this is also OK to have happen in the future. I don’t want to totally close the door on counseling. I have a long road ahead of me, so I won’t limit myself. However, for now, my focus will be writing.
I am excited, thrilled really, but downright scared of this new direction I’m heading full steam towards. This is new territory for me, I didn’t go to school for this stuff and I feel so out of my league, but I am going to keep my head held high, be proud of my new dream and write my little fingers off. Cheers to new dreams, it’s something to celebrate.
Rachel Saylor (Rachel’s writing website and blog are coming soon 😄)