When I was a kid, I used to love riding my bike around my neighborhood. I would wave to all the people I knew and stop when I felt like having a chat.
One day, I saw Gail sitting on her front lawn. Her face was fixed on the cluster of clovers in front of her. I stopped, wondering what she was doing.
"I'm looking for four-leafed clovers," she said. She had already accumulated a bunch in her lap.
I sat down to help her with no avail. She found another again. And again. Frustrated that I couldn't find one, I left to go home.
I lost my job two weeks ago. Although it came as a surprise since they had scheduled me for the fall, I can't say I was disappointed. I've been trying to leave higher ed for a long time.
Since 2013, I've been looking for a new job. I went on dozens of interviews at various universities all over the East Coast. I finally settled at La Salle University the fall of 2018.
But I wasn't happy. I realized that I was unhappy because I wasn't doing what I loved doing. People asked me, "What do you REALLY want to do?"
My soul whispered, "Write." But I never answered others that way. I always said, "I don't know." I told Sister Janet that I wanted to write, but I didn't quite know what I wanted to write about. She told me to be a writer, but I had no idea how to get started earning a living that way.
In other words, I was so impatient. I wanted the four-leaf clover without sitting down in the grass and looking for it. Instead, I kept returning to the university each fall, similar to getting back on my bike.
Doing what you love
Before the spring 2022 semester ended, I got a job as a freelance writer for Health Digest. Each 6-hour shift, I would bang out 2-3 articles on various health topics. I loved learning new things. I was...thriving.
I'm a little nervous about the fall--when my university salary eventually dries up. I know I could work 40 hours at Health Digest and somehow make ends meet.
But I do know this. I don't wake up in the morning with dread. For the first time in nine years, I feel free.