Gina awoke once again to the 6:00 AM alarm, her first thoughts drifting to that of yet another
interminable day looming before her. “Was today Wednesday - or Thursday?” she wondered
as she dragged her unwilling body out of her warm cocoon of a bed and made her sleepy way
downstairs for a cup of coffee.
In the quiet first moments of the morning, Gina would take the opportunity to psych herself
up for the adventures of the day. She was a home day care provider and within an hour or so
would be in charge of several energetic and needy youngsters. Child care was the only job Gina
had ever held - faithfully helping raise child after child for over 20 years.
Lately, however, Gina’s enthusiasm for her profession was wearing thin. Maybe it was that
she’d been doing the same thing for her entire working life; maybe it was that she felt her
services weren’t appreciated and respected as they once had been. Whatever the reason, Gina
was feeling generally burned out. Where once she found great satisfaction in impacting the lives
of young children, that now failed to inspire her. She was overcome with a flat feeling of, “Been
there, done that.” Tired of the “grind,” Gina longed to do more with her life and the intellect
and creativity she felt knocking at her subconscious, “Let me out; use me or you’ll lose me!” it
seemed to shout inside her head, especially in those quiet early moments over coffee.
It didn’t matter whether this particular day was Wednesday or Thursday, June or July, three
years ago or today. All Gina’s days felt the same - looking back or looking ahead - as she
grew more and more dissatisfied with her profession and her professional self. She longed for
things to be different but didn’t know how to make that happen - a case of “the mind is willing
but the body is weak.” As much as she wanted - and needed - a change, she simply wasn’t in
a place where she felt empowered to do anything about it. Although she felt stuck, she lacked
the confidence and clarity to move on to something new. So she trudged along, Tuesday after
Wednesday after Thursday...absently performing her duties on auto-pilot.
This was not the first time Gina had found herself “stuck” in a situation she desperately wanted
to escape. During her twenties, she was trapped in an emotionally and physically abusive
marriage. As a way of coping with the frustration and sadness, Gina kept a journal, expressing
her fear of making a change - of the unknown with which she would be confronted if she were
to break free of her abusive relationship. Committing those feelings to words, she believes,
helped her avoid becoming completely lost and gave her strength. She eventually did muster
the wherewithal, fortitude and courage to escape that situation but it only happened once she’d
given herself the permission to follow her own bliss.
While her current circumstances were limited to feelings of personal dissatisfaction, Gina
couldn’t help but compare the two situations because of the similar way they impacted her view
of herself. For the second time in her life, Gina felt boxed-in and unable to express her true self.
Deep down, she knew it was incumbent upon her to make those changes if she was ever going
to find the personal fulfillment for which she longed.
Just a couple years ago, in fact, Gina had finally written publicly of her abusive relationship
on her personal blog. The exercise of writing about the experience had taught her just how
powerful words could be. Although she had come a long way since the days of her abuse, after
writing her survivor story, Gina felt empowered - as if she’d taken another giant step in her
emotional recovery from that traumatic period in her life. She realized then and there that her
words had the capacity to influence change.
While it was abundantly obvious that Gina was miserable in her profession, there were factors
(just like those that kept her in the abusive relationship for all those years) that enticed her
to “stay the course,” continuing in her career path (that really was more of a career “park” since
she wasn’t going anywhere). The prospect of changing careers - like the prospect of leaving an
abusive relationship - presented an “unknown” that was scary to contemplate. Additionally, while
it was far from a high-paying career, the income was steady and predictable, it was convenient
because the work came right to her door and there was a continuous flow of business as the
children who outgrew her services were regularly replaced by a new crop of babies.
All those factors kept Gina trudging along in her child daycare business - until one by one, they
disappeared. When the economy took a dip, so did Gina’s business. The elements that made
daycare a sensible career began to fall away: Parents lost their jobs and no longer needed
daycare for their children. Her client base dried up, decreasing her steady and predictable flow
of income to a mere trickle within a year.
“Be careful what you wish for - because you just might get it!” These words rang in Gina’s mind
throughout all of this. On the one hand, the career she’d always had (but no longer wanted) was
shriveling before her eyes. On the other hand, the lack of work foisted her into an economic
crisis. Gina was faced with the question: “What’s scarier - making no money or contemplating a
career change?” The time for crucial decisions had arrived.
The “20 year ‘Ah-ha’ moment”
Ever since high school, Gina had felt like a writer. An introverted and deep-thinking girl, writing
was often her only outlet for self-expression. Life’s twists and turns had prevented her from
pursuing that “lofty” goal for the more practical career of child care provider. Her inner writer,
however, remained with her through the years like a loyal friend. When she took the momentous
step of writing her survivor story, something awakened within her. Even though she continued
her child care career, a spark had been ignited, allowing her inner writer to emerge to the
Slowly yet consistently, Gina began thinking of herself less as a child care provider and more
as a writer. It seemed that once she opened the door to thinking of herself as a writer, a rush of
self-knowledge and confidence came flowing into her consciousness.
Gina was suddenly aware:
● that this change was actually a metamorphosis
● that she could leverage this crisis into an opportunity to seize her true calling
● that she had not only the writing talent but something of value to express with it
Once she granted herself permission to go for it, she was set free, breaking through the fear
and resistance that had been preventing her from pursuing her true calling. She experienced
her personal breakthrough - only 20 years in the making - when she realized she’d been a writer
Gina closed her child care business and has established a freelance writing business. She has
availed herself of a variety of writing projects, in a continuing effort to see where her strengths
and talents lie. The tagline of her business, WriteyTidy says it all: “I use my words to tell your