Welcome to Ask April, a no-nonsense advice column focusing on what it is you can do to correct things that need correcting. While we all know much in life is out of our control, and sometimes, our reaction is all we CAN control, we really do have a lot of personal power, thankfully. Our will is just as important as the wills of others around us, and while we need to be considerate, we also need to make sure others are equally considerate of us. It is my hope that when you write in to me, asking advice that I can help you make a good decision that somehow improves whatever situation you’ve found yourself in. As with anything I share, I recommend people don’t automatically take my word for anything, but include my advice in with the rest of the things that help them make a decision. I wish you well. Read on.
This week’s advice column is a blanket piece of advice for everyone, myself included.
I have attained a long term goal. I was not expecting it to come to fruition so soon, let alone NOW. Here’s the story.
Back in 2004, I bought my first deck of tarot cards, and played around with them. I saw professionals giving readings in Metaphysical shops. They really knew their stuff. I decided right then, and there that I wanted to be good at reading, and I wanted to get paid to do so. Specifically in a nice shop someday.
In 2009, I started doing readings one evening a week after work at a friend’s shop. She went out of business, and I found myself a reader without a store again.
I had a lot of other things, though. I had a full time career in Health Care, a Metaphysical group, and plenty of people wanting readings. So, I had clients, and I had friends who gathered with me, but it still wasn’t the dreamed of shop reader position I wanted.
Fast forward to fall of 2014. I had started a full-time career in retail. Unlike a lot of retail workers, I actually loved my job. I was voted employee of the month the first month I was there. I was a little more than proud of myself, especially since the Executive Director at my Health Care job had antagonized me for the last twelve months I was there before she canned me. This new job was validation that she was full of shit, and everybody loved me but her.
Nine months later, mono started going around at work- and my blood pressure meds had to be changed because what I had taken for twenty years was no longer being manufactured. Unlike my co-workers, who bounced back after a round of antibiotics, the mono hit me full-body and once the infection was gone, the long term exhaustion, inability to tolerate light or noise, and unspeakable vertigo hit me hard. That was bad enough, but the new medication made my blood pressure yo-yo also. I was also hit with with adult onset asthma, which nobody could diagnose for nearly a year and a half.
Being hit with that triple whammy meant I was out of work for a year and ten months with no benefits, and no income whatsoever. My car was repossessed and all my credit cards went to collections. While I have a husband who has a good job, I struggled with the fact I was unable to work. I’ve survived plenty of loss in my life, but I have never, EVER been unable to be independent, or take care of myself. It all triggered massive panic attacks, and beyond that, a fear that the rest of my life would be like this. I wondered if I would ever get back to work, let alone be able to leave the house by myself again. While I am having a whole lot more good days, I still have an occasional bad day, today included, when I feel like doing nothing. On these days, I am acutely aware that I would not even bother to do anything at all were it not for the fact I have to walk the dog.
Gradually, the asthma medication helped and the mono started to wear off. While nothing beats what I used to take for blood pressure, my body acclimated better to the new drug, and I am not having the issues with the yo-yoing blood pressure like I was. It became obvious that I still had a future, and I was able to start getting out more. I started booking Metaphysical gatherings again, and started a monthly group at a local store, although they did not need any new readers.
Last Spring, I saw there was a new shop coming to my town, 1.4 miles away from the house as a matter of fact, so I dropped an e-mail to the shop owners, and was told they would get back with me when things got off the ground better. I got another e-mail, roughly four months after the initial contact. I went in to interview and, gave the one shop owner a free reading to show what I can do. I was told that not only was it the most fun reading she had ever had, but I was so good, she was going to go ahead and hire me on the spot.
Last Friday, we opened the shop for four hours and had clients the whole time. One client I read for liked the reading I gave her so much, she ran down the street, and dragged her friend back for me to read for her as well. Then both owners, Liz and Ann sat down with me and we discussed ideas for events and classes, even an art show. While it was just my first day working with them, I can tell this is going to go very well.
And that, my friends is how dreams come true.
Not the second we want them. Well, sometimes, maybe, but usually, they come after years of work and development, and after trying various avenues to achieve them. Sometimes, it comes decades after the beginning. I can’t remember which famous person said this, but they said it took them twenty years to become an overnight success.
We live in a culture of instant gratification. We have machines that do almost everything for us, including self flushing toilets, and paper towels that dispense themselves. We eat fast food, and wear clothes made on an assembly line and nabbed off a rack. We have instant messaging to anywhere on earth, and can fly thousands of miles away in a day or less. Working at a long term goal, and waiting for it to happen is something we seldom glamorize, let alone trudge through in this day and age. Just let me say this is absolutely a mistake.
When you were a baby, you had to learn to crawl, then walk, and finally run. You learned your ABC’s before you learned to write words. Then you wrote sentences before paragraphs. Everything we do in life is a process with multiple steps, and sometimes, it all takes a long time before you get to the goal.
My initial dream was to be a reader in a store, and the next dream was to live long enough, and to feel well enough to do it.
All the evenings that groups of us gathered and shared, and studied, and practiced, and exchanged readings… as well as all the people who were having a bad day who asked me for an online reading… as well as countless Meet-ups where folks swapped readings, and every single thing I learned about customer service, including how to conduct myself with customers, has prepared me for this position. I am forty years old and have had adult jobs, meaning I have had taxes withheld by the government from my paychecks, for twenty-one years. Everything I learned about dressing for the job, showing up on time, being reliable, doing the best job I can, learning new skills, and networking was used to land this job, and will be used to keep it. I will furthermore continue to evolve as both a reader and customer service worker, and twenty-one years from now, I will have multiple other experiences that shape me, and improve me in all I do.
Here comes the advice part. If you really want to do something, do not give up or dismay, believing that because something is taking a long time, that it will NEVER happen. Sometimes, we need to abandon efforts, because we realize we have been working towards the wrong goal, but realistically, in the grand scheme of things, we sometimes lose heart and quit before we ought to, because we simply don’t keep trying long term for things.
I admit there were times with this illness that I thought I would never get to feeling better. I felt like I was in the bottom of a hole I could never get out of, but every day, I tried to do as much as possible. I walked the dog, even short distances. I worked on art. I wrote. I did volunteer work. I got out to functions as often as I was up to it. I crashed and did nothing productive many days, I admit, but the next day, I would get up and try again.
When my friend’s store went out of business, I offered to do readings online, in my home for people I knew, and would meet clients in public over coffee. When I asked at a shop if they needed readers, and they said no, I started a group there doing something else, and asked another place, which is the place that hired me.
I would not have accomplished gradually getting out into the World again, let alone landing my dream job if I had given up.
What is it that you are working towards? What do you want to accomplish? What is there in your heart that needs to become reality? Get out there and find out how, and then do it! Take all the time it needs, just hang in there until it happens!
Yes, you can.
Anything worth dreaming about is worth all the hard work and planning to make it actually happen, even if it takes a long time.
Sure, there will be times when you have to quit. Nobody put it better than WC Fields when he said, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, and try again. Then quit. There’s no point being a damn fool about it.” I cannot agree with him more. I can’t imagine a world where nobody tried something they figured out was not for them. It is then that we are called to refocus our attention on what actually is for us.
Some people say life is about the journey and not to worry about the destination, but isn’t a journey AIMED at a destination? The journey is PART of the destination, and although it is a very noble part, it’s still just part of it. The initial dream and passion ignites that journey, and once the destination is reached, it opens all new experiences to enjoy.
So get out there and keep going until it happens.