It’s always annoyed me the way rich people often preach about how you should just do what you love doing and the money will come. It’s just that the ones who say things like that normally spent about twenty years working their asses off on an oil rig or working as an engineer or a nurse in
. Saudi Arabia
Then, when they had a load of money, they invested it into something really risky but cutesy, like starting up an organic chocolate cake café where you can come and stay for the weekend and do courses in the art of combining yoga and seaweed. Somehow, the whole thing ends up as a huge success (nothing to do with the millions they stashed in it to set it up) and they talk on some TV documentary about how they walked away from working their weary jobs to follow the thing they love, and that now, signs on it, it was all worth following your dream.
Of course, someone suggesting you follow your dreams instead of hating your boss is paramount to offering a child ice cream instead of cabbage, or an adult come to think of it. And unlike a lot of my former colleagues, I actually have dreams. So I decided the very best option I had was to pack in the job. Because after all: life really is too short to spend it sitting around oval tables at terribly important meetings.
Of course, the money didn’t come, but I’m damn near close to finishing the novel, and I got to spend quality time driving kids to school and back from school and to the shops and hockey and even driving teenage boys 200 yards up the road to the gym. I was starting to do things like fold tea towels and sort socks, so I decided that maybe life wasn’t too short to sit around oval tables and scribbling in a diary. After all, there were free biscuits and pens and little boxes of mints with the company’s name on them.
Still though, I had developed an acute allergy, bordering on psychosis whenever I looked at my colleagues, the computer or any documentation connected to the job in question, along with a nervous rash that broke out whenever the phone rang, so there was no going back. Then I had an idea. I applied for a job in a call centre: one of those places that I’m always threatening my kids they’ll end up in if they don’t study harder. But because I didn’t particularly want it, I was able to tell them I could only work up until lunch time or forget the job thank you very much. That’s fine, I was told, whatever suits and do you fancy going for a few jars later?
Without realising what I was doing, I was walking myself into the life that those phoney people with their little organic cafes and cottages in the south of France do – I was actually doing what I love to do: being a bit busy in the morning with a bunch of mad call centre people who actually have lives and wear runners, not suits, while also having time to write and spend time bossing the kids around instead of driving them around.
So I got home this evening and plonked myself on the couch to open the post. The bulky envelope was a copy of an anthology of poems that I have a piece in. As I flapped the cover open, out fell a cheque for €20. I mean hello: money for poems?
I’ve taken it as a sign that it’s really true. Do what you love doing, and the money will come.