When You Do Something Different

August 29, 2011

Photo from Flickr's suvodeb

When you do something different, people will say you’re crazy.

They’ll say you’re lucky.

They’ll say you’re getting it out of your system.

The real surprise comes when they realize it’s not just a one-time thing. That you’re going to fit travel into your life or live simply or build an out-of-the-box career from here on out.

The real surprise comes when they realize it will never get out of your system.

Lisa Rowan summed this up nicely when I interviewed her recently about her career as a slasher — a vintage seller/social media strategist/web editor/secretary.

“This is not a quarter-life crisis,” Lisa said. “This is just finding my way. This is the path I’m putting myself on.”

What path are you putting yourself on?

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13 Replies to “When You Do Something Different”

  • Your post reminds me of a trip I was on many years ago where I briefly chatted with a lady who had traveled to interesting places like India all her life, and she wasn’t about to stop just because she was confined to a wheelchair. She said her family thought she was nuts, but she did it anyway by hiring a travel savvy caregiver to help her.

    My own path meanders and winds through unfamiliar terrain…I get tired of the same old thing, so I pursue new genres, new skills, new experiences.

  • Excellent post. I didn’t realize you wrote for US News, and this blog post led me to your other great articles too. You really are doing people a great service by focusing on “unconventional” careers and career paths. Thank you for showing the value in non 9-to-5 lifestyles!

  • Andrea says:

    It’s so silly to live life on another person’s terms. We’re so lucky to be born with so many options, to be born into such relative wealth and freedom. What a shame to let it go to waste, to choose to be confined rather than to be free.

    Good for you! And good on you for inspiring the rest of us!

  • Dana Sitar says:

    This post takes me back through those various steps–people saying you’re crazy, saying you’ll get over it, then, at one point, realizing that this is just WHO YOU ARE. I’ve gone through this with my (very traditional) family my whole life; for a long time I tried to hide the decisions that I was making on my path toward being a writer, because I didn’t think they could understand. Finally, I made the undeniable move of quitting work and school and moving to California from Wisconsin, and I was surprised to find that the moment that they understood and accepted my path was this moment when I made the biggest leap and became completely honest with them.

  • Emmasota just told me about your blog and I am happy to be here. I want to say I am on the brink of making a big career change like the one you mention in this post, however, I don’t feel qualified saying that just yet. I look forward to reading more.

  • Lee Cart says:

    Hi Alexis–I took a different path when I finally left my ex-husband of 14 years, much to the surprise of everyone. Then another leap as I went back to school in my forties to finally get a college education, another leap as I chose creative writing as my degree…all along the way family and friends have doubted me, saying “writers never make a living, go into teaching etc.” I have played along with them, looking for teaching jobs while also looking for writing and other more writing-related jobs. I’m not making a living solely on my writing but in just a year’s time from graduation am now working as a book reviewer which is a step in the right direction. And my family and friends are finally beginning to accept that I am a writer. 🙂

  • You may have just saved my professional life!!! I love my job – or at least the idea of my job – but I have all these other interests that could, if I had time, become income streams for me. I thought I was just being selfish (or crazy) to think I could manage a vintage/antique/craft business, write, paint kids’ murals, and manage some social media. I had no idea this was a developing trend, and I’m so excited to know that there are pioneers out there doing what I want to do! Thanks, Alexis!! 🙂

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