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I remember playing a Legend of Zelda game for Super Nintendo when I was younger. I mostly played sports video games growing up, so it was unusual that I became absorbed in this adventure game.
I remember doing pretty well pretty quickly, and I remember getting to the very last stage of the game. I’m not sure I’d ever ‘beaten a game’ before. I don’t think I wanted the game to end, though, because I deleted all of my progress and before beating that last boss, I went back to the beginning of the game. I remember finding that first scene particularly appealing because it took place outside in the rain.
Not too long ago I heard Louis CK talk about the fact that, despite all of the success he’s enjoying now, he misses the days when he was a struggling artist, barely making ends meet. No one knew who he was, and though it was a difficult time he noted that there was something fun about it.
I think I know exactly what he means.
A little more than a year ago I left a teaching career to pursue a career in writing. I took advantage of my new schedule to pursue another passion I had put off for years — stand-up comedy. Professionally I’m starting over for the second time — 10 years ago I became a teacher after working as a writer and producer in TV news. This time, though, the career switch came at a less opportune time in my life.
When I became a teacher I was still single. I was engaged to be married, but it was certainly a better time to turn everything on its head. Now I have a wife and 3 children, and when I left teaching I was the primary breadwinner in my family. Not anymore.
I am certainly happier where I am right now — I’m doing what I love, I’m spending more quality time with my family, but I’ve yet to reap financial rewards for my work. Which is fine — I don’t have any ego about my wife supporting our family for a while.
I’m not going to shout from the rooftops that you should drop everything so you can pursue your dreams and that taking big risks will bring you big rewards.
And support is exactly what she’s providing. It was her idea for me to take this leap and she has backed up her emotional support for my happiness with the financial support it has taken for me to try out this new life.
I’m not going to lie and tell you it hasn’t been scary starting from scratch. I find myself questioning whether I’ve done the right thing. I understand the skepticism of those who question whether this was the smartest move with 3 children to support. I’ve often wondered if I’m being selfish, but I know that if I’m happy it has an effect on everyone else in the house.
And I am happy. I find great joy in transporting my kids to and from school and other activities. I have settled into a better routine so that our family time can be more focused on the fact that we’re together and not on the next obligation that will cause us to be apart.
But I know this move isn’t for everyone. I’m not going to shout from the rooftops that you should drop everything so you can pursue your dreams and that taking big risks will bring you big rewards, because I don’t know how realistic those rewards are. I don’t know what will happen in my situation. I know there’s a chance I might have to go back looking for more reliable, steady work in the future.
I want to succeed. I want to reward my wife for taking such a risk on me, and my kids’ unconditional faith. (They switched to “Daddy’s a writer!!” from “Daddy’s a teacher!!” without a second thought. If only it were that easy.) Most days I feel confident I made the right move. I’m doing something that I love.
I understand what Louis CK is saying. There’s a certain thrill to making something out of nothing. To starting all over. I don’t remember if I ever got back to that last stage of Zelda. I don’t remember if I ever ended up beating the game.
But I sure did love that first part in the rain.
And I did enjoy playing the game.
John Sucich is a writer and comedian living in Massachusetts with his wife and three daughters. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter, or find out more at his website, www.johnsucich.com.