I saw the above meme on Facebook a couple of weeks ago and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since.  It pops into my head multiple times per day.  Why?  Because it is the new mantra I use every time I have doubts about this new career path I’ve chosen.

Which clearly means that I have doubts multiple times per day.  Here’s why:

I have a secure job.  Well–I have a job that’s about as secure as any job is in the United States in 2013.  I’m a tenured public school teacher with a livable (if not grand) salary, benefits, and a pension plan.  I own a home less than half a mile from the school in which I work.  It is a great school, filled with amazing teachers who care about children.  And the children are pretty awesome, too.

And I’m quitting that job to work as a consultant (and a freelance writer and an adjunct professor–but more on that later).  I will not have benefits, I will not have job security, I will not have a retirement plan.  I won’t even be guaranteed regular work.  I will be cobbling together a living out of the scraps of that-which-I-love-to-do.

I am going from ‘pension at age 55’ to ‘using the word cobbling to describe my income-stream plans’.  You can see from where the doubts originate.

But I’m still leaving.  I’m still taking this risk.  I’m doing it for many practical reasons (which I’m sure I’ll share in future posts), but I’m doing it for one huge (impractical?) reason–because I refuse to make decisions out of fear.  And not taking this opportunity would be to cower in my complacency.

I refuse to cower.

I believe that if I’m willing to take this risk, I’ll be willing to take another when/if the need arises.  I believe that by wanting more, I’m not dooming myself to a life of less.  I believe that I can create a life for myself that suits my needs and desires–even if that life looks a little less-than-normal.

Since I’m obviously on a using-cheesy-quotes roll, I’ll throw out another one:

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.

-The internet credits a variety of people for this quote, but I’m choosing to go with Nelson Mandela because, well, I’d prefer to think I’m quoting him than, say, Meg Cabot.  Sorry–I’m sure The Princess Diaries was a great book, but revolutionary it was not.

So what do you think?  Am I brave?  Or am I really, really stupid?  Pleas share your thoughts in the comments below.

Note:  The quote on the photo above was taken from the book The Monk and the Riddle: The Art of Creating a Life While Making a Living.  Perhaps I should read that book?