If you’d asked me two months ago how I was doing, I’d probably have replied with a fake smile, a shrug and a “not bad” as a response. You’d probably see right through me and wonder how in the world did someone who seemed to have everything, look so downtrodden. Ask me that same question now, though, and you’d probably get a genuinely bright smile and a more uplifting response. Once again, you’d wonder what in the world was wrong with me. Someone who barely had it together and was living like a pauper, couldn’t possibly be happy, right?
Two months ago, I was at a crossroads in my life. I was working a full time, sometimes even over-time job, while running the day to day activities of Attack On Geek, largely on my own, and streaming for Microsoft as part of their GameMaster programme. While it doesn’t seem like much, I was highly stressed and so strung out that the slightest thing would irritate me and set me off. I was ‘working’ nearly 19 hours a day, sleeping for 4 and dedicating about an hour for family and friends.
Running Attack On Geek was just too time consuming, what with attending film premieres, playing and streaming games, writing up reviews and posting content across multiple social media platforms. It was insane, but I loved it too much to stop. What I didn’t love was my full time job, which wasn’t taking me very far other than to pay my bills. When I’d had enough of the daily cycle of crying myself to sleep, I realised that there was just so much more to life than to waste it on something that I didn’t enjoy and didn’t provide me with any kind of intellectual challenge. As someone with goals and a desire to keep learning and growing, I had to ask myself, “why work in a position that didn’t pose any challenge nor any opportunity for growth?” It was then that I saw the writing on the wall. For the past two years since I started The Vanguard/Attack On Geek, it was the one constant thing in my life which provided me with more growth, challenge, joy and most importantly, a desire and drive to succeed than any other job I’ve ever had.
Thus, I decided to take a leap of faith and gave up the security of a paid full time position to run Attack On Geek full time. It was the easiest decision I’ve ever had to make and I had a lot of support and positive well-wishers. It’s now coming up to two months since I left my paid position and I couldn’t be happier. I have more ‘me’ time, answer to no-one but myself and am able to pursue my passions and dreams of working in the gaming and entertainment industry, something that I have long had since childhood.
However, happiness does come at a cost and that is the message that I want to convey here today. People have said how lucky I am to be pursuing my dreams, how brave I am to take on the unknown, how well I’m going to end up because I’m doing what I love. Don’t get me wrong, I am certainly very lucky and am so grateful for all the support I’ve received. I’m so glad that I made this decision and I would probably make it again in a heartbeat, but the grass isn’t always greener. Everyday that I don’t ‘work’ and earn a salary is a day closer to financial debt.
I’m now living so frugally, that I can’t really afford groceries or even petrol. Each time that I run a giveaway and have to post the prize out is a struggle as I’m having to eat into what minimal amount of savings I have. It’s tough. It’s even more so challenging because what I’m trying to achieve with Attack On Geek will take years to build and I don’t currently have the financial backing nor the team numbers to do it all. It’s just little ol’ me with one or two casual helpers here and there (for now).
It really hit me today, when I scoured through my precious belongings (e.g. Pop Vinyls, games and vintage comic books) with the intention of putting them up for sale in order to gain some extra funds to fund my upcoming travel to Australia for PAX Australia and to meet my hero, Stan Lee, a man that I regret not meeting on so many occasions that this next instance will be my one last chance.
Before you say, “this sounds terrible. Why is she telling me this sob story. It’s her fault for choosing this path” I want to make it clear that I’m not looking for pity or sympathy. Despite the hardship and struggle I face currently, I’ve never been more at peace with myself. What I’m trying to convey, in a very long round-about-way, is that for the first time in my 27 years, I am finally doing something for me. I am finally happy with who I am and what I’m doing. I don’t have to be the lawyer that my extended family expected me to be, nor the PR Account Director that I thought was the only way I’d be ‘successful’ and happy. I’m now my own boss and I’m doing what I truly and deeply enjoy.
So to all of you out there who have passions and dreams, ideas, thoughts, whatever they may be, don’t be afraid to pursue them. The road ahead is long and arduous. You’ll fall, several times. You’ll live on just slices of bread for a few months and may have to acquire funds to survive in other ways, but the outcome is so worth it. Life is just too short to keep doing the things that make you unhappy. I truly believe that I will succeed. It may not be right away, but I know, deep down, that doing what you love, will drive you to succeed in ways that nothing else ever will.
So watch this space ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls. Follow me as I continue to pursue my life-long dream through the dark and scary, big, bad world.
P.S I’m working on a little something that may see my current situation change. Stay tuned.