Ten years ago, at the age of 18, I started my first year towards obtaining a Journalism qualification. Fast forward to 2019, soon to turn 28, I have decided to leave my job and pursue a career in accounting.
After completing my Journalism diploma I found myself working as an intern at a daily newspaper. I knew after six months that I did not want to work for a daily newspaper but I couldn’t find any other job. At the same time I couldn’t turn down the job at the newspaper because financially my family was barely making it. I needed the money. I took the job with the hope I could find something new along the way. The idea was to work for a few months. Months become a year and before I knew it I was on my seventh year of trying to prove that I was worthy of being called a journalist.
Three years ago I told my husband that I wanted to pursue a career in accounting. At first he was shocked. He couldn’t understand where this was coming from. I told a few friends and family and everyone suggested that I do it part-time. Studying part time wasn’t going to work for me. I have a husband who travels a lot through his job. Leaving me alone with the kids. After a long day at work, I get home and prepare supper, bath time and prepare things for the next day.
What everyone couldn’t understand was that my passion for writing was slowly dying and I was silently battling anxiety and panic attacks. I had become that toxic friend people tried by all means to avoid. The once bubbly person I was in my younger years had been replaced by a bitter writer who felt useless. For five years I was in the same position despite being told that I was producing great work. I knew the life I was living was not mine but I was scared to start over or seek new opportunities.
I remember sitting in my psychologist’s office in 2016 telling her about my plans to study full time. She was so excited for me. I never went back for therapy after I failed to register to study the following year.
Everyone said what if it doesn’t work out. What if my love for numbers also dies along the way? What then? Because I didn’t have the answers and I was scared, I decided to bury myself in my reporting life until my husband said we needed to do something about my work life. He had seen how it was starting to affect how I saw myself and my mental state. A lot of us stay in situations that we know very well are not conducive for us. We know we shouldn’t be somewhere but we are scared to get out and try again. I applied for jobs everywhere but no luck.
In 2018 I made a conscious decision to leave my job with the daily newspaper. Since quitting I haven’t had one attack or taken rescue drops. I was tired of being constantly reminded that I was not a ‘hard news’ journalists. And the truth is, I am not. Along the years of working in the newspaper industry and starting my own family, I realised that I enjoyed working with numbers and sorting out budgets. Writing will always be my first love but I don’t think I was made to be a newspaper writer. I am a writer by birth and I will always be one. But right now it is time to answer my calling in numbers.
Writing is my passion and I think the biggest mistake I made was to work for a daily newspaper. I thought I would hone my writing skills and become a well known creative writer. I had dreams of becoming a playwright. I think it is safe to say those dreams are still possible. I can still hone my writing skills without the stress of meeting daily news deadlines. I don’t even want to say I am a journalist, I am a writer. I wrote my first short story when I was 16 and I thought by now I would have a number of short fiction stories published. I allowed the daily pressure to take away the one thing that I loved the most, writing to heal. Writing has always been my safe space. It is where I find healing and joy.
Studying Journalism was not a waste of my time. Everything that has happened in my life was leading me to this moment. I will always write, no one can take that away from me. Closing the chapter of my newspaper days has given birth to a new one. I will continue writing as I fall in love with my modules in the world of accounting. One day maybe I will write financial reports, anything is possible.
We should not be afraid to start over or to dream new dreams for ourselves. Nothing we go through is ever in vain. In the end, all things work out for our good.
Tell us: have you ever ‘started over’?