Fear of New Beginnings; or, I’m Resigning (and some writing stuff)

I originally published this post with Anxiety Ink on Monday, May 14th, which is weirdly fitting since it was also my dad’s 75th birthday. I don’t normally do the cross-posting thing, but it’s a pretty big deal.

Is there a term for the fear of new beginnings? Or perhaps it’s more a fear of endings. (I just finished reading Carrie Jones’s Need* series, in which the main character “collects” phobias and recites them when nervous or scared.) Maybe it’s just called “being human.”

I have this on my mind because I just finished typing my resignation letter for the day job. After eleven years in the wilds of post-college adulthood and employment, four and a half of which I’ve been at my current location, I’m leaving.

I thought it would be easier. After all, I’ve only dreamed of this my entire adult life – possibly earlier. But it feels a bit like that time I rolled off a ledge into a thirty-foot drop.

My mother did the stay-at-home-mom thing, and I think our mothers’ choices often define the standards we set for ourselves. Unfortunately, that isn’t making this any easier.

The status quo – in this case, the day job – offers comfort. Or maybe that’s complacency. Comfort of a paycheck, certainly. Relying on one income is difficult, to say the least (especially with a baby), and would not be really feasible without supplementing from savings. I am beyond fortunate that this is an option, even for just a year or two.

But my current, soon-to-be-ending job has also provided me with a safety net career. Apparently, municipal administration is work I can do – and do well – without feeling like I have to sacrifice a part of my soul. When I leave the standard workforce, I have no guarantee it will welcome me back.

And in the type of parallel that rarely happens to me, I feel a similar reluctance in my writing life.

I’ve finished the novel revisions. I am in the process of typing them up and, for the last few weeks, have been searching for a new project to fill the gap.

This draft is my last before I send it out un the world, to fly or fail. There will always be things I can improve, but the story is truly as strong as I can make it. Holding onto it longer would be no more than a delaying tactic – procrastination at its finest.

My indecision and ambivalence towards the next project, whatever it might be, is that same sort of fear as leaving the day job: the fear of new beginnings. The fear of leaving behind the comfortable and familiar and embracing the pure potential of the unknown.

For now, I’m structuring a schedule of my own – a framework to replace the day job. I am attempting to fill the space when I worked on revising the novel with reading until I can make a decision on my next project. Maybe I’ll make a little progress on my to-read pile (don’t laugh too hard)! At the very least, I’ll be refilling the well. It feels pretty dry, these days, when I think about working on new stories.

So I know I’m facing my fear, but it’s still scary.

*The Need series is wonderful and you should totally go read it. Because Carrie is a fabulous human being, and evil pixies, and because it takes place here, in my corner of the world.

2 thoughts on “Fear of New Beginnings; or, I’m Resigning (and some writing stuff)

  1. So…a few things. One, you are already a great mom and stepping of the ledge is never easy, but must be done occasionally. Two, I still like the idea of a podcast that’s a “show within a show” set in the 1940’s, so that could be a thing/project. Three, when can I beta read the novel? Four, the job didn’t deserve you. Yes, it provided a paycheck, but that was compensation for the work you did. Time to look forward. And Six, you are a great mom. Yes, I mentioned that already, so I do again: you are a great mom. Go raise your child and make art. Because that’s what you are phenomenal at doing.

    R

    1. I will not miss the day job and the way it kept me from pursuing the things I cared about most. It is so important to me that I model a creative life for my daughter. That is the only career I’ve ever cared about, after all. The loss of income will be tough but the loss of an excuse for why I’m not accomplishing the things I always said I wanted? I think that’s where I’ll struggle the most.

      I still love the concept of this podcast! Multimedia projects are fantastic (though that discussion was so long ago I don’t remember the details). There’s another month to go before work and the staged reading I’m in wraps up. Maybe make this a bar discussion at Readercon?

      Also, thank you ❤ I really appreciate the support and it helps calm the raging anxiety. You are wonderful and I miss our conversations!

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