Many kids, teens, and young adults, who grew up in the 1990s and 2000s, kept a diary – a book that locks secrets, ideas, and experiences. Some of these diaries had colored pages, others had scented pages, and there were some that had both. I, myself, owned many, but instead of writing about my day, I used them as notebooks filled with short stories that I created and wrote. I was about 6 or 7 years old when I knew how much I loved to write.
One afternoon, when I came back home from school, I saw my father and a computer technician installing our very first desktop computer; the one with the huge monitor, box-shaped screen, mouse with the rolling ball inside, and the keyboard that had to be plugged in to work. It was something magnificent; a treasure, a new discovery, a machine the entire world was talking about. To me, it was a new tool for writing – more practical, easier to erase and rewrite, with cool fonts and colors; yes, they were cool back then. After finishing my homework, I would sit in front of the computer and type away.
Fast forward to 2012. I graduated with a degree not related to writing and worked for many years in fields also not related to writing, but I always managed to squeeze in a little time to write. Whether it was by doing magazine internships or starting a novel; writing was always a part of my life.
At the beginning of 2017, I landed a job in the field of Human Resources. I was happy in a stable position in an international company. I was comfortable with my coworkers, I knew every tiny detail related to my responsibilities, and I was content with the security this job had given me. But there was something wrong; I was stuck in a routine. I know routines are good; they create stability, consistency, and achievements, but there’s a difference between good routines and dead-end routines and I was stuck in the latter one.
After the COVID pandemic hit the world, I, like everyone else on this planet, had to quarantine. To be quite honest, I did spend the first couple of weeks watching every series available on Netflix – even the foreign ones with English subtitles, but then, for some reason, I started doing some research about freelancing, working independently, starting a small business, and the like. I kept these articles and resources saved on my laptop for “future ideas” but little did I know that I’d refer back to them very, very soon.
March 2021 came along and Jordan was facing the highest COVID cases recorded worldwide. At a point, I was among these numbers that popped up on news outlets. I quarantined at home – in a room – for about 2 weeks. I worked remotely and stayed on track with my coworkers. I was plugged into the HR system and continued working my way from home. But one evening, I knew this is not what I wanted. Life was just passing by and I wanted more.
After testing negative, I went back to the office and gave in my resignation. I left my job at a time people were dreading to lose their jobs because of the pandemic. I left my job to work on my own, as a Lebanese freelance copywriter, in Jordan. I was determined to push myself and turn my passion for writing into my professional career even when people had a question mark drawn in their eyes the moment, I told them. The phrase “Who leaves her job at a time like this?” has been said to me about 47 times.
Now almost 2 years after giving in my resignation, I’m here writing this piece. With over 20 clients on my portfolio, there isn’t a day that passes by that I regretted my decision. I can’t say that I didn’t face challenges, but sometimes these challenges are what teach us, guide us, and make us understand situations.
There will be challenges, criticisms, rejections, and obligations, but that’s alright. Do some research, make a plan, push yourself, start today, and continue learning and growing. I didn’t have a business card when I first started and I’m still working on my website two years after. Growing doesn’t happen overnight. You’ll have to take bit by bit. Even when you think you’ve reached the top, you’ll notice that you’re just at the tip of the iceberg and that’s what makes this journey so exciting.
Bottom line: You can’t wait for the perfect time. There isn’t a perfect time. I made the decision to do what I love while I was fighting a virus, was on antibiotics, and had a fluctuating fever. For anyone reading this piece, it’s never too late. I have a Bachelor’s in Education and a Masters in HR Management, yet I don’t work in any of these fields and decided to change my entire career path at 30. And so can you. Be your own perfect time because if there was anyone who can push you to do whatever it is you like, whether it’s a new career, or anything else, it’s you.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So, throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
Contributed by Tala Bacouni
Embracing unpredictable adventures and tackling challenging experiences, I took the leap to leave my stable, full-time corporate job and transform my passion for writing into a thriving career. As a freelance writer, I indulge in reading both fiction and non-fiction books, endeavor to master the art of cooking delectable meals, champion small and local businesses through my online initiative, and relish exploring the great outdoors whenever the opportunity arises.