This was in a recent e-mail from a longtime friend of mine:
I have read some of your blogs. I need to catch up. I even left comments so you would know I had been there...You truly missed your calling. You are a very good writer. Funny, thought provoking, and visual.
I appreciated the complimentary feedback, and I know her well enough to know that she wouldn't have said it if it wasn't really what she thought. And I know it's just one of those things people say when they discover an unexpected interest or talent, but I keep thinking about that "missed your calling" comment.
Maybe I didn't hear the calling before. Maybe I ignored it. Maybe I just didn't feel like I could answer it. But if it's getting through now, do I really have to "miss" it, or is there still time to answer?
I'm not sure I always had this particular calling - when I was younger, I gravitated more toward drawing than writing. I loved reading and played around with writing stories, but felt more inclined toward art. However, neither seemed to be "practical" in the sense that it could provide a decent living, and I was oriented toward practicality. I was quite sure I'd go to college, and believed that my education there needed to prepare me directly for a career. My decision to major in accounting was largely driven by the belief that it was an area in which I'd always be able to find a job. And while that's turned out to be true, and I'm good at my work, I've spent twenty years building a career that I just don't love.
I took a technical-writing class as a college elective, and was pleasantly surprised to find I was pretty good at it - and I liked it. As I advanced in my accounting career, writing opportunities sometimes came my way - policies-and-procedures documentation, budget narratives and analysis reports, training instructions; I enjoyed that as well, and I got good feedback on what I produced. I also was pleasantly surprised to find that I wasn't bad at editing other people's writing, either; I've been the unofficial staff ghostwriter at a couple of my jobs. But writing is not a primary part of my job, and in accounting, it's unlikely it ever will be.
I've kept journals on and off over the years, but my blog is my first sustained writing effort. I've been able to explore a variety of subjects, and have found that I'm capable of writing a pretty decent essay. At first, I assumed I was writing just for myself, but as I've begun to participate more in the blogger community, readers have slowly found their way there, and I like that very much.
The community here is full of women who have answered their callings, and that inspires me. I am not in a position where it would be "practical" (that word again!) to just drop the career I have and start from scratch - nor am I brave enough. However, I'd prefer to think I've found a calling rather than missed one. I'd like to be able to answer it more, but I'm not sure how without knocking my life too much out of balance. I'd like to figure out how, though, and I'm hoping you can help me with that, because I really want to believe it's never too late.