Discovering my passion in my 30s

When I was in the third grade, I decided I wanted to become Murphy Brown. Candace Bergen’s character was the epitome of cool — smart, funny, and a kick-ass journalist who could take down politicians with her pointed questions. She traveled to foreign lands and reported on important issues. I wanted to do that. Except, journalism is hard and I didn’t have a hard edge for reporting, which I learned, when I became the news editor at my college paper.

So, I changed my major from journalism to history. I discovered I had a real appreciation for Latin American history, so during my senior year of college, I applied for doctoral program in Latin American studies. Except, I could never get my GRE scores high enough to properly apply. So I did a Master’s degree program in English As A Second Language and taught for five years. I was good at my job and I loved my students, but I got burnt out quick. So I went to library school and became a young adult librarian for two years until I had my son and decided to stay home with him.

At 36 years old, I’ve earned three degrees and have had two major careers. But it wasn’t until I was pregnant with my second son that I decided to buckle down and write my first book. I love YA literature and I had a story idea to write a novel set in the mid-1990s. It was a ghost romance and mystery and was the epitome of a crappy first draft. But, every night while my son slept, I systematically revised the manuscript until it resembled an actual book someone could read and enjoy. Long story short, it was published by a small press and saw the light of day and readers for the first time in 2014.

After that, I told my husband — I have finally found what I want to do with the rest of my life. I want to be an author. I want to write books. I want to publish. I don’t want to go back to a 9-5 job. As much as I loved teaching and being a librarian, I don’t see myself being as passionate about those careers as I am about writing.

Somehow, I’m going to make a living doing this. I’m self-publishing and I have a few years to build up my work and, hopefully, sales before my youngest starts school. And if my writing doesn’t pay the bills, then yes, I will have to find employment again. But, I’m not longing to be anything else other than a writer. It just took 30-someodd years to figure that out.

 

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Author: Kimberly G. Giarratano

I'm a YA author. And mom of 3. I'm also tired. Very, very tired.

13 thoughts on “Discovering my passion in my 30s”

  1. Kimberly, I’m a kindred spirit. Murphy Brown remains one of my all time favorite shows! Like you, I wanted to be like her but lacked the experience and the hard edge. Congrats on finding your passion, and best of luck to you!

  2. I also have had multiple “careers” during my long and exciting life thus far. Each one seemed wonderful and fulfilling at the tie, but I was always on the lookout for the next adventure, even now. Having one career does not prevent one from having another, even at the same time. Branch out; look out; and be prepared.

  3. Fun post, Kimberly! I love hearing how people discovered their passions, especially writers who always seem to have such varied backgrounds. Thank you for sharing, and best of luck as you pursue your passion! 🙂

  4. I’m a kindred spirit, too. Had a big-deal career, quit to stay home with kids, sold the first thing I ever wrote (a personal essay … sweetest 50 bucks I ever made!), and have been experimenting with ways to make a living at it ever since. Best of luck on your journey!

  5. Terrific post, Kimberly. I often sing exactly like Murphy Brown: off key but with gusto (and passion)!

    Like many others I also have a checkered past in terms of careers, from Corporate America to small business owner… and now finally writing. And I was 50-someodd years before finding my heart. You’re rockin’ it in your 30s!

  6. I’m sixty. I’ve earned money as an artist, playing harp, working in media, as a secretary, practicing a bunch of different kinds of law and writing. You’re never too old to chart a new course. And who says you got to do only one thing at a time?

  7. Count me in the group. When I was young, I always thought I’d write a book. But then came the need to “have a real job” to support kids and a husband. Wasn’t until 2011 when I got fired from a company I’d been with for 12 years that my husband said, “What about that book?” Two kids in private school means still having a “day job,” but someday…

  8. I think our society doesn’t take nearly enough account of people whose paths are non-linear: who aren’t doing at age 40 (or after that) what they were doing at age 20. And yet, that describes a huge chunk of the people I know.

    I love(d) the career I found in my 20s, and honestly, I think I would have had a happy, fully satisfying life pursuing it forever. That didn’t happen, though, and right now I couldn’t picture myself doing anything other than what I’m currently doing.

  9. Jillratzan, there was a time in our country’s history (not too long ago) when men worked the same job their entire lives, as did women (but ours was that of wife and mother, nothing else). It’s a slow turn to make, but I think finally we’re beginning to get what you’re talking about… non-linear paths. I’m hopeful that both of my granddaughters can experience that in a positive way.

    You’ve been blessed to have at least two completely satisfying careers.

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