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Living life.. seriously….

I am.
If I had to pick a word for this year, it would be….
Serious.
My poor friends listen to me complain about my job endlessly. I am so grateful to be working, but my real dream is to be selling my artwork and actually make a decent living at it, to make enough to help support my family and pay bills. That is what I want to do all day long. Paint, sculpt, sew, create.
I came into blogging painting furniture and murals. While I enjoyed it; I’ve always harbored a secret desire to really dig deep and find out what artistic talent I really had in there. When I create, I am lost in a timeless land. Three hours slip by like 5 minutes.
The thing is, when I was 19 and just finishing up my Associate’s degree in Arts, I really felt unsure what direction I should go. I felt like I should have a job that I could support myself on and not be some starving artist like the typical stereotype, but what to do? Do I go onto a bigger college? Do I keep on pursuing art? Can I make any money at it?  Where do I go? Do I try to get  a job? What job? I was undecided and ambled. It’s hard to be 19 and decide your entire life.
So, to make a long story short, I fell hard for a fireman and became an EMT. He dumped me, yet I still found I enjoyed medicine and the excitement that came with the job running the ambulance and driving the rigs. So in my youth, I left my art behind and moved onto getting my firefighter II / paramedic with a furious, focused energy.
I really loved it, a lot. Don’t get me wrong. Even though it was a hard road as the first female firefighter in my department ( that’s another story all together, these were the days before ladies in bunker gear was mainstream.), I was a pretty good firefighter and a really good paramedic ; I even got to save a few lives and put out a few fires, but it wasn’t a true passion for me. And it didn’t always come easy. It was really hard work. I have no problem with hard work, but every step was like swimming upriver emotionally and physically. I’m pretty short and had to do a big guys job. Even though I could bench press over 165 pounds and  leg press over 350 (no kidding) my back and body started to give out from all over the extra demands. I spent 2-3 hours in a gym every day just to keep up. When my body hurt all of the time and I was married and wanted to have a family, I knew it was time to move on even though it was  a very hard decision.
 Again, I was drifting.
So, when I “retired” I ambled for  a while. I became a really bad personal trainer, did a few busted craft shows, considered medical school but decided that road was too long and I finally started working for the health care company I work for today. Then, I had my kids and made a home, painted some furniture, but something was missing. A tiny piece.
Until this year.
I decided that this year was going to be the year. 2011. The year I became serious about doing what I should’ve done literally 20 years ago. And be successful at it.
So, I  go into my little studio every day after work that I share with the dryer, dirty socks and the canned goods and do what I love best. What I have a passion for. Luckily, my wonderful husband is very supportive of me giving it my best shot. And if I do fail, at least I can say I tried my hardest, was grateful for what I had, and gave the rest up to God. He’s there, I can feel it. That way, if I am still complaining about my job this time next year, I know I did my best and it just wasn’t meant to be.
I want to make this happen. I want to prove to my old self that my young self should have followed her heart. That you should always follow your passion even if you’re unsure, and that success can still come between peri-menopause and class-party volunteer. 
Because good things come to those who wait, right?
Because I am serious.
Jen
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54 Comments

  1. What a great story! I love that you’ve done these demanding jobs that some guys couldn’t ever even do and you are the cutest teeniest girl! I’m impressed and with that strength of character and faith and talent, you will definitely find success as a full time artist – I’m sure it’s your year!! xo

  2. Jen, The most honest blog post you have ever entered. Do you realize that it was 2007 when we “met” at cafemom. Do you know what you were trying to do then? You cant fail at this as you fear….the only fail is not moving forward. Sounds like the young Jen voice knows what she wants and isnt going to quiet down any time soon.

  3. oh my goodness you put my thoughts into words…i have felt the same for even longer than you have…i am semi retired, can’t do it totally, i have finally started selling some of my art, and it feels wonderful….thank you so much for the post…just need to overcome the fear part and do it

    c

  4. hi Jen-

    I know you are serious and I think that you should be as you don’t ever want to look back and say, I could have. I laughed out loud after reading your comment about being between peri-menopause and the class mom volunteer. Sums up where I am in life too. I quit my day job recently, it was the hardest decision I ever made, but I am happier and less stressed and have probably added years to my life – still a bit scary though.
    My best- Diane

  5. Hi Jen… Although you let your Art slide you followed a very noble path and should be proud.. but now, get serious doing the one thing that makes you happy and follow that dream because when you do what makes you happy you will flourish!
    Good luck to you!
    Paint, sketch, create and life will be good!
    Sandy

  6. Wow, what a privilege to hear your heart and know your story. We’re cheering you on. Love the way you’re trusting God and working your hardest and letting Him control the outcome!! May 2011 truly be “your year”!!

  7. Wow. You have perfect timing. I completely, completely relate. I would LOVE to end my job to follow full time photography.

    You are so very talented! You can do it!

  8. Wonderful post, I will be rooting for you your whole journey through…I’m thinking you’ll make it happen, God Bless!

  9. Your words are so true!!! I for one are so glad you are being serious! Your talent runs deep and it is time for you to give it all you’ve got!!! Proud of you!

  10. Thank god Jen, there is someone else out there who feels like me! I, like you, was drifting for much of my life. I wasn’t ever a fire(wo)man, a paramedic, trainer, but I have a list as long as yours doing jobs that I enjoyed at the time but never quite felt whole. I decided last year that it was my turn to make a go of all the things I loved. It has been hard along the way, trying to find my feet, but let me tell ya, the rewards along the way have been priceless. I still have a very long road to travel to reach my goal but I am blissfully satisfied everyday creating art. Now lets get some more of your work uploaded on RB and I will spread the word as best I can. The rest is up to you and always remember – ‘it’ll all be okay in the end – if it’s not okay – it’s not the end!’

  11. Thank you for sharing all of this with us! It takes a huge amount of courage to put yourself out there and be willing to risk trying, even if it means you might fail. As someone who has a “real” day job that is not my hearts calling, I enjoyed hearing your story.

    We are all here in your corner rooting for you and wish you much success! 🙂

  12. what a great post, so nice to learn more about you! i can really relate. i have a degree in fine art and in art education, but i did not pursue fine art because i did not want to be the starving artist cliche either. i tried teaching, but my heart wasn’t in it. i have wandered from job to job and career to career over the years only to come back to what i love most, being creative in whatever way i can. there is always time to pursue your dreams, keep following your heart…you are talented and creative, you will make it work – seriously!

  13. Reading your post, I am reminded of the movie Chariots of Fire, when Eric Liddell said that when he ran, he could feel the pleasure of God. When you create, I bet it is the same – as you do the thing He made you to do. Whether it seems that you succeed financially or not, succeed in doing the thing you were made to do! Praying this will be that year for you. . .

  14. I am happy for you Jennifer. FOllow your dreams in 2011, I followed mine in 2011 and so glad I did! Wow, you have done so much already. I wish you every success in your new venture – you have so much talent, you are sure to be a smash!!
    ALl my best to you!
    Mimi

  15. Jen I’m so happy that you are going for it! Pretty amazing what you have accomplished already! I have had many conversations with myself if I only knew then what I know now. I have a Business degree but it was never about doing something I loved it was just to survive. Thanks for being such an inspiration! Susan

  16. Wow…..thanks for that heartfelt story. A fantastic outpouring of your true desire and wishing you the absolute best toward your intention and I will meditate on road paving for your passionate dreams. Good luck and go for it!
    ~Pam
    pamspaintparlor.typepad.com

  17. We quit our jobs 10 years ago to follow our passion! We don’t always have a lot of money, we have what we need! But it’s the happiest I’ve ever been in my life! I enjoy being able to spend the whole day in a creative way and not have to punch the clock and give myself away to someone else! It takes a lot of discipline to stay on track, but I have no doubts that you can do it! I’m happy you’ve made this decision for yourself! You go girl!
    Theresa
    aka:tot

  18. Wow, you’ve already accomplished so much, Jen. I’m not an artist but I have definitely suppressed my artistic side for many, many years, with my schooling and now my professional work, so I’ve been working on reconnecting with this part of myself – I am so much happier now. Thrilled for you to be following your dreams!

  19. Thanks for the post. I’m glad to hear that you have a go at your dream. I think a lot of us have left their dreams behind, but never forgot them. So it is inspiring to know that some of us have a second chance at it. Good luck.

  20. You go girl! Don’t live your life and reach old age and ask yourself, “why didn’t I go for it?” just ask yourself right now “what am I waiting for?” You can do it!

  21. Great post! Sometimes, life just gets in the way… but it sounds like you’re tuned in and ready to GO!! Good luck, kick some creative butt!

  22. OH, Jen, what an amazing story! I just love that you are doing this and going after it with all you have. I’ve always said that you are an amazing talent and I am absolutely sure that you will succeed. I read this post out loud to my husband and it made me cry. All my thoughts are prayers are going to you tonight as you work in your little studio with the dirty socks and the canned goods.
    My very best,

    ~Angela~

  23. If only everyone could be like you, following their passions, and being serious to make it work, then we would have more happy people loving what they do…and I am speaking for myself as I sit here at a little cubicle, thinking of a million and one things I would rather be doing! I wish you all the luck in the world with your artisitc abilitie and endevors…I know you will rock it girl! you always do~ xo

  24. Ohhh, I loved reading this post!!!!! It had to be meant that you wrote this not only for yourself but also for me! I have been in quit a similiar situation as yours, and I am so miserable right now, and until I follow my dream, to be doing what I really love and enjoy, I will not ever be truly happy!!!!! I hope the very best for you, and good things do come to those who wait!!!! I hope you will be super happy soon, and are doing exactly what you love the most!!!!! GO FOR IT!!!!!!

    Michelle Torres
    decorater4life@aol.com

  25. I can so relate to this post. I did not pursue a degree or career in art because my dad I would never make a living at it. Now I am making money but realizing how much more I would have accomplished if I had gotten a degree, some training, instead of learning the hard way. Well, it’s not too late for me or you! It’s a good year for it. Write down your goals and strive forward!

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