How To Switch Careers – or How I Went From Massage Therapist To Writer

jumperI laughed out loud when my mother sent me my old school report cards some years ago. ‘He’s a daydreamer’, from Miss Publicover in Grade One. ‘He tends to look out the windows,’ from Mrs. Bolivar in Grade Three. ‘Doesn’t concentrate on the class, daydreams,’ from Mrs. Redmond in Grade Six. The same comment, over and over, from every teacher in every class.

Seems I was a writer from before I learned to read.

Since it wasn’t okay to disassemble the wall clocks in my elementary schools, my report cards didn’t say things like, ‘He loves to take things apart,’ or ‘He wants to find out how everything works,’ or ‘He’s always working with his hands.’ That was saved for my spare time – much to the detriment of our family’s bicycles. And my father’s antique radios. And a dead mole I found once.

Curious lad, that one.

I wrote a few stories. Good ones, even picked up an award or two as encouragement and confirmation. But it’s a funny thing about writing a good story – you have to have lived some life first. It wasn’t long before my well ran dry.

So I capitalized on my other great skill. I became a massage therapist.

What an amazing career choice that was. I got to work with my hands. I got to work with perhaps the greatest puzzle the world has ever known, the human body. Courtesy of the most thorough and most medically-oriented massage therapy training in North America at the time, I got to learn a fair deal about how we’re put together, and the myriad ways we can fall apart, and what I could do about it. I was working with my hands, and making people feel better, and getting paid for it. A pretty wonderful gig.

What about writing? It never died, just moved to the back of my mind. All the while I was learning more about people, and life, and myself, bits and scraps of stories were flitting through my head. Making stories was always my first great promise to myself.

And along about four years ago, my desire to be a writer knocked me on the head and said, ‘it’s time. Get to it.’

So I hung up my oil bottle. I picked up a regular job that would pay my bills and that I wouldn’t have to think about once I went home, and I started to write. It felt good. It still does.

Now I go to work, I come home, and I write. It’s a busy life, but every writer does it. It puts a smile on my face during the day, and I sleep well at night. Those are good indicators of a decision well made. And I’m making stories. Stories about a massage therapist to start with, which only seems right. You’ll be hearing all about it soon enough.

The switch was easy. Now, of course, the job is to make it work, every day. But I’ve got the skills for it. Seems I was pretty much born with them.

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Published in: on May 4, 2013 at 5:30 pm  Comments (1)  
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