How do you feel about your current position or role in life? Are you a student like me, eyes widening every single time you see the cost of books for the next semester? Do you feel unfulfilled at work or in classes that you have no interest in for your immediate future? Or do you constantly wonder, "What does this have to do with my life or future plans?" If you know what I am talking about, you may feel like you are wasting away doing things that do not truly matter to you. Or you are one of the many, cough, thousands who are constantly connected to chatter on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram/every other social media device ever created to distract the hell out of you known to man. Are you in it for the future? Do you truly love what you are doing right now?
Lately, I have come to the realization that if you do not love what you are doing, if you are not passionate in a certain area of your life, you will not be successful. (Note: A definition of "successful" may come up in a future post). The key to living a rewarding life is to feel accomplished and proud of what you are doing. I believe that enjoying what you are doing, and doing it well can bring you closer to happiness. Why is happiness so important? We all need motivation or something that drives us to get up in the morning and check the first thing off that never-ending to-do list. To-do lists and post-it notes are something that I live by so that I feel good about myself and what I accomplishing. On most days I can easily squeeze in a time for the gym, walk on the boardwalk, practice yoga, or to grab a cup of coffee at my favorite local cafe. These little snippets of everyday enjoyment are important to my personal happiness.
Before I go on and on about how seemingly "perfect" my life may appear to be, let me just say that it was not always like this. The quote, "Create your own happiness" could not be truer. Opportunities and rewards are NOT going to come knocking on your bedroom door waiting for you to answer while you lay in bed. (Well, sometimes they do, but that's not the point). In this day and age, you really have to get up and fight to get what you want. In most cases, it takes a longer, more difficult time to get what you really want if it is anything worthwhile.
Now let me tell you a little about myself. You would think I would start off my very first blog by telling you what I do or where I came from! First off, let me tell you that ever since I was 14 years old (yes, that awkward age when you are never pretty, skinny, or popular enough) I was strongly interested in all of those low-quality teeny bopper magazines that told me how to dress, act, and talk to boys all while looking so perfect and happy! (Note: I may be a little sarcastic at times). By the time I was 17, I matured a little bit more and became more interested in improving my self by reading Vogue Magazine, Glamour, People, W Fashion, and other health and fitness magazines such as Fitness Magazine.
This may sound cliché, but I would literally read everything in the magazine, front to back. Even the advertisements! I would sit in my chair, or my bedroom floor and analyze the pictures, the words, the models, etc. I was, and still am truly and deeply passionate about reading magazines that interest me. If you are one of those people that can go to the bookstore and pick up a magazine of your interest that totally blocks out everything in the surrounding area because you are so immersed and involved in it, then you may be like me :) I enjoy reading certain books too, but there was something about a short magazine article that really got to the point and changed the way I thought about things, for the better, to gain a new perspective on things.
I could go on and on telling you how my interest in magazine writing and editing evolved into something more meaningful. By senior year of high school, I was intent on joining an Excel class where I created my own fashion magazine with pictures, articles, and complex text. Would my high school self be embarrassed if I told you I would spend Friday afternoons and Saturday nights working on my stylish, yet completely fabricated magazine? I knew in my heart that my goal in life was to be a magazine editor at a top-selling and respectable magazine. It was even a requirement for the colleges I applied for was that it offered a Journalism major or minor. This was my passion.
Well, college was definitely a time to experiment for me. I missed the babysitting and working with kids that I so enjoyed during high school. I was an elementary school aftercare aid, babysitter, and a true silly and playful kid at heart. I adore the way young children laugh and how I feel when I teach a young child something new and exciting, such as such as an interactive book about zoo animals ! Their young precious eyes widen in pure excitement and awe at something they have just discovered. Who doesn't love that! After my first year as a strict black and white Journalism and nothing else major, I changed to a more colorful Elementary Education. This is what I thought was my true calling! It was like I was Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar that became a beautifully free butterfly!
Unfortunately, while attending college in Lynchburg, Virginia, I all of the sudden felt very out of place and uncomfortable in my current position. I closed up, I lost many friends/sorority sisters, and I became very depressed and unlike myself. You know why? Because I was doing something I did not want to do, something I did not feel passionate about. So I thought a change of place would change how I feel. I transferred to Monmouth University, West Long Branch, NJ and loved everything about my new unpaved path in life.
I hate to brag, but I had a beautiful apartment at the beach, great, fun roommates, I was working with young children at a local daycare, and most importantly, a loving and supportive family. I was involved in a very difficult, yet rewarding program as a double major: English/Elementary Education with an endorsement in Special Ed. I was the same major for about 2 years until the fieldwork experience in the elementary classroom became extremely demanding. Everything was so competitive, serious, and important to my career. I could not mess up and do something silly. I could not embarrass myself in a school full of bright, young, active children and educated professionals. I freezed up like an ice cold river in the middle of January in the classroom, I became uncomfortable, I was unlike myself again.
Why did this happen? Looking back, I was involved in something that I did not truly feel passionate about. Note that I loved to make children laugh and play with them, not teach them in a school setting. Why can't I just be a soccer mom already?! (Kidding!) I found that babysitting young children is very different than teaching in an elementary school. It takes time and experience to discover your inner desires and what you really, truly, deeply want to do with your life. You may even have to experiment with another major. You may have to be a super senior like me! What is the rush? I truly believe that everyone finds their role in the world at their own pace. So "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" - Mary Oliver
I hope that my story inspires you to do what you WANT to do, not what you can do, or what you HAVE to do. Focus on your career, not just a temporary or meaningless job.
If you are interested in this topic and want to learn more I recommend you read the following articles:
- "How to find a job you love" Bruce Kasanoff http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20130114142715-36792-how-to-…
- "Follow a Career Passion? Let it Follow You" Cal Newport http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/30/jobs/follow-a-career-passion-let-it-f…
- "Don't be a dreamer be a planner" Penelope Trunk http://blog.penelopetrunk.com/2013/01/11/dont-be-a-dreamer-be-a-planner…
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