Like What You Do; Choose What You Love

Like What You Do; Choose What You Love

What may appear to be a small difference between two things can lead to a significant difference in the ultimate enjoyment of something.

Examples that immediately come to mind include:

  • While a cup of coffee from Starbucks and a cup of Folgers are both coffee, there is a distinct difference between the two.
  • Nikon and Canon cameras both have obvious similarities, yet each has characteristics unique to each.
  • A Kindle and a Nook are both e-readers, but each has their distinct differences.
  • Liking what you choose to do vs. choosing to do what you like.

When I was a new mom I signed up to take an online journalism/short story writing course. I absolutely loved every moment of that course and should have kept my love for that in mind as I traveled blindly on the highway of life over the next couple of decades. However, since I already had my cosmetology license, it was more practical to find work in a salon and make instant money as I raised my children. Since money is an obvious necessity, especially while raising children, making instant money made sense and was the responsible thing to do.

As life passed by and the needs of my family changed, my boys’ dad worked, earning enough money to support our family.  I was able to stay home with my boys and provided daycare for a few children to supplement that income. While the children napped or during quiet times, when I could have been writing, I found myself whiling away the time by doing other things like cleaning up after a house full of children. Necessary? Yes. But I could have squeezed in a few minutes of writing throughout the day or after my children were tucked in for the night. Instead, I only thought about it.

As my children grew, I changed jobs to best accommodate their schedules. Never did I think to practice my writing skills by actually writing. Rather, I spent that time with even more dreaming of the day that I could write again.

As my children continued to grow, I survived through a divorce by working where I needed to in order to best accommodate my children’s schedules and to make instant money. It never occurred to me to actually write simply because I enjoyed it. Once again, I pushed that dream to the back of my mind for a later date when I would have the time.
That “time” never appeared as I continued my education for things that were more practical. Things I had a tendency at which to excel.  I took a medical transcription class not because I  loved to transcribe medical terminology, but because my typing skills were fast and accurate and because I wanted to work out of my home. That worked until life circumstances pushed me to get a job outside of my home.

When I landed a job in the legal profession and learned I had the capacity to do well at that, I decided to go back to school to receive my Associates of Applied Science in Paralegal Studies. It was a wonderful opportunity that made sense, because my job provided a  tuition reimbursement program, which meant as long as I maintained a 4.0 GPA the entire program was paid for with the exception of books. So, essentially, I received a free degree. It was something I did because I could. Not because it was my dream. And while that education is something no one can ever take away from me and something I can always use, it wasn’t what I loved. I liked what I did, but I didn’t choose to do what I love.

I liked what I did, but I didn’t choose to do what I love.

Since then, I work at a job that does not require that degree. A job that I truly like, nonetheless, but it’s a job that I chose, not a job that chose me.

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The difference is, in addition to my paying job, I now choose to write, the one thing that truly brings me joy. It’s something I’ve done–or dreamed of doing–throughout my entire life. Something that breathes air into my lungs and gives me life. Not something that takes my energy away, but something that gives me energy. And that, in turn, has breathed life into the job I do by day. And, hey, now that I’ve pursued my passion of writing, I even make money at doing what I love. Bonus!

It’s important to like what you do, but it’s critical to do what you love.

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The Joy is in the Journey

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We as a whole are a results-driven society.

  • We work so we have financial freedom, success, recognition, personal satisfaction, etc.
  • We raise our children with the goal of creating loving, responsible, productive people.
  • We create a date night with our spouse to keep the spark alive in the midst of daily chaos.
  • As writers, we write a set number of words (or minutes/hours/paragraphs, etc) to produce the finished product.
  • When reading a book, we often rush through it to get to the end in anticipation of what happens to the good guy/gal—or the bad guy/gal. (Or am I the only one who does that?)
  • We diet to reach a desired goal.

I could go on indefinitely.

While striving for our desired results isn’t a bad thing, if that’s our focus, we’re missing out on the process.

The process is where the gold is discovered. It’s in the process that we’re refined and made stronger.

It’s the process of achieving results that’s the teacher, showing us how to get from point A to point B while revealing the necessary seemingly little steps that eventually lead to the final result.

It’s in the process that we learn patience, perseverance, and self-control. When things aren’t going the way we’d planned, we learn to pivot as needed, taking the longer route if necessary, learning that our way isn’t the only way. It opens us up to bigger, broader horizons if our eyes aren’t stuck on the goal.

It’s in the process that holds the joy. Detours are often more scenic, more relaxed and enjoyable. We can either get to where we’re going by hurrying, scarfing down meals on the go, potty breaks only as needed, or we can sit back and enjoy the ride, take the time to taste exquisite cuisine, wander a bit in nature, getting to the same destination but with more to show for it.

Results are out of our control. Joy is not. Set your sights on the process and get to where you’re going joyfully.

It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.
― Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness

 

 

 

T.G.I.F. – Gratitude Friday

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Top of My List for the Week:

3.)  Getting a letter in the mail from Mamounata, one of my sponsor children from Burkina Faso. She has such a passion for learning, for Jesus, and is so filled with gratitude. She inspires me.

2.)  Seeing my son and granddaughter come through the front door, he with that amazing, genuine smile I have always loved so much, and she with that energy and zest for life that melts this grandma’s heart. Seeing him be such an amazing daddy is such a gift.

1.)  My youngest son stopping by to visit for the first time since he moved out,  getting to see and hear how well he’s doing, and watching him as he walked through the house remembering so many things. And that same son calling me early the next morning to let me know he re-broke his arm at work, was on his way to ER, and could I meet him there. No matter how old my children are, when they want or need me for anything, it’s such an honor to be able to be there for them.  The fact that it wasn’t broken at all, but a contusion over the old break, was a blessing in and of itself. 🙂

What are you grateful for this week? What tops your list?

“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”  -Marcel Proust
Carpe diem.

 

Healing Words

Today, July 8th, marks eight days of celebrating life, and each day hereafter, yet another.

A year ago, I posted a blog entry on life circumstances that have made July a very difficult month to get through. I had mentioned how each year I would find myself holding my breath just waiting for July to end, giving birth to August, and I never quite released that breath I was holding until 12:01 a.m. when August was fully born.

This past year has reaped so many blessings and stitched so many miracles through my silky web, that I feel like my soul has been given new birth. Not once have I measured the minutes in the day by the pain I’ve endured, by the “almost’s” that nearly happened, nor have I x’d out each day before it ended, eagerly waiting to ‘x’ out the next–and the next.

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I’ve traced the beginning of the real healing to writing. Writing has released repressed emotions, thoughts, and ideas that have led to newness and wholeness, and a brand new life.

Writing brings light when the day begins dark; when sadness strikes, it brings a glimmer a joy; it brings clarity out of confusion, and draws gratitude out of the simplest things; when isolated and alone it brings company through blogging friends and make-believe characters.

Writing pen to paper – or fingertips to keyboard – has facilitated healing and freedom from the traps the enemy has tried to catch me in. And what a blessing that is!

“It’s ironic that poets use words to convey what lies beyond words, that poetry becomes most powerful where simple language fails, allowing one to bridge the conscious and unconscious.” – Diane Ackerman, author and poet

This month, as I’ve mentioned in my post last Friday, my son was married, which brought joy to soothe a lifetime of pain. Chalk up another July bonus.

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The happy – and gorgeous – couple.

This is one happy and proud mama!

This is one happy and proud mama!

And now, my friends, it’s back off to Camp, another July bonus, where I’ll be mixing fun with healing in one neat little package. Well, okay–I guess it could turn into one sticky little package if I get carried away with the marshmallows and s’mores. And what is camping without that? 🙂

Back off to the wilderness.

Back off to the wilderness.

All truly is grace.

Weekend Quote

“The way to happiness: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry. Live simply, expect little, give much. Scatter sunshine, forget self, think of others. Try this for a week and you will be surprised.”

-Norman Vincent Peale

Norman Vincent Peale

Have a Happy Day! 🙂

TGIF – Gratitude Friday

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Top three things I’m especially grateful for this week:

1.)   A good report from the Hematologist after more than a week of needless worry. Amen!

2.)  Taking a nature walk after said news, my heart filled with renewed appreciation for my health, and noticing the little things that bring me joy, like two prairie dogs (yes, I know they’re rodents, but so darn cute), one chasing the other, jumping on him and rolling together in one tangled ball, disentangling and starting the game over again.  And over.  And over… 🙂

3.)  After “studying” gratitude for as long as I have, coming to the realization it’s not a feeling, but a choice. And that’s GREAT news.  We have control over our choices, but not always our feelings.

Please share your gratefulness this past week in the comments section. 🙂

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Have a beautiful day!