Over and Over Again…

Are you freaking kidding me?

Do you ever feel like God is beating you over the head with the same message, over and over again?  And then, do you ever realize that He has been sending this message for some time?  And it’s purely your own stubbornness that is causing Him to need to beat you over the head with the message?

It happens to me all the time.

Today, I read this article in one of the blogs I follow:  The World Needs You to Do What You Love.

Seriously.

If you’re doing work that’s boring, you probably won’t make much of an impact. You might provide people with some amount of value. Enough to pay your rent, enough to get by. But you won’t be inciting change. And you certainly won’t be inspiring others.

If you’re doing boring work, chances are you do just enough to not get fired.

But if you do work that excites you, keeps you up at night, and fulfills you… you’ll do more. You’ll give yourself to it completely. You’ll put in extra time, more energy, more passion. Because it’s worth it. It’s satisfying.

At the end of the day you’ll think: “My time was well spent today.”

And in the comments: “Don’t ask what the world needs.  Ask what makes you come alive and do that.  What the world needs are people who are fully alive.”

Think about it.  If you need surgery, do you want a surgeon who wishes he were a librarian?  Or do you want to get your hair cut and colored by someone who wishes she were a gardener?  Do you want to go to the bank to get a loan and work with a banker who wishes he were a dancer?

People shouldn’t want their kids to be in my class.  They should want a teacher for their kids who really does want to think, read, and talk about teaching on the weekend.

All that being said, it’s okay not to do something you’re passionate about for money.  What I pay the bills with and what I live for don’t need to be the same thing.  I’ve said that before.  However, if you can combine what you’re passionate about and what you’re paid to do, then you can spend all your time and energy on what you love.  Doesn’t that sound wonderful?

An intriguing comment from Jodi Picoult’s FAQ page:

How do I know if I’m a writer?

Oh, you’d know it. Real writers can’t sleep because there are stories batting around inside their heads. Real writers create characters they weep over, because they are so real. Real writers can’t NOT write. I think you can make a person a better writer technically by having him/her attend workshops and creative writing programs… but I think that at the basal level, writers are born, not made.

“Real writers can’t NOT write.”  What can’t I NOT do?

“It’s never too late.”  How often do we hear that?  It’s never too late to change, it’s never too late to find the person you’re supposed to be with, it’s never too late to do what you love, etc.  So I suppose it’s not too late, if I really don’t want to be a teacher.  But it sure would have been easier if I had figured this out about eight years ago.

No.  It would have been easier if I had listened to my instincts eight years ago.

My darling friend Christine noticed last night that I “looked sad.”  I had been at her house for several hours, and lots of other people were there too, and she mentioned that even seeing me across the room, through all those people, she could tell I wasn’t happy.  Now, Christine is incredibly perceptive, but still.  I wasn’t talking or thinking about work, I was having a good time, and yet it showed.  It struck me.  And I realized that I am just not myself these days.  Despite the fact that I was having a good time, that heaviness was there.  Finding myself on the verge of tears, or more, every day, isn’t like me.  There are a few things that are not like me.  My apartment is messier than usual.  (Might seem trite to you, but in my experience, the state of my apartment reflects the state of my life.)  Things I do care about are getting neglected.  At the end of a day of work, I want nothing except to come home and watch t.v., escape into the lives of the fake people.

Of course it shows.

I’m not exactly doing just enough not to get fired.  But nor am I satisfied.  Nor am I thinking at the end of the day, “My time was well spent today.”

I think for me, the first step is to get in the habit of being brutally honest with myself.  Big changes are scary.  Big decisions are shied away from because it’s intimidating to move away from the status quo.  The current situation is working for me, in a lot of ways.  If I change something, I will have to figure out how to make something different work for me.  So it’s sometimes easier to shove the truth down, when it comes up.  To sugarcoat what I really think, to justify not changing anything.

Brutal truth:  Making choices based upon what would be best if I get married and have kids, when I am not married and don’t have any kids, is not a good reason.

Brutal truth:  If I were married and had kids, having this job would make me a worse wife and mother, because it isn’t right for me, so it’s sucking the life and energy out of me.  When I come home, I have nothing left to give my apartment or my dog, much less a husband or children.

Brutal truth:  If I am not going to get married or have children, I need to find other reasons to make my choices.

Brutal truth:  There is no way to know what the future holds.  All I can do is make choices based on what I know right now.

Brutal truth:  This job is not right for me.  Teaching preschool wasn’t quite right for me either, but it was good for a “pay the bills” job that allowed me to do whatever I wanted.

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