Monday, June 1, 2015

Love What You Do: Finding Your Pure Joy

Do me a favor.  Take a minute and think about what your hobbies were when you were a kid.  Do you still have the same hobbies as an adult?  I had a sticker collection that I was obsessed with when I was a kid.  Which, when I think about it, is possibly one of the lamest collections you can have, but I digress.  I'll admit that even though I enjoy playing with stickers with my daughter, I'm not about to start a collection of my own as an adult.  But think about what I was really doing with my sticker collection.  I was taking all those random stickers from various booklets, rolls, sheets and organizing them into a central and structured location.  The core idea of the hobby I enjoyed as a child has a lot of similarities to what I'm passionate about today.  The practice may have changed but the core passion is still there.

For some people, transforming a childhood hobby into something they can enjoy as an adult is a little more straightforward.  You loved cooking and you still love cooking.  But if you haven't figured out what you are passionate about as an adult, how do you go about figuring it out?  Especially if you want to try to take something you love doing and try to get paid for it.

I was visiting my family in Colorado earlier this year and stopped by to say "Hi" to my sort of dad.  What is a sort of dad, you say? Well, he isn't technically my dad.  He never ended up marrying my mom after 12 years of dating, but he put in the time.  He was at each football game that I cheered at and every single choir concert.  He remembers all of my friend's names from elementary school to now and even emails with some of my them.  He has earned the title more than most.  The only reason I hesitate to call him my dad without the 'sort of' is because a lot of people know my dad was sick and passed away so it can be a little confusing.  Again, I digress.

I was visiting my sort of dad and walked into his house to discover mountains of papers. I'd estimate there were stacks of opened and unopened mail from the last few years.  He is a super busy guy and paperwork isn't his strong suit. Most people would have given him some grief or maybe slowly backed out of the house.  What did I do?  I spent two days of our family vacation setting up a filing system, opening and filing his mail.  It was awesome.  I truly loved it and wished we lived closer so I could do more.  That's when it hit me that maybe I should be doing more with something I clearly enjoy and is helpful to others.  Maybe I could become a Professional Organizer. (That is a real thing, I promise.)  I'm hoping that this blog is my first step towards one day opening my own business.

When you think about turning a passion into a career, jobs like chef, dancer, artist or even professional athlete come to mind.  All either extremely competitive or careers that are hard to be financially successful.  But maybe you need to think about your hobbies in a more abstract way.  For example, let's say you love shopping.  What about shopping do you love?  Do you love searching and haggling for the best deal?  Maybe you should have a career that involves buying or negotiating.  Do you love matching colors and patterns to come up with the perfect outfit?  Maybe you could design for a living.  Or maybe you just love to spend money!  Trust me, there are plenty of careers where you get to spend other people's money. The key is figuring out what specifically makes you enjoy your favorite activities so much. 

Of course it isn't possible for everyone to drop their 9-5 jobs so that they can become a librarian (the dream!) but as Stephen King said, "Yes, I've made a great deal of dough from my fiction, but I never set a single word down on paper with the thought of being paid for it… I have written because it fulfilled me… I did it for the buzz.  I did it for the pure joy of the thing.  And if you can do it for joy, you can do it forever."  Time to do some soul searching.  Maybe you won't be changing careers anytime soon but hopefully you can all find out what brings you pure joy.

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