This post is a long, wordy, self-discovery thread in which I reveal more about myself than anyone likely cares to know. It’ll probably be boring. Feel free to click away now, I won’t be offended. 🙂
I wish I would follow my own advice. Really, I do. See, my simple advice to everyone is a two step process:
- Figure out what you love to do.
- Do that thing.
I don’t mean that in some existential, universal happiness, hippy circle, kumbaya crap. I mean your career. Your job. You daily doings. The thing you spend most of your life doing. That thing.
For me, it’s taken 35 years to figure out what it is I love to do. For a long time I thought it was working on computers. I’m good with technology. And I enjoy technology. But it’s really not what I love. Shocked? Don’t be. I like bagels and cream cheese too, but I don’t want to have a career of eating them. Computers and technology are things I enjoy doing, things I understand, things I have an intuitive ability to fix. That doesn’t excite me when I wake up in the morning though. I don’t ever want to go to work in the morning.
Over the past few years, I’ve had the opportunity to work at Linux Journal. It involves computers, technology, and allows me to write. I love writing. I really do. For the past few years, I actually thought it was writing that was the thing I should be doing every day. I actually do wake up in the morning thinking about writing. I love writing. In fact, writing allows me to fill that need deep in my soul that truly brings me a wellspring of joy.
But honestly, writing isn’t “the thing” I love.
This was a confusing revelation for me. When I write, I can feel fulfilled, totally. It does give me that soul soothing comfort everyone hopes to get from their job. Yet, I struggle to keep a diary. If writing were really my ultimate passion, a diary or journal would be like my own little crack pipe. But it turns out that I really don’t like to write in a journal. Because no one reads it. And that’s when it struck me.
I like to entertain.
For a long time, I told Donna that more than anything in the world, I like to make people smile. And I do love to make people smile. But like writing, it’s just a tool for my ultimate passion. Entertaining. That may sound hokey. It may sound like hippy circle, kumbaya crap — but really, entertaining people is my passion. It’s taken me 35 years to figure that out.
So now I’m stuck in a rough situation. I know what I love. That knowledge is powerful, it really is. It’s freeing. It’s fulfilling. It’s awesome. Unfortunately, my life is no longer all about me. I have a family that I deeply love and care for. In fact, I love my family more than I love myself. It’s true. I’m not upset that I have responsibilities that prevent me from “following my dream” right now. I’m thrilled to have a family to care for. So I choose to work in a stable job that provides financial stability for those I love.
If that job proves to be detrimental to the happiness of my family, however, I have no reason to stay. See, money and health insurance are important, but a father and husband is even more important. If the stress of my current job is killing me, and making me a father I don’t want to be, I can quit with the confidence I’ve done the right thing. That, my friend, is some powerful knowledge.
So I leave you with this:
- Know what you love.
- If you can, do what you love.
- Don’t let what you’re doing change who you are.
The last point is important. Remember who you are, and who your family loves. Don’t let a bad career choice change who you are. If you do, you kill the person your family loves, and become a poor substitute. I’m working hard to make sure that doesn’t happen to my family, I urge you to do the same.
Life is too short. Carpe Diem. Trust me, it can be gone in the blink of an eye. Live your life to the fullest, please.