Do you remember what you wanted to be when you grew up?
My mom had one of those books that you fill out each school year with your teacher's name, your age, who your friends were, etc. Each year it also asked what you wanted to be when you grew up. In mine, I said I wanted to be, among other things, a mail carrier, a police officer, a model, a teacher, and a mom.
Obviously I missed the mark on more than a few of those. But I do remember that by about grade 7, I knew I wanted to work with people. Maybe in social services, maybe as a teacher. I had two different best friends at that time, and each one, in different ways, helped me to see that this was the path for me. That idea never really changed as I went through school, I was lucky. A lot of people don't figure that out until much later in life, if ever.
For many people, their job is a paycheque, not a calling. In many professions, especially the "helping professions" it's easy to distinguish the "paychequers" from those who really love what they do. In all professions, "paychequers" leave their job at the door at the end of the day...they don't give it a second thought once they are off the clock. For those who really love what they do, it's different. They go above and beyond what is expected of them and usually work more than what they are paid to...because they want to. And they can't "turn it off" at the end of the day. I remember, when I first started out in this field, I would be thinking about different clients and their situations around the clock...at the dinner table, as I went to sleep, even in the shower. I still think about work after 5:00, but I've better learned how to handle that.
This happens in every line of work. My husband is a mechanic and I can honestly say he loves what he does...he gets excited about it, he is constantly taking courses to keep current, he is willing to help anyone, anytime. He really loves fixing cars. To him it's more than just "fixing cars"...he cannot imagine doing anything else, and you can tell he loves what he does.
When my brother was little, I'm sure he didn't write in the same book every year about who his teachers and friends were. But everyone knew what he wanted to be when he grew up - it was the same every year. His response was always "a professional baseball player". In his mind, that was the only option, the only possibility. In fact, if you ask him today, at age 24 what he wants to be when he grows up, he just may give you the same response. He's not a professional baseball player. He has a great job as a licenced welder/fitter in Guelph...but he still plays ball.
Because baseball is his passion.
He cannot imagine his life without baseball. And anyone who knows him well, cannot ever imagine him not playing. It has been his passion since he was 4 years old. You can see it every time he plays and each time he plays, he gets to live his fantasy, just a little bit. He's not making the big bucks, he's not on TV, but he stil gets to do what he loves.
What's your passion?
Some people are lucky enough to get paid to do what they love. Some people can't. Some people have bills, and responsibilities and kids, and...life... and the way life has turned out for them, they needed to put their passion aside to take care of the here and now. So they work their job to take care of all that, but have something else entirely that they are REALLY passionate about.
Me? I do love my job. I love this field of work...it's full of opportunities, and possibilities. But, like any job, it has its ups and downs and there are days I need to escape - to do something else that I find relaxing, calming...something I am choosing to do because I want to, not because I have to. I like to write. I like to bake. I like to scrapbook. I like to garden. These things make me happy, keep me sane. Because I love to bake, I took cheesecakes to a family Christmas. My uncle's fiancee liked them so much she asked for 5 for their wedding in January. From there my cousins convinced me to advertise them on facebook and see where it went. Maybe I can take some of this to the next level. If I do, it's because I choose to, because I want to, and because I love it. But I don't have to. It's great to be able to do what you love, on your terms.
You see a lot of people now with little side businesses, in addition to their regular jobs.
Photography. Catering. Birthday cakes. Craft making. Graphic Design. Woodworking. Scrapbooking. Interior Design. Coaching. Singing. Teaching piano or guitar....the possibilities are endless. Sometimes people do it to make money, but they also do it because they love it. They get excited about it. They are passionate.
The idea when we were little was to do something we loved when we grew up - the world was a big, wide open place, full of possibilities. And it still is. People are re-discovering that. The specifics may have changed as you grew up...I can assure you I no longer want to be a model...but the general idea of doing something you love is still there.
Maybe you can't quit your day job to write a novel. Or paint a masterpiece. Or turn your kitchen into a bakery or a restaurant...or maybe you can. Everyone should have something that they LOVE to do...that they get excited about. If you get paid for it, even better, but you don't have to. It could be Volunteering. Mentoring. Yoga. Group Fitness Classes. Baseball.
The world is a big, wide open place, full of possibilities and opportunities...
What's your passion?
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