I like to think that I'm continuously aiming to better myself as a writer, a reader, an eater but mainly just as a person so that I can be happy. You've all heard this line before: "There are two types of people in the world, those that..." The line begins the same but the variables are, of course, always changing. This is the line I have had running through my mind for many years:
There are two types of people in the world. Those that work to have money and those that work to find happiness.
When you're a writer or an artist, most of us don't seriously get into our field of study for the money and the fame, realistically, we do it because we care about our own happiness versus the money. Don't get me wrong, being paid well for doing something we love would be grand but that's not why we do it. I knew when I pursued a career in writing that it would, in essence, be in the foreground of my life. I all but expected it. I thought I would have a regular 9 to 5 job to pay the bills and write on the side to fill the void in my life with the happiness writing brought me. Five years since the first time I had that thought, my life is quite different from my expectations.
Since graduating in 2014, I've gained a decent amount of experience in my field. But no matter how much I accomplish, I fall into this pit that many adults are guilty of tumbling into where we're not proud of ourselves because every time we reach one of our goals and remain there for a while, we are no longer satisfied.
I have seen some old classmates of mine going on to do some incredible things and I find myself reevaluating my life, wondering if I've done enough. My mom always taught me to never compare myself to others. I am also a true believer in the philosophy that the only person you should be trying to be better than is the person you were yesterday. This is why I'm taking the opportunity to really be proud of myself for the small things. In the last two years, I have written for 2 major publications that I admire, I have had an essay featured in an anthology, I have been paid for my freelance work and I have carved out a life in which I can work from home full time. No, I may not have written the book I've wanted to, be well-known with a dedicated readership or even traveled as much as I'd like, but there's still time to do these things. I am happy for the small things because they weren't handed to me. Because I took risks, I leapt before looking and I'm happy because I have always tried and because I will continue to.
I am making a big change in my career, something I've been wanting to do for some time now but only got the courage to do a couple of weeks ago. I'm moving on from a job I didn't want to leave because I questioned what my value was without it. What my identity was without it. But we aren't our jobs. We aren't defined by our occupations. We are so much more and it's time that we appreciate our efforts instead of doubting our worth and if we are enough on our own. So I'm jumping, not knowing for certain if there is a net or mile high stack of pillows at the bottom to catch me.
I'm 26 but no matter how old or young you are, I hope you take the time to be proud of yourself and your accomplishments. Your opinions and feelings about yourself should carry so much more weight than those of others. Pause and pat yourself on the back for taking chances. For carving out the life that you have, no matter the ways it may stray from your dreams. There is still time to get where you want to go. Be happy.
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