Tag Archives: happiness

Do What You Love

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I’ve heard it said, that if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.  In essence this is true; but when it comes to the particulars of doing what you love, people (especially young people) often run into trouble.  The reason for this, is that doing what you love and therefore never working implies two things:

  1. You must, automatically, naturally, inherently, know what you love.
  2. Work is a bad/unhappy thing.

Let’s deal with the first problem first.  Knowing what you love. It’s easy to identify what you love when you’ve lived a bit; when life has involved more than school and an adolescent boyfriend.  When you know yourself choosing a love is easier.  But what of the young who’ve had their heads filled with the passionate words of tree-changers and change-your-lifers?  How are they to know what they love at eighteen years of age?  And will it be an eternal love, or just a short-lived passion?  At eighteen, life is still the great unknown. Of all that’s out there, how do you choose what you love?

When asked to determine what they love, or when told to only work at what they love, many young adults fall into a state of terminal indecision which, on occasion, leads to terrible feelings of inadequacy and sometimes depression.  Why?  Because they’ve yet to identify true loves and real passions. How, they wonder, can I not know what I love? The answer is simple; they just don’t.  Generally teens and young adults haven’t done or tried enough to know what they love.

Of late, this has been a hot topic of conversation between myself and my young people.  Finally, a solution occurred to me.  “You just have to try stuff,” I explained.  “Jeez, I didn’t know I hated being a secretary until I tried being one.  Sometimes you  have to get in and mess around a bit.  You have to know what you don’t like in order to home in on what you do like.”  That’s the thing, sometimes finding what we love doing, is simply a process of elimination.

Naturally, there are exceptions to this rule.  I have a very talented artist friend.  Her parents  (both of them) were artists and her grandparents, if not artists, were artistic.  She’s known all of her life, where her talents lay and I am inordinately jealous of the kind of security that must have given her as she grew and explored the world.

For the rest of us, we just have to figure it out.

Now, about work.  Work is not an innately bad concept.  It’s just something you have to do sometimes.  Sometimes, even what you love, can be hard work.  Parents know I’m I’m telling the truth.  We love our kids with an abiding passion, but there are days when we’d swap them for ten minutes of quiet and an instant coffee.

For me, writing is this way.  I love certain stages of the writing process.  In fact, I go so far as to compare the early stages of writing with the act of falling in love (you can read that particular rave here).  There are other stages though, that I would happily delegate.  The query/submission process is one.  The editing is another.  I realise these are important processes and I know they make the final product so much better and more valuable, but  honestly, there’s nothing fun about it.  It’s work; straight-out, flat-out, no-doubt-about-it, hard, grinding work. I live through the work so I can get back to the good bits, to the things I love about my job. I do the work necessary to make the final product perfect; to make it something I can love.

So here’s the lowdown on the whole ‘do what you love’ conundrum.

  1. You must actively seek what you love.  This is generally a process of elimination.
  2. All work requires that you actually work. If it didn’t, it would be called play.
  3. Parents: STOP telling your kids to do what they love.  Encourage them instead to do something.  When they hate doing that something, then encourage them to do something else.  This is what I like to call ‘failing forward’.  Eventually they’ll stumble upon what they do love then…Viola, the cliche becomes a truth!

In short, I think the cliche should say Find what you love and the work will be fulfilling…

Can I get a little support on that?
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The Review That Made My Heart Sing

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This review was written by Erin M, a young roving reporter for Youth Central at : http://www.youthcentral.vic.gov.au/ .  It truly did make me cry with happiness.

Originally criticised and mistaken for a novel that promoted teenage pregnancy, Mae-be Roses steps outside common conventions and addresses the tender topic of adolescent motherhood from the perspective of someone experiencing it.

Due to a negative response on the publishing front, Bloomer’s compelling story was turned down time and time again. The struggle to have Mae-be Roses published also reflects the attitude of the novel’s central character and her determination to achieve her goals, no matter how difficult.

Beautiful and deeply moving, the novel throws the reader into the mind of its seventeen-year-old protagonist, Mae Rose, as she makes the pivotal decision to inform those around her about her pregnancy.

We watch as Mae faces each trial as it comes, from discovering that her mother had also had a child as a young adult, to the highs and lows of her relationship and pregnancy and the unjustified assumptions of the community. Each event is described in such a manner that the reader has no choice but to relate to and empathise with Mae.

All Mae’s moments are left open for the reader to explore, whether they’re moments of strength, happiness, vulnerability or anger. Her passion is infectious and it is almost impossible not to feel as she does throughout the novel.

What is truly amazing about Mae-be Roses is its stubborn step away from the stereotypical depiction of a teen mum. Mae isn’t unstable, hasn’t suffered financial hardship and she isn’t hopelessly naive or a junkie, nor does she sleep around. Mae is just an average girl, a bundle of possibilities still learning about herself, her family and how to be a mother.

It is such a refreshing change to see this character beautifully portrayed as a new mother, not a defenceless teenager regretting her “mistakes”. Bloomer deserves much praise for her novel as she takes a formulaic scenario and manipulates it into a wonderful tale of discovery and love.

4.5 out of 5

Strange Days Indeed

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I don’t normally wear hats.  I like hats.  Hats generally suit me, but I don’t often wear them.  Yesterday I wore one of my favourite hats and on the walk between my car and the dentist’s office, I received three separate compliments.

“Nice hat!” smiled the strange man with the beanie.

“Love the hat.” The woman with the pretty shoes, gave me a thumbs up.

“Great hat,” said the old man with the cane.

Now none of these compliments were aimed at me, just the hat.  Interestingly, they made me feel great.

Today I was the reading helper in my daughter’s class.  One little girl piped up, “You’re Felicity’s mum aren’t you?”

“Yes,” I replied.

“You’re very pretty,” the little girl told me.

“Thank you,” I said.

Walking back from the school to my apartment, I contemplated the wondrous nature of children and how they say things like this without knowing the recipient of their praise at all.   Of course, I wondered whether she was just looking for a gold star from me but I decided to opt for a more positive outlook.

While wandering along, appreciating the day and my classroom experience, my path crossed with that of a man walking in the other direction.

“Gee you’ve got lovely eyes,” he said.

“Well thank you,” I replied.

We both kept walking. Me with a giant big grin on my face.

Now I’m new to this area and maybe this is some kind of local council initiative.  Maybe they conduct ‘pay a compliment day’, I’m not sure.  Here’s what I do know.  Those compliments made me feel good.  I fairly bounced through the door of the butcher on my way home, smiled at everyone in sight and texted my sister-in-law (who does my eyebrows) to tell her what a great job she’d obviously done!

I am not some svelte, six foot model wandering the street wearing designer clothing or perfect (any) make up.  I don’t get compliments every day, unless it’s on the meal I’ve cooked.  These compliments from random strangers, who had nothing to gain by paying them, truly made my day.  I know I’m not on my own in this.  Everyone loves a genuine compliment, so here’s where my thoughts went next.

This week is Mental Health Week (well here in Australia it is anyway).  I’m thinking that next year, one day during Mental Health Week we could institute ‘pay a compliment day’ or some such thing, where people should feel free to pay compliments to strangers (because face it, this is not something we normally do).

Surely in a world where we spend so much time being told about what’s wrong with our ensembles, our hair, our weight, our lifestyles, our everything; one day a year where we felt safe to say something nice to a stranger, wouldn’t be a bad thing.  If we lived in Bhutan, we’d top out the measure for gross national happiness, I’m sure.