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Manila, Philippines – A is for awkward
Family reunions are terribly awkward for me. I don’t know about you, but hearing my relatives ask me repetitive questions like if I’ve gained weight or if I’ve finally started to exercise bothers me no end.
Even if these questions are bothersome, at least I can still hold myself together. I can’t say the same for this One Question, though. This One Question that reduces me to a stuttering penguin – this One Question that is so confusing to me and makes family reunions even more awkward for me:
“So, what do you do again?”
“What do you do?” is such a weird question for me because I simply can’t find the best answer to it.
Let me give you my background: I am a nursing graduate with a nursing license. My first job involved marketing and entrepreneurship. And my current job? I’m a self-employed professional writer.
What? Then I should just tell you I’m a writer, you say?
Believe me, I’ve tried telling people that. I’ve tried every possible statement that I could think of:
I smiled and demurely said I was into business: You don’t wanna go abroad?
I used to tell them I was handling marketing: But you graduated as a nurse!
I said outright that I was busy writing. At home: Oh poor you, low income only?
I told them I was providing compelling content to small-to-medium enterprises abroad: Ah… You want some palabok?
So I’m a nursing graduate with experience in marketing and entrepreneurship who currently writes for a living.
Mismatched? My friend, I’m not a pair of socks.
Confused? Hey, I know exactly what I want.
What am I, then?
I’d like to say I’m enlightened.
I’m enlightened because I don’t believe in going abroad, in working 60 hours a week, and in getting yelled at by your boss just to earn money. Wasting your life away by working at a job you hate to get money just to impress people you hate? It sucks.
I’m enlightened because I don’t believe in sacrificing your hours away from your family just to provide them a “good” life. What’s the purpose of “making a living” if you’re not living your life with the people you love?
I’m enlightened because I don’t believe in pursuing a career just because most people think it’s the best path for me. It’s my life. It’s my terms. It’s my call.
In fact, you know what I’d really like to tell my relatives when they ask me what I do?
“I’m busy living the life I want.”
It’s as simple as that!
B is for balance
It’s such a shame that balance seems so elusive nowadays. Living a balanced life seems unheard of. When you say you can earn money, bond with your loved ones and do what you want – all at the same time!- people look at you with venom in their eyes.
I understand. After all:
- You can’t go to your lola’s 80th birthday at Boracay because the HR department didn’t approve your leave.
- You can’t receive a high income yet because you’re still “underaged” and therefore “underqualified” even though you’re “overworked.”
- You can’t pursue your love of drawing because your parents think you should be employed in the hospital or in the office instead.
With all these frustrations, insecurities and disappointments, how can you possibly live a balanced life? How can you wake up brightly, drink tea, prepare your loved ones for school, earn money and work on what you love at the same time? (Note: I strongly believe that I’m living a balanced life. Please don’t look at me with venom in your eyes.)
C is for choice
You’re not a kid anymore. Make your own choices.
But you have a choice: you can either let things happen OR make things happen.
I choose the latter. I choose to make things happen. I choose to live the life I want.
And you know what? If I, a neurotic and hesitant penguin, can do it, then you can too.
You can succeed in living the life you want. You can gain profit from your passion. You can maintain a balanced lifestyle.
Just choose to follow these seven daring tips:
1. Pinpoint your passion.
If you could do one thing in your life, even if you don’t earn money from it, what is it? What makes your thought engines hot? What are you excited about doing? If you have a billion dollars and you don’t need to work anymore, what would you rather do?
Is it baking? Dancing? Sewing? Giving (wholesome) massages? Singing? Rapping freestyle? Composing songs? Drawing? Learning languages?
Chances are, if you’re committed to doing it and if you’re actually good at it, then that “it” is your passion.
2. Place your purpose.
You can’t live on passion alone. You have to know your purpose in fulfilling that passion as well.
This purpose, or Life Dream, is larger than life itself. It’s bigger than you and me. It’s almost like divine intervention calling out to you to achieve it.
Your purpose is your legacy. It’s your contribution to the world, and to actually making the world a better place.
Bake pastries for battered wives. Dance to communicate God’s love. Sing for the abandoned elderly. Teach the alphabet to children who have no recourse to education.
Use your passion to reach your purpose. Aim to touch lives. Profit will come.
3. Recognize the risks.
You know full well what the risks will be: your relatives will mock your choice, your friends will think you’re delusional, your mind will think negative thoughts and you will experience famine periods wherein your income will be lower than your expenses.
Don’t let all these stop you from pursuing your passion and living the life you want. Just list all these risks first so you can produce an action plan.
4. Produce your (imperfect) plan.
You know what the risks are – prepare for them in advance.
You know what your passion is – what steps can you take to fulfill your purpose?
5. Act. NOW.
Before pursuing your passion, set up a security cushion first by preparing for your risks in advance: don’t let go of your full-time job yet, set up an emergency fund first, talk to your loved ones about what you plan to do, among other things.
You need to offer your passion for free to fulfill your purpose. You will start with small but fruitful activities: offer to bake for nonprofit organizations, give dance lessons for free, volunteer to tutor.
You need to show them first what you can do. Have the patience to persevere.
6. Fail forward.
You will fail. You will hate me for writing this article. You will feel discouraged to continue.
Remember what Harvey Mackay said: “Nobody said life would be easy, they just promised it would most likely be worth it.”
Learn from your mistakes. Cry. Stumble. But always fail forward.
7. Progress and profit.
It’s going to be a while but you’re going to reach this step soon. If you’re doing the right thing for the right purpose, the right people will find you.
Do what you love. Love the people you’re doing it for.
And, yes, this is where profit says hello to you too.
Life is too short to wake up with regrets. Everyone is scared. The most important thing is to get started.
Pursue your passion.
Live the life you want.
You were sent here to make a difference. – Rappler.com
Lianne Martha M. Laroya believes in better days. She founded The Wise Living to educate fellow 20-somethings on money management and early investing without boring them to girly tears. She loves to hear from you. Connect with her on Twitter @MsLianneLaroya!
Happy woman enjoying sunset photo by Maridav from Shutterstock