Friday Essay – Are you doing what you truly want to do?

Today’s meaning of life question comes from

Balboa Pier, Newport Beach, CaliforniaThis question made me pause.  As first glance I understood it as a very privileged kind of question.  Are you a dancer trapped in an an accountant? Are you a surfer trapped in a banker? Are you a funeral director trapped in a clown?  Are you able to spend most of your time doing something that makes your soul sing? From my perpective the answer often comes from a place of privilege – quit your boring job and do what you want!  For lots of reaosn most of us are unable to do that.  Often we’re told to be grateful for what we do have – even if your job is sucking the life out of you, be grateful you can pay the rent and put food on the table.  We’re also often led to beleive that what makes your soul sing should be what puts food on the table. I have found that these scenarios don’t necessarily ring true for me.  I have taken jobs that did not make my soul sing but let me manage my personal life in a way that made sense at the time.  I have turned beloved pastimes into jobs only to find that the money or the day-to-day stuff made me fall out of love with it.  And, I have found activities that make my soul sing that would not keep me fed no matter how many hours a day I worked at them.  So, I’m going to answer this question a bit differently than perhaps expected.  Right now I am, indeed, doing what I truly want to do.  I work at a job that uses my skills and education, it pays well and has great benefits.  I live and play and love and work with a man who supports my art.  He pushes me to do think differently and dream bigger.  I otherwise spend my time making art, being with friends and family, serving my congregation and making plans for an even more exciting and interesting future.

I read a wonderful book a few years ago called ‘The Element’ by Sir Ken Robinson. He is a world renowned educator who delivers amazing talks (I’ve seen him in person twice – once I travelled across the continent to hear him speak) about education and learning and discovering and creativity and all manner of wonderful things.  Anyway, the book is all about being in one’s ‘element’ – what does that look like when you are doing what you love and are good at?  what does it feel like?  There is a lot in it about how the Western education systems (for the most part) do not encourage people to find their elements and I’m inclined to agree (I did travel across the continent to see him, remember).  One thing I remember him addressing was this idea that we ought to make money at whatever our ‘element’ is.  His conclusion was that sometimes that’s not possible but we should all be striving, as much as it is possible for us, to be living in our element.

So, are you doing what you truly want to do?  Are you in your ‘element’ as often as you can be?

Be Lovely to Each Other,