4 Ways to Get a Job You Won’t Need a Vacation From
Hint, it starts with this thing we call “purpose”…
Do you live every day to the fullest?
I’ve spent years plucking away jobs, activities, and people that suck the marrow out of my life. Why? I’ve seen one too many people I love wither away into a sea of despair — spending their lives doing what they thought they should do rather than doing what they love.
After devoting their whole “working lives” to their jobs, both my parents (Baby Boomers), and grandparents (the Silent Generation) retired into a state of purposelessness, despondency, and depression. Sometimes by watching those we love spin into a state of discontent, we learn what not to do.
Passion feeds our spirits. Without it, we are just subsisting.
Life is short. It took me the loss of a sister at the age of 20 to really get it. The sudden loss of someone 18 months younger than me tattooed the message, live every day to the fullest into my soul. I was just as I was about to graduate college, where I was being groomed to prepare for what we Americans call the “job market.” My sister’s death completely shifted my perception of life — and the idea of “work.”
Instead of jumping into an entry-level office job like most of my peers, my fresh college-grad self worked for a world goods store, took up yoga and ballroom dancing, and spent a few years finding myself in cross country travels. My Baby Boomer parents thought I was out to lunch, but I felt like I was on a mission: to find my purpose. Within a few years, I wasn’t alone in my mission; my peers who started entry-level jobs started leaving their jobs and having babies, opening businesses, going back to school, teaching English abroad, starting travel blogs, and oh so many more purpose-driven missions.
In 2005, four years after I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in English and Psychology, I went to Vancouver, British Columbia to study yoga for three months. Just before 2006 hit, I flew back into the US with a new perspective on my life; I felt a sense of purpose. I’d learned more about myself in three months than I had in four years of college. Blame it on living solo on a tight budget in a new country and mind and body opening yoga practices — or just embracing the fact that perhaps I will always be finding my purpose. Perhaps once we dedicate our lives to our souls, our purpose continues to find us.
“Purpose” isn’t about the destination; it’s about the journey.
Many Generation X, Y, and Zers know that “retirement” may be a thing of the past. Social security may become obsolete by the time I’m ready to call myself a grandmother. Lifelong jobs have become a thing of the past.
Perhaps the newer generations don’t have commitment issues, we have life purpose issues.
My yoga certification led me to entrepreneurship. I got a DBA and started out teaching yoga both as an employee and private contractor for local businesses, studios, fitness centers, and even out of my own living room. For a few years, teaching yoga felt like my sole purpose. But eventually, my purpose called me to learn Reiki and Reflexology, which I eventually added to my private work with clients. 10 years after I thought I found myself as a yoga and Reiki teacher, I submitted my first story to Elephant Journal. Becoming a published writer sent a new zingggg of purpose rushing through my soul. My writing opened up a Pandora’s Box of unresolved emotional wounds that led me to seek out therapy. Therapy (with a wonderful therapist) spawned inner healing so intense, that it inspired me to pursue my Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling.
You could say finding your purpose is like playing dominoes. One purpose connects to another — from now until you die (if you commit to it, that is — but I’ll get to that in a bit).
One thing I have learned on the long and winding journey of “work” is that just when I’ve found my purpose, my true purpose finds me. And then it finds me all over again. I truly hope the purpose-finding never stops. I know it won’t. (And I don’t want to discount the Baby Boomers and Silent Generation folk that listened to their soul song and kept learning and growing and expanding. Every generation has their courageous souls that aren’t afraid to live life to the fullest.)
Committing to your purpose takes courage.
Being born in the past four decades doesn’t make you a purpose seeker. Something (for me, my sister’s death) or someone had to light a fire up inside you and tattoo those words,
live every damn day to the fullest
into your soul. Those soul-tattoo moments are often as painful as they are transformative. They require us to muster up every last ounce of faith that we have in this journey we call life.
Life is precious and so is your time.
Your work (in my humble opinion) is an expression of you. Each action you make is as precious as the breath you take. One blessing of living a first-world life is having the ability to choose how we spend our time and earn our money.
Four things I’ve learned that have made my purpose find me:
1) If you get to choose, choose wisely.
“Wherever you are, and whatever you do, be in love.”
Yes, I am a hopeful romantic. (I once was hopeless, but alas, I shook Shakespeare out of my lovelorn soul). In my 41 short years on planet Earth, I’ve learned one thing: I always have a choice. Sometimes I can’t choose what I do (I worked as a janitor one summer after two months of job hunting), but I can choose how I perceive what I do. Learning to be in love with a job I hated just because it sounded so unromantic helped me learn to love cleaning my house and taking out the trash. There is a sense of accomplishment in clearing clutter and making an environment sparkle. I’ve brought my inner romantic into every job I’ve been handed (whether I’ve chosen it or not) since my summer as a janitor, and it’s made me not only appreciate the work itself, but the benefits the work provides me (the money to pay bills and afford entertainment, dining out, and even modest vacations).
2) Stop shoulding on yourself.
You heard me. Stop shoulding on yourself! I know I can’t make you, but eventually, the should’s, ought to’s, musts, and have to’s will start to dull your lifeforce. Eventually, you will start to tune them out. It’s something of a rite of passage for all purpose-driven souls. This where you find your true courage some call the authentic self. This is where you realize you truly are a snowflake — and, scary as it may be — you have to carve out your own path.
My shoulds led me to work a boring (yawwwwn a million times over) file clerk job six months after I graduated college. I passed out on my bed every day after work, out of sheer boredom. It took me almost a year to muster up the courage to say, “That’s enough of that!” By the time I quit, the frustration that boredom fired up in me made it easy to dim out the critical eyes that shoulded and coulded their unsolicited advice all over me.
When you stop shoulding on yourself, you stop letting others should on you too. You start tuning them out and start tuning into the one voice that matters at all for your own happiness: that little whisper of your soul.
3) If you’re saying to yourself, “Am I crazy?” when you decide to do something, then do it.
Well, 9 times out of 10, do it. I’m not talking about anything that will harm yourself or others. I’m talking about the stuff that will make you feel alive — all over. When I decided to go back to school as a single mom still struggling financially I thought I was crazy. It was a little insane to think of living on student loans and getting a roommate for two years. But I took the leap. I did it. And it was absolutely the right thing to do — for my soul. Two years into my gig as a therapist and I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. It’s the kind of work I don’t want days off from. (I know, now that’s crazy, right?).
Every purpose-finding decision I’ve ever made started with an “I’m probably crazy to think or feel this, but…” statement.
4) If you don’t want a vacation from your work, then you’re living your purpose.
Nuff said. When you’re doing you the way this magical universe made you to be done, then you will feel an aliveness that will make your soul continue to bloom. Perhaps this is what myths call the fountain of youth because as your soul expands, your human form emits that “I’m alive, so very alive!” glow. It’s the kind of glow that will make people want to say in a very When Harry Met Sally way, “I’ll have what she’s having!”
And you will say, “Oh no you won’t have what I’m having, honey! Mine is a one-of-a-kind sort of dish. You’ve got one too — you’ve just gotta find it. Good luck with that!”
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
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