Work should not eat your life away and make you miserable.
And yet, many, many people buy this as the truth. Loving what you do, being happy with the job you have isn’t important. Making money is what matters.
How come we believe this? Because it’s “the way it’s always been” and “the norm” and similar bullshit claims.
Once upon a time, humankind was like the rest of the animal kingdom. We lived to survive. But we were gifted with abilities that allowed us to live ANYWHERE on the surface of the globe, to adapt, and develop tools and technologies that gave us some incredible advantages.
This did, in the process, create new and artificial divides along the way — as people emerged to “lead” and take control. While merit is not something to be ignored — some people have skills that others don’t — no ability makes one person any better than anyone else.
Yet the idea of haves and have-nots, worthy and unworthy, strong and weak permeate our society. Rather than empower the people — much of our leadership cares only to empower themselves. One way they do that is by maintaining the artifice of our “status quo.”
I don’t know about you, but the pandemic and ongoing insanity surrounding COVID-19 have proven that the “status quo” isn’t. The way we have done things must change.
Some people have been deeply impacted by the pandemic. That’s destroyed some — but helped others to rise.
Many are seeing that the things that they love, and love to do, matter far more than the hours they spend somewhere that makes them miserable in the name of earning money.
Why shouldn’t I make money doing something I love?
The things that I love to do — and that I could turn into a career — have never been the easy paths. Nor, frankly, the standard money-making career choices.
In high school and the beginning of college, it was theatre. Sure, I was an actor from time to time. But more than anything I loved directing. My college degree is in theatre. And I very nearly failed directing because my professor and I held diametrically opposed beliefs in what a director is.
To make it in theatre you must eat, breathe, sleep, and live it. And to get anywhere as a director you have to come up from stage management or acting — or start your own company. I found this much less appealing in trying to make a living of it than I thought it might be — and left theatre mostly behind after college.
I loved working on the college radio station. Every week I did a minimum of three shows, and sometimes six or seven. I got to work one summer and one holiday break for money at the college station to keep it on the air. It was amazing.
But — I couldn’t get a job in a low market in Upstate New York. Relocating to somewhere in the middle of nowhere, USA, held no appeal to me. So — I left radio behind after college.
For two decades, I tried to find more normal office-type jobs to work. Over the years I have worked as a paralegal, admin assistant, marketing assistant, tech support, benefits administration, and customer service. While I was good at many of these jobs — they brought me no joy.
Mostly, I loved working retail for my friend. But multiple factors made this not a career option.
Eventually, my focus returned to my first love.
The words flow like a stream
I started writing when I was 9. Though I wrote for fits and spurts over the years after this — I always returned to it.
One of my very favorite things to do is either sit at my keyboard and create new worlds; write ideas and thoughts about my life in a journal; or share my philosophy and ongoing exploration of conscious reality creation, mindfulness, positivity, and other life lessons, inspiration, and self-helpery.
Some people find having to write anything a real challenge. But I love it. Writing is my happy place.
Thus, over the past five years or so this has been my focus. Why? Because why should I struggle to earn money doing something that makes me unhappy? And more than that, why should I spend the majority of my waking hours in such a pursuit?
If I’m unhappy more than happy, what do you think I’m attracting to my life? Consciousness creates reality, after all.
Where we are as a society today
That’s the part that’s the most daunting. So many people are convinced that the 9–5 workday is how it is. Period, end of story. What we have forgotten is that in the early 20 th-century labor unions fought to get regulations created so that breaks were instituted, workdays regulated, and safety for workers normalized.
Frankly, we take this for granted. Over the last century, since these were put in place, many of the bosses and business owners have sought ways to bypass them. Overtime, bonus incentives for longer work hours, contract gigs, and lobbying Congress for deregulation.
This has created some interesting paradoxes. One thing I believe COVID-19 has shown us is just how unnecessary the 9–5 workday is for most service workers. Hell, along that line, working in an office environment isn’t so necessary, either.
But because we haven’t got any form of Universal Health Care in the USA, and everything medical-related tends to be obscenely expensive — many have no choice. And so, people endure miserable work experiences so they can have minimal benefits that should be a right and not a privilege.
Frankly, NOBODY should go bankrupt due to medical expenses. Yet we eat the lies fed to us by corporate America that this is the way — lump it or leave it. Vast swaths of our government get money for their reelections and kickbacks — legal and skirting legality — that matter way more to them than the people they represent.
But I digress.
Until we start to demand better of our leadership — and take back control of our working environments — we must strike a work/life balance where we can be more in love with life than made miserable by it.
Do more things you love
As we enter the holiday season, we are inundated with messages of mass consumerism. Much of this is sold as “buy these things for the people you love” — or else you’re not a good and sufficiently loving person.
Rather than push the necessary precautions we should all be taking to combat COVID-19, business leaders, politicians, and other selfish, greedy individuals want you to have big gatherings and spending money (that you likely don’t have) on shopping trips and other things.
But this is not what love is.
Love is the people in your life, the things you do that bring you joy, and peace of mind. Self-love involves acts of self-care and finding and/or creating things that make you feel good.
Maybe you need to work a job that makes you miserable. I’ve been there. Frankly, I may need to return there if I don’t increase my money-earning ability via writing, editing, and other gigs I love to do. But if that is the case — you have every right to put more energy into joyful things than those that make you miserable.
I am not suggesting shirking job responsibilities or duties. What I am suggesting is shifting your focus so that you do only as much as needs be to do your job well. Meanwhile, put more focus and energy into the things you love.
Why? Because when you feel good more than you feel bad that’s what you attract to you. Like attracts like, whether you believe in the Law of Attraction or not. What’s more — I don’t know about you, but I would much rather feel good than feel bad overall.
Being mindful of how you are thinking and feeling helps you make choices to change your focus.
You deserve what you desire
Despite messages to the contrary — no matter who you are, where you come from, or what you do — you are worthy and deserving of good things for your life.
You are a worthwhile person. Love is a birthright — not something you need to earn somehow. Hence, doing the things you love at work and in life are not selfish or untoward in any way.
If you are more miserable than you are content with your life — ask yourself why. What is it that makes you feel this way? When you identify it — you open yourself to being able to change it.
No matter the mistakes you have made along the way, failures, fuck-ups, accidents, hurt you have caused (even some that may have been intentional — but you now regret), you are worthy and deserving of good things. Of joy.
Doing things for the love of them is worthwhile. You deserve to experience that more than having miserable and undesirably experiences. You have one life in this body at this time — why not live it as well, completely, and joyfully as you can?
Doing what you love is not selfish or in any way inappropriate. What and how do this look for you and your life?
Thank you for reading. I am MJ Blehart. I write about mindfulness, conscious reality creation, positivity, my creative process, and similar life lessons.
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Originally published at https://www.mjblehart.com on December 5, 2020.