So I've been thinking of my dad this week. Of course I have--Sunday was Father's day.
My dad was a good guy. Kind of quiet and a little bit of a hermit, but clever and steady and responsible. He worked his whole life to support his family, and he couldn't wait to retire and live the life he wanted.
He never made it that far. He died of a heart attack in his early 60's, too young, too soon, too sad.
In the years since his death, I've often thought about how unfair it is that he gave so much of his life to take care of us, but didn't really get to do all the things he wanted to do. He didn't like his job--it sucked the life out of him. He was holding out for a some day that never came.
The tragedy of his death drove home a major lesson for me.
You should do what you love right now, because you might not be here tomorrow.
You hear it all the time. Carpe diem, etc. etc. But it's TRUE people. It is so true. Life is brief. Make sure it's full of what you love.
I'm not saying you have to quit your day job--though if you can swing it, I highly recommend it. What I'm saying is make room for your passions. How do you do that? Well, as I so often do, I have a LIST for you.
No Means No
There's this word. It has only two letters. The word is "No."
Say it with me now: "NO".
You can use "no" whenever you want to do the thing you love, and someone else wants you to do something else.
Practice in front of the mirror.
If you can't bring yourself to do it? Record someone else saying no. Carry the recording around with you. When someone tries to interrupt the thing you love, play the recording. Make yourself a sign and hold it up. I don't care how you do it. Just do it--and stick to it.
You don't have to be as selfish as me. You don't have to be selfish all the time. But for the sake of that thing you love, you must be selfish. You must find your time and place to do that thing you love, and then you must guard it more jealously than any dragon ever guarded it's hoard of treasure. The strategic use of no will help you with this. Also, turning off the damn phone. You don't have to answer it just because it rings. You don't have to answer your door, either, and you don't have to go to that all afternoon Candlelight Party when you'd rather stay home and bake a souffle. Guard your love selfishly, or others will trample it into the dust.
Give yourself permission--officially--to have what you love in your life. Write yourself a permission slip and hang it on the wall if you have to.
Need someone else's permission? Fine.
I, Michelle Simkins, being, according to at least one person on Twitter, the Queen of All, hereby grant (insert your name here) permission to do what (s)he loves. Furthermore, I forbid the placement of guilt upon his/her shoulders by herself or any other individual, living or dead, henceforth now and forever.
There. Feel better now?
Make a List
Make a list of reasons you should do what you love. Here, I will get you started.
If you give yourself what you need, even in small doses, you will be a nicer person.
You will enjoy greater mental health.
You will probably also enjoy greater physical health.
It's easier to get out of bed in the morning when you have a good reason--like getting to do that thing you love.
You will, very likely, love something in to being that has never been before. Something no one but you could ever create. It would be irresponsible of you to deny this needy world the fantastic fruits of your labor of love.
This list, of course, is secondary to the main thing--which is that you, by virtue of being alive, deserve to be happy. We all do.
Follow Your Bliss
So you don't think much of my authority to tell you what to do? Fine, ignore me. But you can't ignore Joseph Campbell, the amazing author of a whole mess of books on mythology. I'm going to leave you with this quote of his, from the interviews he did with Bill Moyers in the late 80's called "The Power of Myth". If you haven't seen the videos/DVD's of this series of interviews, you need to get your hot little hands on them right now and read. They are thought provoking, fascinating and inspiring.
Bill Moyers: Do you ever have this sense when you are following your bliss, as I have at moments, of being helped by hidden hands?
Joseph Campbell: All the time. It is miraculous. I even have a superstition that has grown on me as the result of invisible hands coming all the time--namely, that if you do follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in the field of your bliss, and they open the doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don't be afraid, and doors will open where you didn't know they were going to be.
|From Michelle's garden|
As this is the summer of bloggerly love, I am guest posting at Michelle's blog, so head on over there and check out my LOVE-ly post. ;) Have a wonderful day, everyone!