Think about your life, especially the parts where you feel dissatisfied. Notice the things you are doing that make you feel fulfilled and happy and the things that make you feel depleted, even if they are necessary. Notice what makes you want to get up in the morning and what makes you want to move through your day. What makes you feel alive? What makes the world a better place for you?
Now ask yourself how much or how often you get a chance to do those things. I know the realities are that you have to make enough money to put food on the table and take care of your responsibilities. I also know that what brings in money doesn’t always make us feel fulfilled and alive. If you can pull this off with your work, my hat is off to you. Keep doing that. If you don’t have something to look forward to several times a week if not every day, I challenge you to go out and find it.
Sure, there are times we simply go through the motions of our lives, doing the tasks that need to be done and feeling minimally effective. But when you find yourself doing that most days, it’s time to re-evaluate. Most of us know what makes us happy, even if we’ve let it fall by the wayside because we’re too busy. And most of us allow all the other things that people tell us are urgent get in the way of those things we enjoy because they don’t make us money or they’re just for fun, so they become relegated to the category of not-very-important. I say they are important, and maybe more important than everything else. And they are only as important as we make them.
Maybe you have a part-time job that isn’t lucrative, but makes you feel good. Maybe you volunteer at an organization that you feel makes a difference in your community or the world. Maybe you have a hobby or a sport you really enjoy. Maybe you like to write letters by hand and put them in the mail or play a musical instrument or garden on your balcony. Whatever it is that allows you to express yourself and feel great about being alive, do more of it!
If you are someone who hasn’t found your calling, keep looking. If you’ve outgrown what you used to enjoy, find something else or take the next step in your development. Enroll in a class that piques your interest, watch some youtube videos, ask to accompany your friends to the things that they do, pick up a book, ask someone to show you, join a meetup group. There are many ways to seek out new opportunities, and you don’t need to commit to anything that isn’t right.
It’s very easy to get caught up in the daily grind and to do all the things we are expected to do. It’s also easy to put off things that scare us or that seem less important to others. And every day that we allow ourselves and our interests to not be a priority, we are merely filling time instead of truly living our lives. There’s a saying that goes something like “You only regret the chances you didn’t take”. So take a chance, and do something you really want to do. You’ll be glad you did!