help i’m alive, my heart is beating like a hammer

sometimes i blog a lot. sometimes. today is one of those times…..some.

as mentioned a few times already, i am having a really difficult time choosing a career path. i tried to be a midwife. it didn’t pan out. i kept following the birth route and took a doula certification course, but have not become certified yet. i went to one of my best friends births as one of her doula’s and it was amazing and i thought that’s what i wanted in life, but i’m just not so sure anymore. i think part of it is that i’m scared of what i want. i really don’t know. for the longest time i’ve obsessed over the idea of having a career that would bring immense personal fulfillment. i loathe my job right now because it’s a job and nothing more. it pays the bills and gives me a massive headache the rest of the time. i feel trapped by circumstance. i am 30. i live on my own. i have a job that doesn’t make doing anything else very easy. i do not have a husband bringing home the bacon, as it were. i am 30. . . does anyone have any idea how much pressure there is for me to make a career decision!!? i mean, by societies standards the career part should have been signed, sealed and delivered by now. i should have toddlers running cirlces around me and a rock on my left hand. i should have a cabin at the lake and dogs to go running with in the morning. i have a dog, but i can’t even afford for him to live with me right now. i don’t want to complain and i don’t want to feel like my life is pathetic. i know that it is not. it’s just not what i want right now, although i suppose it’s hard for your life to be “what you want it to be” when you don’t even know what exactly you want.

in the midst of my daily career crisis i stumbled upon this blog entry: HERE

i feel like i am not alone. it gives me reason to give my head a shake. it gives me a bit of much needed relief. for now anyways….

here is the blog entry re-posted if you don’t want to visit the link provided above:

Bad career advice: Do what you love

One of the worst pieces of career advice that I bet each of you has not only gotten but given is to “do what you love.”

Forget that. It’s absurd. I have been writing since before I even knew how to write – when I was a preschooler I dictated my writing to my dad. And you might not be in preschool, but if you are in touch with who you are, you are doing what you love, no matter what, because you love it.

So it’s preposterous that we need to get paid to do what we love because we do that stuff anyway. So you will say, “But look. Now you are getting paid to do what you love. You are so lucky.” But it’s not true. We are each multifaceted, multilayered, complicated people, and if you are reading this blog, you probably devote a large part of your life to learning about yourself and you know it’s a process. None us loves just one thing.

I am a writer, but I love sex more than I love writing. And I am not getting paid for sex. In fact, as you might imagine, my sex life is really tanking right now. But I don’t sit up at night thinking, should I do writing or sex? Because career decisions are not decisions about “what do I love most?” Career decisions are about what kind of life do I want to set up for myself?

So how could you possibly pick one thing you love to do? And what would be the point?

The world reveals to you all that you love by what you spend time on. Try stuff. If you like it, you’ll go back to it. I just tried Pilates last month. I didn’t want to try, but a friend said she loved the teacher, so I went. I loved it. I have taken it three times a week ever since. And it’s changed me. I stand up straighter. (I’d also have better sex, if I were having it. The Pilates world should advertise more that it improves your sex life: Totally untapped market.)

Often, the thing we should do for our career is something we would only do if we were getting a reward. If you tell yourself that your job has to be something you’d do even if you didn’t get paid, you’ll be looking for a long time. Maybe forever. So why set that standard? The reward for doing a job is contributing to something larger than you are, participating in society, and being valued in the form of money.

The pressure we feel to find a perfect career is insane. And, given that people are trying to find it before they are thirty, in order to avoid both a quarterlife crisis and a biological-clock crisis, the pressure is enough to push people over the edge. Which is why one of the highest risk times for depression in life is in one’s early twenties when people realize how totally impossible it is to simply “do what you love.”

Here’s some practical advice: Do not what you love; do what you are. It’s how I chose my career. I bought the book with that title – maybe my favorite career book of all time – and I took the quickie version of the Myers-Briggs test. The book gave me a list of my strengths, and a list of jobs where I would likely succeed based on those strengths.

Relationships make your life great, not jobs.  But a job can ruin your life – make you feel out of control in terms of your time or your ability to accomplish goals –  but no job will make your life complete. It’s a myth mostly propagated by people who tell you to do what you love. Doing what you love will make you feel fulfilled. But you don’t need to get paid for it.

A job can save your life, though. If you are lost, and lonely, and wondering how you’ll ever find your way in this world. Take a job. Any job. Because structure, and regular contact with regular people, and a method of contributing to a larger group are all things that help us recalibrate ourselves.

So if you are overwhelmed with the task of “doing what you love” you should recognize that you are totally normal, and maybe you should just forget it. Just do something that caters to your strengths. Do anything.

And if you are so overwhelmed that you feel depression coming on, consider that a job might save you. Take one. Doing work and being valued in the community is important. For better or worse, we value people with money. Earn some. Doing work you love is not so important. We value love in relationships. Make some.


thoughts? feel free to comment!

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