May 25, 2012

a maybe-sort-of-obvious epiphany.

I've heard it a million times: Do what you love to do.

Time and time again, I've heard some variation of the phrase. Pursue what you enjoy, or, Make your hobby your career. The gist? Life's too short, so you should spend each and every day doing what you like to do in your free time. I couldn't agree more. And the truth is, I'm blessed — very blessed — to actually be a writer. To do every day what I love to do.

Lately, though, I've realized that the same principle should apply outside of work, too. For better or for worse, I tend to feel guilty when I slip into my comfort zone. I feel ashamed for not pushing myself more, for not stepping outside my usual routine. I'm a big list person — big on goals and improvement, big on trying new things — so sticking to my comfort zone has always translated to guilt. Guilt for not choosing a challenge, guilt for doing what's easiest.

Sometimes, if I spend hours reading, I'll feel bad for not being outside or seeing friends or doing errands. If I hop right onto the treadmill, sometimes I'll feel bad for not trying out that yoga class, for not taking a hike instead. If I stay in on a Friday night to write or tackle my stack of magazines or catch up on the DVR, I'll feel bad for skipping that happy hour.

Feeling bad, though, it's kind of exhausting. And recently I had an epiphany: Who cares? Seriously. Why not just do what I love to do and ignore the rest? Why bother feeling guilty at all?

It sounds a bit silly, of course, and it may seem obvious, but I think this is what life in your 20s is all about: Trying on different identities, trying out new things — and eventually realizing that you don't need any sort of "identity" at all. You already have one. You just do you.

(Photo: Mission Beach, San Diego | My Flickr)


Allie said... [Reply to comment]

I really really love this. "You just do you." That's the best.

Alissa said... [Reply to comment]

I slip into that exact same thinking! This morning I found the perfect quote: "There will always be people who don’t find you attractive. That’s okay, it’s not your job to be attractive, it’s your job to be the person you want to be." That's it, right? Just being ourselves.

Cassie said... [Reply to comment]

This post is so spot on right now. And needed, for me, so much.

I told one of my best friend's that I think I'm going through a "mid-20's life crisis." She just laughed but the more I think about it, I really am.

I need to figure out what it is I really 'love' to do. I thought by the time I became 25, I would have everything together but I don't.

Isn't that what is kind-of great about our twenties -- that time we still have to figure it out?

Thanks for posting this, Laura. Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

Haley said... [Reply to comment]

I love this. Thanks so much for sharing! I am constantly, I mean ALWAYS, feeling guilty about what I'm doing in my free time. I hate it and I know I shouldn't. You put things in perspective though and made it simple... do me. Thanks!

KT Mac said... [Reply to comment]

I'm so glad I'm not the only one who struggles with this!

Rachael said... [Reply to comment]

Love this.
These are words I needed to hear:)