There are some people who live to work. I am not one of them.
I’ve tried to follow the commonly quoted advice of following your passion and make money doing something you love, meaning you’ll never spend another day working. That hasn’t gone so well for me.
My first job after university (I was privileged enough that I never had to work before that to support myself financially) was in retail, then I eventually got into teaching English as a foreign language. Retail gave me no satisfaction really: it was just a means to an end.
When I first started it, I thought that teaching English might be the thing I would fall in love with and would become a source of joy and satisfaction, taking centre stage in my life as my one true passion. After five years, that never really happened.
I certainly had plenty of great experiences because of my work teaching: it allowed me to become deeply familiar with Austria, a country which I appreciate and enjoy visiting, but would never want to live in. It also let me live in Spain, and of course was the reason I met some lovely people who I’m glad to call friends.
Now, with my work as a freelancer, writer and blogger, there are definitely many things I appreciate about it (despite its downsides), and there are many different aspects to this work that I enjoy and find satisfying…but I still don’t think they represent my passion clearly.
Don’t get me wrong: I do enjoy creating and maintaining this blog, writing for other sites and doing various other random jobs, but I don’t think it’s where the thing that I am most passionate about lies. And I’m just now realising that maybe that’s OK.
What I continually find compelling, motivating and exciting is people. Seeking and maintaining connections with people that are ongoing, meaningful and mutual is something that I find a constantly rewarding. My relationships mean a lot to me, and I value my friends highly. My relationship with Zab is something I am continually grateful for, and I try to remind myself of that every day.
(Sidenote: we’ll have been together 11 years next month!)
All that being said, there are times when I wonder if I am too emotionally reliant on other people and lack the ability to deal with my feelings by myself. But that is perhaps a story for another time.
Of course, I’m aware that this realisation of where my passion lies doesn’t necessarily fit with the model of following the thing you’re passionate about and making a living from it. For now at least, I’m happy with the fact that the way I make money and my passion for people are not overlapping. Instead, I’ll continue working on my various projects and spend my free time dedicated to what I am really passionate about: my friends and other relationships.
You see, in my utopia, money does not exist (see Star Trek), people are free to create things for no other reason than because it gives them and others joy, and there is space for relationships to be built, maintained and expanded based on shared interests, mutual appreciation, respect and enjoyment of one another’s company. And eat ice cream. Obviously.
Wanna help me achieve this together? Let’s be friends.