I’ve been thinking about this idea of Self-Love. Society constantly tells us we must love ourselves. So I went on a quest to do just that a few years ago. However, this year, I am finding that there’s a thin line between loving yourself and being selfish. When I am juggling all the things that I am doing on a day-to-day basis, it’s hard to make time to check on others. I want to work on this more in 2016. I want to learn to find a balance in my life and among the people I care about. I feel like when we get so goal oriented, we forget that there’s people in the world who need a simple “Hello” just to know that we care.
Since it was easier for me to talk about this topic rather than type it out, I created a podcast for it. You can click the link below to hear it. The link will take you to my podcast page, feel free to follow it as well. Also forgive my sniffles I’m a little under the weather:
For the first time in a long time, I feel good about the direction God is leading my life in terms of my career. To be honest, I’ve fought it for a long time, and for the most part kept what I do a bit private, for the obvious reasons of professionalism, but what I am about to share needs to be written down, not only to help myself understand God’s plan but also to help and inspire others. Right now, with a new year looming towards us, I am reflecting on the growth I’ve made in my life and I am happy with it. This year has not been easy, it was filled with a lot of changes, some that I feared initially, but I am so excited for what’s to come, more so than previous years. The title of this post is called “Why I jumped off the Career Assembly Line.” I picked up a book recently, at Urban Outfitters (they have an eclectic book collection), and read a passage that talked about Assembly Lines in terms of your career.
Assembly lines, if you’re not familiar with the term, is a process by which things are progressively made in parts or work stations that add on to a sequence until the final assembly is produced. It reminds me of the car company Ford, which built their cars using the assembly line in the early 1900s. One station was in charge of putting the wheels on the car, the next station was in charge of placing the doors on the car, and so on and so on until finally the car was made. But the idea here is that the process is monotonous, ongoing, and straightforward. No change can happen or else the car won’t be identical to the others. The same can be said for my life (career wise), until I decided I didn’t want to be on the assembly line anymore.
The first time I made a drastic choice in my career, and decided I would jump off of the assembly line, commenced while I was in college. I started school as a journalism major and by my sophomore year switched to pursue a pre-law/political science degree. It was a huge decision, one that I still question, although I know why I did it. Journalism was my passion. I love to write; I can’t shake that trait about me, it’s a God given gift but my family wanted me to pursue a more stable career, so they told me, I should become a lawyer. I listened to them. I wanted to please them and so I did just that. I spent the rest of my college career, writing legal briefs, studying Constitutional Law in the library, and constantly on Lexis Nexis researching. As intriguing as the legal system was, I knew it was not for me. I didn’t get excited; I got anxiety. Literal anxiety. Now, as I reflect, I think it was a mix of knowing I was doing something unaligned with my purpose and being stressed by the course load.
My turning point came around the time when I started looking to pursue law school. I started visiting legal college advisors for some advice and direction on my decision to go to Law School. One asked me, “Law school is for people who’s really passionate about the law, why do you want to go to law school?” I gave a politically correct answer to save face, but deep down in my soul, I knew I was being fake. I wasn’t passionate about going to law school or the legal system, I was just trying to please the ones I loved most. One time I was asked this same question by another legal college advisor and I told her I wanted to help women as a lawyer. She followed up by saying “You do know you can help women without going to law school right? Besides, what do you do now to help women? Your resume shows you haven’t done anything since last year, while you were still in college.” She called me out and she was right. That day on the train ride home, I was excited that this woman had the balls to call me on my bluff because I knew, my life would change. I could do many great things in my career without going to law school, but how would I break the news?
The other day at my Weight Watchers meeting, Toni, our leader stressed the importance of finding things that you love and doing it. Based on our feedback, she created a list of things that we love to do or would like to do to have “Me Time”. The idea here is to use these ventures as a substitute for eating. See below some of the things we came up with:
Exercising/Going to the gym
Taking a new Class (Cooking/language/Sewing/Knitting)
House Work/House Décor/Pintrest
Taking a nice bubble bath/shower
Going to a museum
A lot of revelations came out of this meeting. For one, if you know me then you know that I don’t have a problem with finding “Me Time” but more on that later. What was surprising to me was how many people in that room thought personal time for themselves or a creative outlet was foreign or something they could not fit into their schedules. That’s terrible! There are so many people on this earth that are not living, they’re just existing. They go through the motions of life, without taking time to look up, and see the beautiful, colorful, and multifaceted world that God created. They go to work, come home, deal with whatever they have going on at home, and do it all over again the next day. To be honest, a few years ago this person was me! I just focused on my job. I had no other goals and ambitions and did not even think about a purpose for my life as yet. I know how miserable that life is, because you’re doing nothing to make an impact for yourself or others, you’re just there, existing.
Maybe I do these things too much, I thought.
While at the meeting, I questioned if I had a problem because I didn’t need someone to tell me the importance of finding creative outlets to just do what I love, I try to do something I love every single day, whether it’s writing, painting, reading, or going to museums, it’s definitely in my schedule because my soul craves it. Soul Food, or Food for the Soul is the single most important thing you can do to bring happiness and fulfillment into your life. Tapping into what you always wanted to do and just doing it, no matter how good or bad you think you are at it is such a beautiful thing and adds character to your personality and your life. Who knows you might even find your purpose in this. Matter of fact, I am sure you will find your purpose in just doing what you love. Some people might think whatever you’re doing is a waste of time but that’s because they don’t get it. The first line of Ecclesiastics in the bible says “Everything is meaningless” and when you think about it, it really is. Life is so temporary, we are here one minute and gone the next and nothing you do, not that degree, that job, that house or the savings account, can come with you, so why not make the best of it while on earth. Feed your soul with travel, feed your soul with time with loved ones, feed your soul with experiences, feed your soul with activities, feed your soul with all the things you love to do because it needs it.