Building a life you love isn’t just one thing. Usually, it’s finding a career you’re seriously passionate about, figuring out how to make enough money to do everything that you want to do without stressing over finances, finding someone you love to share your life with, surrounding yourself with awesome friends that support you, and having the time, money, and means to do all the things you like to do. When you put it down on paper like that, it sounds like a lot. And it is, kinda, but don’t let that intimidate you. Creating a life you really love, like all around obsessed with it kind of love, isn’t just one thing: it’s the sum of a lot of parts that are all equally important, but when broken down into segments don’t seem quite as crazy and intimidating.
PART 1 – DON’T WORK TO LIVE, LIVE TO WORK (AND PLAY)
One thing that makes me so freaking insane is the concept that you need to work your ass off at a high paying job (or just work loads of hours at a ‘respectable’ job) in order to pay for things that you want, like raising a family, buying a house, traveling, etc. I talked about this a little in the last post, but it really kills me so I feel like I need to say it again. Honestly, if you dread going to work on Monday and count down the hours until your workday is over, you’re doing it wrong. I mean this in the sense of a long term career, not the temporary jobs that you might need to do to pay for a passion project, earn some extra cash while you’re in school, etc. We all have to work in some crappy odd jobs and usually we can gain some valuable experience and perspective even at the worst of them. I’m talking career paths that you decide to settle in long term. If you hate working in an office, hate wearing a suit to work, and are more passionate about traveling to adventurous places all over the world than absolutely anything else in your life, what the hell are you doing working 9am – 5pm as a corporate accountant?? If you’re doing that because it pays well, is respectable, and will eventually pay for you to take vacations to your bucket list destinations, then you are not doing yourself justice.
There are plenty of people who are passionate about numbers and light up in a corporate environment, and you should leave that position to them. There is a career path for every type of person that caters to what you love and what you’re passionate about, and that is what you need to be doing in order to build a life you truly love. The goal is to find (or create!!) a job that doesn’t feel like a job – it might feel like hard work sometimes (even things you love can be hard), but the core purpose of your job should make you feel excited, fulfilled, and inspired most of the time. With the average American working 1,788 hours a year, it seems pretty important to not hate what you’re doing for money.
PART 2 – MAKE SPACE FOR AWESOME THINGS AND AWESOME PEOPLE
Getting your career on track with your passions is a huge piece of the puzzle, but life isn’t all about your career. Success comes in many forms, and a big part of it is about how you spend your time outside of work and who you spend it with. Obviously, ideally you’d want to fill your non-work life with people you love, activities that make you happy, and things that add value to your life. Guess what? If you want to have these things, you have to make space for them.
That means clearing out the clutter (literally and metaphorically). Break up with toxic friends who drain you and make you feel bad. Get rid of the physical junk that makes your house feel claustrophobic, or the cheap stuff that makes you feel cheap when you look at it (and don’t worry, Craigslist and Ikea have plenty of inexpensive stuff that looks really nice). Get rid of the energetic clutter, like wasting time scrolling mindlessly through Facebook or saying yes to activities that you hate. Make some room for the people that will support you and make you laugh, the tangible things that make you feel good, and the hobbies and activities that make you feel happy. Don’t fill your time, space, and social circles up with crap just to fill them – remember, good things can’t come into your life if there’s no room for them.
PART 3 – FIND YOUR PASSIONS AND ALIGN THEM WITH YOUR CAREER, HOBBIES, AND FINANCES
Life is short and as far as we know (so far), you only get one of em’. Why waste time not doing what you love because of whatever excuse you’re currently using? Nothing is too difficult, too out of reach, or too expensive. There is a creative solution to everything if it’s aligned with your real and genuine passions. Especially if you’re young (and you are! woohoo).
The most important step to making BIG things happen once you’ve made a little space in your life is to figure out what means the very most to you and what fuels you. For example, for me my biggest passions are: feeling free and independent, connecting with other women, traveling, creating things that light people up, and riding horses. Those are my passions and they run super deep. They are at the core of pretty much everything I do in my life. Aside from my passions, my biggest priorities are: spending real quality time with my husband, staying close with my parents, having a small group of friends that feel like family, having physical things that make me feel good, and feeling successful in everything that I do. My passions and priorities are driven by the way I want to feel (aka free, valuable, creative, appreciated, abundant, challenged) and I’ve figured out through a lot of trial and error how to use all of this to shape the way I work, play, and experience my day to day life.
It’s a BIG process with a lot of info (don’t worry, I have a book coming out on the whole thing!), but it’s not as complicated as it sounds and it will totally change the way you see your life. If your passions fuel what you do for work, who you have in your life, what kind of stuff you buy, and how you spend your free time, then you’re on the fast track to building a life that you’ll be obsessed with.