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Do What You Love, Love What You Do

Sounds simple, right? Then why aren't more people doing it? For many, the idea of doing what you love has always played the role of runner-up to doing what "is best" which can be translated as what pays best, what looks good on paper, or what mom/dad wanted. For many, family or financial obligations initially are the culprit. But then we grow complacent. We get used to doing what we are doing and getting what we are getting. It becomes "enough" but is it, really? The answer for me was "no!" When I was younger, I did what my parents "guided" me to do. I didn't particularly like the work I did but they came home every day disgruntled and cranky so that's how it's supposed to be. Right? WRONG!! Lucky for me I was also a very contrary, I mean, curious person too. Instead of thinking, "why me?" I started thinking, "why not me?" So, while I worked as many hours as possible in a bank, I also covertly studied for the SATs. I took the test and did well so I started applying to colleges. I opened a post office box to receive mail from various schools because I knew that this would cause a firestorm in my family. I was initially accepted into three colleges and chose one in Florida. I subscribed to the local newspaper to look for a place to live. Finally, it was time to face the music. I gave my 2-week notice to the bank and that evening after dinner sat my folks down and told them what I had done. My mother told me to "stop being stupid" and then my father laughed and said, "you're not smart enough for college".

WOW!! I burst into tears and things devolved from there. Needless to say I did leave home and went to college in Florida. I went full time for the first year because I had my savings and good ole' student loans. After a year, I changed my major, but I never quit. It took me seven years going to school part time while working full time to support myself and my husband. Once I graduated, I went to graduate school in South Carolina. The move was the death knel for my marriage and I left graduate school a little over a year into it. I was ABD (all but dissertation). I returned to Florida and started my career as a geologist in a heavy mineral mine in north Florida. A couple of years later, I moved to Tampa and started working in sinkholes. I loved it! I liked my work, liked the people I worked with and for and 14 years later, I went out on my own.

I am currently living my dream. Doing what I love and loving what I do. I make much less money and have a lot more responsibility but I am happy and it shows in everything that I do. I look healthier, I AM healthier, more confident, more aware and conscientious, and I am living life on my terms. I'm not saying that it's easy, but that it's worth it. That is not to say that I didn't have a peanut gallery saying, "you'll never make it" or "stop messing around and get a real job." But this time, instead of asking myself, "why not me?" I told my detractors, and at times myself, "watch me!"

So, I look back now and ask myself, "what took you so long to figure this out?" I don't have an easy answer but I can probably give you a bunch of excuses. Although you would see right through them as I do now. But rest assured that I am not finished. I have a lot more to do before I'm through and many years in which to do them. Now I say to everyone, "Bring it on! I'm ready!!"

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