I’m sure you’ve all heard the saying on the left: “if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life”. And I can’t think of a more incorrect or problematic quote to live your life by. I read this quote and I think of all the papers I’ve slaved over. I picture post-it tabs jutting out of novels, stacks of library resources, and of course my infamous brainstorm/concept boards. I love studying English & Secondary Education. I love what I do. But if you think for a second that this doesn’t feel like work… then you are seriously misinformed.
If you think my love for academics has never left me feeling hopeless, frustrated, and inferior then you’ve probably never really cared about school. And if you think that the misery undergrad puts you through will vanish when you find your “dream job” then you’ve probably never spoken to anyone in your field.
Now yes, I do believe that you have to love what you do to be happy with your life. However, loving what you do will not make the work of it any easier. This ill informed ideology is exactly why so many people get cold feet about their majors. Some people may just take longer to find their passion but others are just lazy; they fail to realize that “the job you never get sick of” does not exist. Things take work; they take effort, time, & bravery. You need to be willing to go for it.
For instance, people think teaching will be a stable & easy career, so when they realize how many layers of difficulty exist they back out. People want to be musicians because they enjoy playing their instruments but they get to aural skills and realize this isn’t their major. People consider running a business or becoming chefs, but they aren’t willing to sacrifice themselves over either. Loving what you do doesn’t magically make it “not feel like work”; the love gets you through the work of it.
Everything is like this.
Running gets like this. My nonrunner friends/aquaintences often cringe at my long runs (which range from 7-12 miles), and they ask me why I would do that? Why would I put myself through such torment? It’s because I love it. But I’m always “in love” with it. Sometimes it’s too cold, it’s too early, I’m too tired, I’m too busy, or any other excuse I let bubble to the surface and label acceptable. Building/maintaining mileage takes work but I do it because I can’t not do it. Running is part of who I am. I love the sweat, the post run food/showers/naps, the feeling of accomplishment, the alone time, the outdoors, the challenge, the music. Every committed runner has experienced these things.
Videogames get like this. I recently beat Jak 2, a game I played in 4th grade but never finished because it was just too hard. You see, the reason I don’t finish videogames as often as Ideal Me would is because I get lazy. It’s because even though I enjoy videogames I often lack the dedication to stick it out, to come back after a few days, pick up my sticks and try again. This is something I’m working on. It took be about 22hrs to beat Jak 2 and in that span of time I experienced some very low lows. I’d get frustrated to the point where any outsider would ask me why I was putting myself through this and I wouldn’t be able to give any answer (besides “to finish the damn thing”).
This blog gets like this. I love blogging, and sometimes posts just seem to write themselves, but a lot of times this blog is forever on my to do list. It nags at me. Traffic dies & there have been weeks–even months–where my posts have disappeared completely. If I don’t make time for this blog, time never presents itself. If I don’t sit down and force myself to write something, this page would never get filled.
I love everything I do, that’s why I never stop working.
My father always says if you’re going to do something do it right. I meet so many people who just want to do something… they think they just haven’t found their niche yet (which sometimes is true) because they think when they find what they are meant to do it will just be, on some level, easy. It will be enjoyable. It will be fun. And it will… but you have to be willing to be miserable with it too. And if after the hell you’re still willing to stay? Well then, that might just be love.