Are we asking for too much?

Met up with an old friend for dinner last night. She graduated in 2012 and thus has a full 365 days of wisdom and advice to offer me as I conclude my first few months as a post-grad professional. She was asking me about my new job and I said that after seven weeks, I’m finally happy. The onboarding process was difficult, and I will not lie, I was beginning to explore other positons. My head was (and continues to be) filled with questions. What am I passionate about? How do I channel this into my work? Do I feel like my job is pushing me to grow into the individual I aspire to be? Am I finding enough time outside of work to cultivate outside interests while also developing my personal relationships with friends and family?

In the last 10 days or so, I’ve found respite from these questions…a quiet peace of sorts. I’m truly enjoying the time I spend at work and realize that this concept of work-life balance is somewhat…imaginary. What’s a life that so harshly distinguishes between “work” and “real” life?

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I spent last night at Makeshift Society listening to the women behind Rice Paper Scissors share their experiences in what it takes to build a food business. The following question was asked:

So it’s clear you’re doing what you love, but how much of your time do you spend doing the unlovable tasks that are necessary in making it actually happen? The number-crunching, food prep, the stress not knowing if a pop-up will actually come through, etc.

And their answer was around forty percent. Forty percent of their time is spent doing all the shit tasks that are needed to pull this dream of theirs off. I love that. Because it’s true…work is rewarding, but sometimes, work is work. And you just have to grit your teeth and realize that you’re going to be in the thick of it for the next day or week or month or so, but that the end product is going to give you so much back in return.

So my friend and I are talking about this, right? And she’s bringing up how many young people she knows who have meandered from job to job and city to city in their first year post-college. I think there is certainly some truth to this wandering. If you’re in a dead-end job or in an industry you get zero energy from, it’s smart to leave. But what is the line between finding your passion and asking too much from life? At what point do we need to buckle down as a generation and get to work?

I’d like to end with beautiful quote I stumbled upon:

“I think that we are like stars. Something happens to burst us open; but when we burst open and think we are dying; we’re actually turning into a supernova. And then when we look at ourselves again, we see that we’re suddenly more beautiful than we ever were before.”

– C. Joybell C.

This is how I want my work to feel, right now, for me. I want to be broken open by it and emerge as something greater than I was before.

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