21 July 2011 ~ 5 Comments

Love What You Do! Do What You Love!

I was thinking, how much time do you spend doing what you love versus doing what needs to be done? Isn’t it amazing to think that most of our time is spent doing things that we think need to be done instead of choosing to do the things that we really enjoy doing?

I wonder if we’re trained to be this way or if we feel guilty about indulging in fun things because we know the grass needs mowing or the dog needs bathing.

I love to play tennis and I haven’t played in years. I allowed myself to play a few years ago for about a month on a regular basis but stopped and haven’t played since. What’s up with that? I say I love it, I know I love it when I’m playing, I know I feel better after playing because I’ve moved my body around for an hour or so. It’s great for my mind too, it gets me proactive in the morning and then I have more energy for the rest of the day.

I’ve thought of playing tennis a lot over the years, but just didn’t make the effort to do it. Isn’t that a funny concept? To really love something and not do it? Is there some kind of punishment in that? A feeling of I’m not deserving? A feeling of being indulgent because you think you should be working, or cleaning or chopping a tree down or washing windows?

I was brought up with the word “Productive” in my face. Society, parents,the workforce, ourselves, we all feel the need to be “Productive.” I don’t know if it’s like that in all countries but it certainly has been beat into our heads in this country.

What I realize is….doing something that we love is a gift to ourselves and others as well. When we create happiness and joy in our lives, we become happier people, we get more done, we become more motivated and we spread the joy around to others.

Get out of the habit of just doing things because they need to be done and let yourself have fun. Let yourself try new things, just for the heck of it. Go on a date with yourself once a week, do something that’s out of the ordinary for you.  How about taking a pottery class? How about trying tennis? How about taking a cooking class at your local university or studying a new language. Do something for the fun of it not because you need to or have to. Do it for no reason other than it might be fun.

Why is it so hard to treat ourselves? It may feel frivolous at first, like “What’s the point of me taking this pottery course. I’m not going to become a great potter.  I’ll probably make a stupid bowl and then that will be it.” Maybe so, but won’t it be fun trying? You are robbing yourself of the experience if you don’t do it. Don’t worry about the end result.

Take yourself out of your normal way of thinking and try something new just for the joy of it. Don’t be so hard on yourself. When you think of all the things we do consistently every day to sustain our lives it’s amazing. Think about it, we wash our bodies, we wash our teeth, we curl our hair (luckily I get to skip that one) we make our bed, we make coffee, we cook breakfast, we pay bills, we walk the dog, we get the car looked at, we go to the doctor, we take care of the yard, we go to a job or work of some kind which isn’t always fun and on and on.

We do this kind of stuff on autopilot every day so we get used to that routine. Keeping our life all together is a big deal. Give yourself credit for all that you do in that regular daily routine of yours and reward yourself.

So, I suggest that every day you do something that you love to do no matter how small. Read 5 pages of your favorite book, take a walk with a friend, lay in the sun for 20 minutes, listen to your favorite music while doing nothing else, play the guitar, draw or paint. I also suggest you make a date with yourself and put it on the calendar. Make it as important as all the other stuff that you feel you need to get done. Spend some time doing the things that you love to do! It’s important! You’re worth it! You deserve it! Celebrate your life on a daily basis. It will be over before you know it.

I made the decision today that I am going to play more tennis. Yay for me!

Oh, and writing this joy blog….I’ll be doing more of that too!

What will you allow yourself to do for fun? Tell us so we can celebrate with you!

Experience Joy And Pass It On!

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5 Responses to “Love What You Do! Do What You Love!”

  1. Breah 21 July 2011 at 2:24 pm Permalink

    Most inspirationally said, Amy. Well written and joyful!

  2. Rick 4 August 2011 at 4:57 pm Permalink

    I was thinking how much time some people spend complaining that they dislike doing the things that need doing. Isn’t it amazing that we insist that the things that need to be done can’t be enjoyable and that in order to enjoy our life, we must run away from them and constantly try to experience other things that might make our life more fun. I wonder if we’re trained to be this way or if we feel guilty about actually enjoying mowing the grass or bathing the dog!

    I think maybe the truly happy people find enjoyment and contentment in what others find to be mundane. While their work (employment or other activity that supports the ability to do most everything else) may not appear particularly enjoyable, they take pleasure in the perhaps simple (or not) accomplishments or the relationships they develop with co-workers, suppliers, or customers. Maybe they just enjoy applying their skills and feel good about the effort they put into their work, and the contentment in knowing the monetary rewards at whatever level will support their other needs and those of their family.

    Some people love to play tennis and, of course, should not deprive themselves. But, if you should be working (after all, the boss expects you to show up), cleaning (let’s not let the salmonella and e-coli run wild), or chopping a tree down (before it falls on your house), or washing windows (did the weatherman call for fog this morning, honey?), then perhaps you can find some pleasure in doing the things that need to be done and postpone your tennis play date.

    There is no shame in being “Productive” or enjoying it. If we took the advice to ignore the need for productivity, perhaps there would be a lack of tennis facilities on which to play. What I realize is….enjoying as many of the things that need to be done is truly a gift to ourselves and others as well. Happiness and joy in our lives do not have to be created.

    Whatever your life is, you have ample opportunity for enjoyment. Get out of the habit of denying the pleasure potential in the things that need to done just because they need to be done. Learn instead to find the fun in them. Some people feel that trying new things just for the heck of it holds a larger fun quotient than what they do in their regular routine just because it’s different. What is the point of spending your hard-earned money on a pottery class when you could be saving it for a new mower to help you enjoy mowing your lawn?

    Take yourself out of your normal way of thinking and try to find the enjoyment in your routine activities that need to be done. Think about it, we wash our bodies (love that new pulsating shower-head), we wash our teeth (go find a toothpaste flavor you just can’t resist, brushing more will prevent dental problems), we curl our hair (luckily I get to skip that one too, but maybe a haircut and some straightening would be a good look for me) we make our bed (something my wife and I enjoy doing together), we make coffee (a simple activity, smells wonderful, and my wife and I enjoy drinking it together), we cook breakfast (what’s not to like, breakfast is certainly to be enjoyed), we pay bills (thankfully, we can), we walk the dog (if you don’t enjoy walking a dog, don’t have one), we get the car looked at (and proudly, we have a car), we go to the doctor (ok, not so much fun, but get yourself a doctor you like), we take care of the yard (enjoy taking care of it and you will enjoy living in it afterward as well), we go to a job or work of some kind which isn’t always fun (see an earlier paragraph) and on and on (yup, enjoy that too).

    Just because they become a routine, don’t take an autopilot approach. Stop to smell the roses while you fertilize them. Yes, keeping our life all together is a big deal. Give yourself credit for all that you do in that regular daily routine of yours and reward yourself by finding the enjoyment as often as possible within the things that need to be done. If you don’t, you will be forever doomed to running from them into whatever new and different activity you can find and, regardless whether you find them to be fun or not, you will be faced with all the things that need to be done when you return. They will not go away and you will still consider yourself unhappy with your life.

    Celebrate your life on a daily basis. It’s not as bad as you think! Ask Dorothy, you don’t need a trip to Oz to learn that lesson.

  3. Amy 5 August 2011 at 10:13 am Permalink

    Thanks so much for your comments Rick. I love the angle that you are coming from and I totally agree.

    There certainly is joy to be had from the things we do on a daily basis. I love cleaning my house (most of the time). I too, love coffee brewing and sharing a cup with my husband in the morning. I just gave my dog a bath yesterday and it makes me so happy to see him clean and brushed. Taking a walk with my hubby downtown in the evening is one of my favorite things to do.

    Like you, it doesn’t take much for me to be happy. It’s a state of mind for sure and I find joy in the small things that are all around me every day. On the other hand, I feel like there is so much to experience in life.

    If you have a LONGING and DEEP desire to do something and you aren’t allowing yourself to do it because of this, that and the other, you are robbing yourself of true joy. I just met a girl who has wanted to go to a roller derby convention for years. She wouldn’t allow herself to do it. She found reason after reason not to go even though she was dying to. She finally said, that’s it….I’m going, and she is off to Las Vegas this month to her Roller Derby Convention. I could see that this was a dream of hers and it lit her up just talking about it. She can’t wait to go….it’s a dream come true and she was proud of herself for finally allowing herself to have the experience. In the big scheme of things, what is she giving up by going? Giving up time and money of course but she’s ok with that. What is she getting? The experience of being at a Roller Derby Convention for a week which thrills her to death, meeting new people who are as excited as she is about roller derby,traveling to a new place, coming away with new ideas, making new friends, I would imagine a lot of laughter and joy, and the feeling of stretching herself into the unknown territory of doing something challenging and new. For her, this is worth doing. For someone else….maybe not.
    What it boils down to is….discover your own happiness and enjoy your life.

  4. Amy 18 January 2012 at 12:57 am Permalink

    I think it’s great you two take the time to communicate. Now that’s a joy! I’ve been thinking a lot about Irving lately. I miss him a lot. He was such a great mentor. Happy New Year! Ken

  5. Amy 18 January 2012 at 6:15 pm Permalink

    Thank you for your note Ken. Yes, communication has been the glue that holds us together.
    Irving was a kind and gentle man. Always in the moment and had a quiet zen like presence. I appreciate him more now than I did growing up. I guess that’s normal isn’t it? You don’t know what you had until it’s gone. Wish he was still around.
    Happy New Year!
    Amy


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