I work for a terrific organization but I spend 40 hours each week in a cubicle. I jokingly call it my cage. At five years old I never would have imagined myself spending most of my days in a 5’x7’ space drinking coffee out of a ceramic travel mug while writing and editing reports and correspondence. I certainly never answered the common childhood question with “I want to work in Development doing things like grant research, editing, event coordination and website operations!” Don’t get me wrong, I am extremely grateful for my job and it’s not a horrible gig. I work with an incredibly talented and intelligent team and what we do is very important. In my own way, I am contributing to society (by trying to get wealthy people to give us their money so we can serve abused and neglected kids).
While this is all fine and dandy, what about passion? Aren’t we supposed to pursue our passions in life? Shouldn’t I be out there dispelling myths about HIV and AIDS and arming women in African nations with knowledge and tools to save their lives and the lives of their future children? That’s MY passion as an adult. How do we live a satisfied life if we aren’t currently in a field that fuels that passion? How do we continue to be inspired when we spend most hours of the week in a cubicle working on rather tedious tasks?
These are the questions I struggle with on a daily basis, especially lately. This is what I have come up with:
Passion is a beautiful thing. I think I have enough passion for 2 people (so if you need some, just ask). At times it is overwhelming. I can get down in the dumps about the fact that I am not in South Africa right now working in some remote village saving lives or I can see my little job as a major piece to a larger puzzle. Editing grant requests and updating a website may not be the most glamorous job known to (wo)man, but it’s part of something larger. What I do here has a ripple effect on the foster system. My contribution may be small, but with the help of everyone else in this organization we are making a huge impact on the foster system.
It’s easy to get down on myself because I am not working in my field of study but that is alright. It’s not all about me. I am still positively impacting my community, just in a different way. In the end, we are only as happy as we allow ourselves to be. I need to start seeing the value in what I do and not beat myself up because I am not where my five-year-old self wanted me to be. I also wanted to live on a farm in rural Minnesota but I am okay with that plan falling through. I am learning to be happy with where I am at and proud of what I do. I am not necessarily complacent, just accepting and appreciative of my situation.
I have a purpose. We all do. It might not be what we imagined, but life never is.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Is it what you are currently doing?