I feel like I lead two separate lives.
In my day job as an architect, I deal with the details. I have to pay attention to the physical world around me. I have to know how things go together and why they work. Sometimes this is not easy for me. It's not my natural mindset.
My natural inclination is to ignore the world around me and get lost in the inner world of my own mind.
So that is what I do in my second life. I get lost in my own little world of reading and writing and decorating cakes and sketching and painting and whatever else suits my fancy in the moment. This is where I feel most like ME.
Since my second life is so easy and comfortable for me, I've considered on many occasions giving up on my first life altogether so that I can be in isolated bliss and devote 100% of my energy and effort to my creativity.
But something keeps me coming back for more. I'm not sure exactly what, maybe its the challenge. Maybe the mystery. It's certainly not the money, although a steady income is nice.
The truth is, although I complain a lot about my "real" job, I'm not happy without it. I need that challenge to be happy. It's not easy, in fact its downright difficult for me sometimes to force myself into that mindset. But that challenge is what makes me feel alive. That challenge is what makes my other life so fulfilling. That challenge is often what enables the other, easier life; it provides ideas for my writing, it allows me to so thoroughly enjoy retreating into my own inner world and getting lost in my creativity. It's my laboratory for life and learning. It is my inspiration.
Also, If it weren't for my studies and my efforts and my hard work in my career in architecture, I would be DRASTICALLY UN-rounded. (That's the opposite of WELL-rounded, in case you were wondering). I would be freakishly oblong. I would be grossly deficient in common sense and spatial reasoning. I would not know anything about the simple beauty of math and physics or the natural order of the universe, the beauty of the earth and seasons and how the world works.
I had to fight for that knowledge. I had to FIGHT for every minute of time that I devoted to learning this stuff. I had to step outside of my head, my safe place, my comfort zone, my imagination, and I had to work really hard. I still have to work really hard. Every single day.
But that is what makes it worthwhile. That is why my career is so valuable to me, because it wasn't just handed to me, I didn't stumble upon it. I worked for it.
So my point in sharing all of this with you is this: maybe you are facing something in your life that is downright hard work. Maybe you're struggling with how heavy it all is, maybe you're wishing and dreaming of a life where everything is easy and flows so you can ride the waves of good fortune and luck and EASE. Maybe you want to not have to work so hard for JUST ONE DAY.
I get it.
But ask yourself what it truly is that makes you happy. Would you still have the same motivation, the same drive, if everything in your life was easy? Would you still possess the qualities that you love most about yourself if everything in your life had been handed to you on a silver platter? Probably not. It's one of mine and Dan's favorite soap boxes to discuss how hard we have had to work. We both worked our way through college and grad school. We both drove crappy cars and ate ramen noodles and easy mac to save money. We both scrounged by, with little help from our parents, not because they didn't want to help and support us, but because they didn't have the extra to give. And we both survived. We both learned the value of a dollar and the meaning of a good work ethic. And while we both may have wished that hard work away while we were in the middle of it, we both take great pride in it now. I bet you will too.
Because I know that the most treasured things in life are the things that we have to work the hardest for. The easy stuff is great, but it's also easier to take it for granted. The hard stuff won't let you forget the work. The hard stuff sticks with you.
What about you? What have you had to work the hardest for in you life? Would you trade all of that hard work for the easy road if you could?
Till next time,
© Haley McManigal 2016
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