April 28, 2010

Do What You Love

For years I’ve had a postcard on my bulletin board that says “Do what you love, love what you do.” Of course I can’t always follow it as much as I would like to because, like all of you, there are tasks in life that need to be taken care of.  For instance paying the bills. Regular household stuff that makes life flow better when it’s done and really screws things up when it isn’t! Like laundry. But then there is this whole other realm of things that we choose to do but don’t have to do, right? Well, something has happened to me this past year. I don’t know if it is because of menopause, or what, but this little bell goes off in my head louder than it ever has that says “I am sooooo BORED” when I am doing something that isn’t in sync with how I want to spend my free time. It’s like a flashing red warning light.

The other piece to this story is that my mom had a cousin named Arthur who lived until he was almost 102 (that's his adorable photo above). For the last several years of his life I use to visit him every Thursday, and thankfully, he use to say some very wise things to me. One time he said, “Lou, it is very hard to be truly creative when you are doing too much like you are.” To put it another way- he was saying that when there is too much noise in our heads it is difficult for our best selves, our most authentic selves, to come forward. Luckily soon after he said this to me I was able to scale back a day a week at my job where I had been for almost sixteen years.  And, don't you know- soon after I did this I came up with the concept for my felted sweater line.

This past winter Arthur’s words of wisdom about doing too much rang loud and clear again. Just after the holidays I decided to leave my seat on a local council and two business groups that I have been a part of for several years. Soon after I let these three commitments go I came up with the idea for Lines of Beauty. I don’t think this was a coincidence.

I’ve decided to call what happens when I stop doing what is uninteresting, and create more time in my life for something that excites me, The Shift. When we stop doing what is tedious, we naturally make room for something that is more exciting -even when we don’t always know what this new thing is going to be…

So how does this all relate to aging gracefully? A large part of aging gracefully is about having vitality in our lives. Having passion. And when we are bored with how we are spending our time, our vitality and passion get choked so to speak, which in the end probably makes us old and cranky and bitter don’t you think?

Anyway, it’s a wonderful thing to notice what is uninteresting in our lives, and give ourselves permission to let it go.

After all, we only have to be who we are.