Now that I’m no longer 12 year’s old a good chunk of my life is spent doing things that I “have” to do. Going to Work, commuting to various parts of the country, getting plenty of sleep, eating healthy, working out and exercising. Doing all these things takes time, quite a substantial part of the 24 hours contained in the day. Taking my average day for example, completing all these tasks would take up to 19 hours a day. That only leaves 5 or so hours, or 20% of my day, to do as I please. In theory though, it’s not free to do as I please. I can’t drive too far away to do something because that will lead to not getting the proper amount of sleep, not that I have that much energy to do anything too strenuous on the regular anyway. In the end what I end up doing is watching Tv, playing games or just flaking.
In the light of day, I too even have it easy. I work in a job where overtime isn’t really a regular occurrence, live not 5 minutes away and also live very close to all amenities that I might need such as shops for food and the gym. Some of you out there have to travel an hour each way to work (or maybe even more) and also have to go even further afield to do shopping or train. This reduces those 5 hours down even more and drains even more energy from you to do some ‘cool’ stuff in your free time. Not really painting a good picture of life am I?
The biggest time drain has to be, without doubt, work. Work is necessary to bring in money so you can actually survive in this cruel world and do cool things (Lets disregard the fact that you don’t have time to do anything cool for a second). You have to go in, do some tasks and get some things done. Maybe fill out a spreadsheet or two. You get up in the morning, go to work and do all you have to do, whatever it may be, and head home only to return the very next day and do it all over again. God forbid that it’s a Friday and you have a couple of days off. God forbid because the weekends are rarely filled with things you really want to do and most weekends are just filled with more things you have to do, things that have built up over the week that still need to get done. The only difference between this and actual work is the fact that you don’t get paid a dime for it. Then comes Sunday afternoon and you spend all of it dreading the thoughts of getting up early tomorrow morning and doing it all over again.
I don’t know about you, but if this was a film or a game, I wouldn’t be signing myself up for it. It really sounds like hell. But does it really have to be this way?
Yes, we all have to go to work and yes, we all have to do some things when we get home but with some wise and important lifestyle choices those things don’t have to be so bad. All it comes down to is asking yourself one thing. One simple question you can ask yourself can make your life a lot better.
“Does this make me unhappy?”
If the answer is anything other than an outright no, then something has to change. If you have to think about it, if you have to question yourself on saying yes, then it doesn’t make you as happy as it should. This applies to most things. Things like working, like traveling at the weekends and even working out. Sure you can do it because its “what your supposed to do”, what everyone else is doing, but if you’re not enjoying it then you’d be pretty silly to keep going at it. If you’re not happy doing it, then change something about it to make yourself happy.
I don’t mean up and quit your job and sit in your apartment at the weekends doing nothing but scratching yourself. What I do mean is work to change things. Hate your job outright? Then start looking for a new one. With the benefit of not being unemployed, you have time to really review and find something you feel you would love. Hate commuting at the weekends back home or to family? Try getting them down for a visit or go every second weekend.
At the end of the day you only have one life. One life which should not be all about work and doing things you don’t enjoy. There are some exceptions, some things which have to be done as a means to an end. Having a job is one of them. I would love to sit in an F1 car and drive it around all day, but in the real world that doesn’t happen. I now have a job I really enjoy and don’t dread going into is an exception I am more than happy to accept. Plus it gives me the money, time and energy to do other things outside work that I really do enjoy and love doing. It makes my day a lot more fulfilling knowing I’m getting things done I feel are worthwhile and that it’s not just ‘a means to an end’.
I’ve thought this for some time. Coming out of college I had a job I didn’t really enjoy at all. I didn’t know it before I accepted it but 6 months in I knew it wasn’t for me. Mainly because it was the same thing day in, day out. So that’s why I chose to look for other work and moved to Diageo. Now I love my job, have a constant challenge and am regarded as one of the ‘go to’ people for various things across site. Definitely something to be proud of when I go home at the end of the day. Because I have it so good though, its easy to forget just how important an enjoyable life is.
Recently I went on holidays to Spain with some friends from college. Among this group there were two new people, two people who although I had met a few times, didn’t really know that well. We were away for a week and by the time we landed back in Dublin I had two new good friends. Two of these friends even came down to visit overnight last week and although it was an uneventful night, just some food and some drinks on a Thursday evening, it was something I looked forward to and something I won’t forget in a hurry. Friends are important to me because they are a major player in what makes me happy. The people I went on holidays with are some of my best friends. I’m lucky enough to also have two best friends who I talk to every day. All these things make me happy and having my life set up so that I am constantly surrounded by these kinds of things is why I feel like I can take on pretty much anything that life throws in my way.
We have the power to choose a career and live a life which we can find enjoyable and it’s important that we do so. Otherwise the day in, day out nature of a life that makes you unhappy will slowly kill you.
I think the “this is water” video below is a great depiction of all I have already said. Remember, don’t do something because you should, do it because it will make you happy!