There is this part-time job. You won’t get paid and you’ve got to work everyday but it’s got benefits, you have a lot independence and the hours are flexible.
The job is developing yourself outside of your work. Whether you love work or hate it, you aren’t just it. Or shouldn’t be. Let me explain:
We had a new VP coming in and my boss asked me to type up a few bullet points about myself; my hobbies, interests, whatever made me me. You’d think this was easiest thing to knock out on a workday but 5 minutes later I was brewing over what little I had to say about myself. What I had sent over was half-true, on an adventurous day. I mean, of course I love hiking and baking pies. Sometimes, I’ll just casually do them at the same time because that’s how thrilling I am!
Couldn’t I just write that I love my couch, watching youtube videos of no particular genre and eating a chocolate (or 4) after every meal? Not exciting, but these were honest themes in my life. Where I once rattled off lists of creative outlets, I had nothing. I don’t draw. I don’t write. I don’t paint. I don’t design. I do work — a lot and well.
Slowly, subtly, consumed with my job, these artistic interests slipped away. If I couldn’t monetize it, present it to someone and get immediate gratification, what was it worth? I had become something else — a full blown dry-toast-person. Dry-toast-people like myself have a lot of other names: basic, 9–5er, beige, conformist, boring. You can also get a clear definition here:
Not to say there wasn’t passion. I was incredibly passionate about my job! I was a badass workin’ woman! Working for a financial company of all things. But at the end of the day, this was all I had in my head. It was the only thing on my mind outside of life’s basic needs. If I got struck by lightning tomorrow what could be said about my life? “Here rests Amy. She loved working so much that she did nothing outside of it.” Kill me now! No don’t. Because that’s all I will have on my tombstone.
There is no shame in loving your work. Any growth is good growth. Who cares if you end up having a deep interest in something that seems outwardly dry or unsexy. But does passion have to be so linear? Why do we end up equating time and energy? Just because the majority of time is spent at work, does all our energy have to go there too?
Unconvinced, I ventured into building out my other passions on the side. Nothing prolific or visibly life-altering, just a part-time job in re-awakening my senses. I’ve started to pepper my wardrobe with fun, odd, playful intention. I’ve spent a decent chunk of time mulling over interior design books in hopes of inspiring an overhaul of my bedroom decor — still not upgraded yet. I started sketching and then stopped because it looked like a sad ghost of what I was once capable of creating. To my boyfriends great dismay, I’ve grown my shoe collection to include quirky mules and some slip-ons he likes to call “my princess shoes” likened to the kind little girls wear when playing dress up — even more reason to love them.
I won’t sugarcoat it and tell you’ve I’ve all of sudden found myself. Oftentimes, I feel scattered and half-baked. My identity isn’t anywhere really and that’s a bit scary. I’m a mental drifter and can’t claim any title as my home. I’m not a stylist, I’m not an artist or a writer or a designer. But I’m not just Amy, the dry-toast-person that lives for work, and that feels better than before.
While you may not need two jobs to survive (a very lucky thing, if so) you absolutely need two jobs to truly live. Now go work.