Real talk 1: You have already found your passions

Growing up as a millennial, I am constantly questioned with this idea of finding my passions. What are your passions? Pursue your passions. Go after them etc. But then we are faced with the questions, well what are my passions? This question has been plaguing me for the last six or so months. What are my passions?

 

Well it turns out, I already know my passions. And so do you? What do you do all day as you are sitting around. We are all awake for 14 to 20 hours a day. WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING IN THAT TIME? Well whatever it is, that is your passion. The things you do to fill up that time. That is where your passion lies. For me, its constantly reading about psychology and health and mindset. That is why I set up this blog, to have a place to write about popular psychology and ‘life hacks’.

 

So I know my passion. Now can I make a living out of said passion. That is where my priorities come in. Do I really want to start my studies again and pursue something different? That is where the issue lies. I know my passion and so do you, you just need to decide is it worth pursuing it?

 

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University degrees mean nothing

From having my first ever job, I have come to the sad conclusion that having a university degree did not prepare me for this at all. I was so naive and starry-eyed going into my first job. I had landed an amazing job (on paper) with an equally amazing salary (one that meant I could live in apartments I had always dreamed of living in) in a top law firm. However, day one, and all my hopes and dreams were shat on. I sat down at my desk, the ambitious and hopeful twenty three year old that I was, to be inundated with phone-calls, emails, documents and excel spreadsheets.

Now I am not complaining (I already complained away all my complaints to my friends). What I am saying is that the skill set I was required did not even vaguely correlate to the skills I gained from my university degree. University does not teach you how to keep your cool when you have a call coming in every five minutes or how to approach your boss when the workload is too enormous for you to handle or that it is not appropriate to use exclamation marks in emails. It also never taught me how to play ‘the game’ or deal with office politics. High school would have prepared me for that though.

My university degree taught me the academic knowledge of law. But I learned far more outside of the lecture rooms than what I learned inside (not that that was too hard to do since I barely went to lectures three out of the four years). But an academic knowledge of the law is not enough and this is slowly being recognised by universities. Take mine for example, which has started a module where you do an internship, write a reflective diary and go to evening classes where you learn about confidentiality and other lawyery things. Great step, but not enough.

I am very jealous of the European kids who get to do an entire semester working in their respective field or who alternate one week in Uni and one week at work.** We should bring in a similar initiative in Ireland. That would be something and I myself would be in favour for the semester long work. Why? From having done internships and working in the real world, there is a big difference. One you are being paid and this changes everything. Being paid and not having the title of an intern or a graduate means people expect a shit ton more from you. More responsibility = more like a real life job. Which in the end is the end goal of university. We go to university to get a good job.

This above rant is by no means a reflection of the company I worked for. I think I would have had the same culture shock anywhere. It is more of a reflection on the educational system in general. The same educational system which is meant to prepare us for 40 plus years of working life. And its failing.

 

** By European here I am referring to the German and French friends I have. Not sure what other countries have this.

 

What is the point of life?

This is a question that I am constantly trying to find the answer to. And yet time and time again fail. The amount of times I have questioned friends on it, turned to Google for answers and multiple self-help books. And the response I have summed up is there is none.

It is up to you to give your life a point. 

If it is up to us to give life a point then why are we getting stressed up about all the small bullshit that hassles our life. Why aren’t we living life exactly as we wish? In the end, am I going to care whether I got the law credentials or not. Probably not, as long as I had sufficient amount of money to live the life I wanted and made a difference, I do not really care if I get my law credentials.

Why do we keep on pushing ourselves to live this ideal life. Keep on pushing ourselves into this rat race which is making us sick and tired and stressed. This life where you wake up every morning not wanting to get up, not wanting to move, praying for the day to be almost over so you can just get back into bed. Why don’t we instead rejoice when we get up and celebrate the fact that life is so goddamn precious. 

We all get obsessed with money. Making money our God. And along with that security. Craving the security. Living life inside a box, never venturing out of the box, because god help if you stray from the path. BECAUSE IF YOU STRAY everyone will be able to laugh at you if you fail, and if you don’t fail, people won’t like you as you have proved all their limitations and excuses invalid.

STRAY FROM THE PATH. I urge you, especially if you are young and healthy, stray. Make mistakes. Fuck up. That is the point of life. Life is not there to play it safe. Life is there to make mistakes and learn from them. The definition of failure is allowing fear to dictate all your actions. GET OVER THE FEAR. Life is scary. Get used to it and embrace it.

So stop sitting in your box living your customised by other people life and make your life yours. Give your life a point.

Stop netflixing your life away

Netflix. Such a great invention. The ability to access millions of movies and series at the press of a button. Even better now that you don’t have to change for a new episode, it just continuously runs.

I recently made the brave move to delete my Netflix. Why you ask? Well, Netflix is a distraction. It distracts us from our goals, from our vision, from what we want to achieve in life. This may sounds extreme, but think about it. See the below infographic as provided by the Business Insider:

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Here we can see how long it takes to watch an entire series. I have spent hours upon hours watching series after series and I kid you not, some series three times (Gossip Girl in case you were wondering). With this knowledge I decided to do a little calculation. Using this website ‘The Binge Clock’,  I could calculate how many hours I have spent watching Gossip Girl. Well, the truth is, I have spent over two weeks of my life watching Gossip Girl. TWO WEEKS. Lets put that in perspective:

15 days 3 hours = 363 hours

363 hours could have been better spent:

-> Going to the gym every day for a year (and would still have an extra 7 hours);

-> Sleeping more (I am constantly giving out about how little I sleep and how tired I am);

-> Taking up a new hobby such as learning to play the flute, or learning a new language;

-> spending more time with friends or family by giving them a call;

-> working on your side hustle.

But why do we watch it? I think one of the main enjoyments I derive from watching Netflix or any other sort of television series provider is the ability to live vicariously through the lives of others. Take Gossip Girl for example, I get to get a glimpse into the elite world of Manhattan socialites that I would never otherwise be allowed into. And this luxury makes me forget for a second (or for forty minutes) all my problems and brings me into this world of luxury where I almost believe, I am part of that world. Furthermore it is a distraction, a distraction from my current worries and problems, a way to ignore my issues and pretend everything is fine. Netflixing our weekends away is a modern-day phenomenon which is leading people to numb their lives by distracting themselves from their problems and not leading the life they could live.

 

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Now this article is not meant to make any one cold-turkey themselves from Netflix, but just to highlight the amount of time that is wasted on Netflix which could be used far more productively. There is a lot of good to be said for watching series as it is a great way to shut off for a while, but the bring home message of this article is to simply be aware of the tiem you are spending Netflixing especially if you are complaining about not having enoug time to do things.

What I learned when my mom died

A lot of people have that aha moment. That moment of clarity where you realise how fragile life truly is and how pointless 99% of the things you do in your life are. My aha moment was when my Mom got diagnosed with cancer. She died shortly afterwards (and by shortly, I am talking weeks).

The greatest lesson I took from her death was to stop waiting. She always was waiting. Waiting until she had more money. Waiting until we went to South Africa. Waiting until I went to go to university. Waiting until I left university. She lived in the future never fully appreciating the present. Perhaps the reason for this was that her present was too harsh a reality for her to live in, and therefore she chose to live in this fairytale future. Who knows. I will never know.

But we all have to stop waiting. I see it with my friends. I see it with my family. And worst of all, I see it with myself. I wake up in the morning and I cannot wait until the day is over. Its a Tuesday today, and god I cannot wait for it to be the weekend. In two and a half weeks I go to South Africa and I feel myself counting it down. My brother is worse, he cannot wait until he retires. Its all he talks about. Sometimes I stop. I hit pause on the treadmill of life, and I sit there and I realise is this it. Is this what life is, a series of shitty days which you endure in order to get to the day you have been waiting for, be it Friday, Christmas, holidays, retirement etc. Thats not good enough. I do not want to wait. I want everyday to be a day that imbues me with such joy that I truly am in the moment. 

I want to stop putting off all those things I said I would do like go pole-dancing, read books, date, travel, have fun. Stop making excuses and waiting for fun things to happen, and just do them now.

I think my brother put it best when he wrote on the day my mom died:

“What I can take from this is you have to do the things you talk of now. Cause later might not come. So kiss that girl on the first date, tell your wife how beautiful she looks, buy that puppy and have the baby girl you always talk about. Tomorrow I will continue with my life and make every day one to remember. As for the rest of you. Go hug your mom.”

 

 

Discovering yourself: Who am I

More often then not, we let other people define ourselves. Before we are able to form our own idea of who we are, we are told. This is why it it is so important to define yourself in order to achieve the life you want.

Today’s exercise to help you discover your true authentic self is to fill in the blank: I am _______

Write down, without consciously thinking, what you are. Are you a lawyer, a mom, a student, a friend, tired of life, bored, interested, ambitious etc. Look at these words and decide, do these words/labels correspond to the life you want to live, to the goals you wish to achieve?