I dug out a torn piece of paper from a drawer today. It was one of probably a hundred notebook sheets hidden all over my apartment where I have written down things I am good at, interests, things I enjoy and things I want in life. I’ve spent hours and hours writing these lists, staring at them and thinking so hard about what the next step should be, my brain started hurting.
On this list, I had written;
Things I like to do or have skills in: writing, art and crafts, marketing, interior decorating, communication, recruitment, coaching…
What I am: creative, international, flexible, structured, efficient…
Where I want to spend time: Sweden, Italy, USA and any new place I haven’t visited yet.
What is important to me: time to relax, freedom, moving my body, being in nature.
I believe that this specific list was from 2009, when I had just moved and was figuring out (again!) what to do with my life. I had just written the list and stared at it for a few days while hoping to connect some dots, then put it away and got on with my life.
I was in my mid-thirties at the time and had been contemplating what to do with my life since my early teens, so it wasn’t for lack of trying that I was still looking for answers.
One day, I just decided to stop. After all these years of thinking and searching, I finally gave up searching and just started doing. If I had ONE big passion that I would give up everything else for, I think I would know about it by now. At some point, it probably would have worked its way into my life. Yet people keep telling others to find their passion, as if they have somehow failed in their search.
I don’t have a passion — I have several things that I enjoy doing. Even several things that I am passionate about. And I can do all of them. The key word here being DO.
I don’t need to see where I am going — I can’t predict the future anyway. I don’t need to know when I start, how I can use my skills and interests to create the ultimate piece of art, job, business, side hustle or whatever it may be. All I need to do is to maximize the time I spend doing things I enjoy and see where it takes me. See what new ideas come up.
Now, I make sure that my lists are actionable lists and routines and not just stuff I dream about that may or may not happen.
I have a new list that looks more like this:
Travel — I love it and I do it! I spend at least 3 months abroad every year and am constantly working on ways to travel more. When I come home from one trip, I immediately plan the next one. I always have something booked.
USA — I try to go at least once a year on average.
Italy — Same thing here.
Writing — I blog, write articles and post them online and am also working on two different books. The key thing being that I actually put things out there, not just save them on my laptop.
International marketing, communication and recruitment — all a part of my current day job (that I applied for specifically to get these things into my life).
Reading — I am always looking to learn and understand other people’s experiences. I read every day (books and articles) and make sure to always have something new on my Kindle.
Learning — I follow people I can learn from every day, whether it is listening to a podcast, reading something or taking an online course.
Art and crafts — I don’t just create, but also try to sell or at least put the stuff out there. I have opened a shop on Etsy and another art website.
Routines and structure — I have a daily morning routine and evening routine to help me reach my goals and to stay focused.
Nature/environment — Being out in nature and in a calm environment is vital for my health and sanity and I make sure to go for a walk along the beach or in a green area every day.
Meditation — A part of my morning routine that has improved my ability to stay calm and to focus during the day.
I could go on and on, but the point is I am doing something about all or most of my interests. I refuse to wait until I have the answers. I refuse to be held back by fear or insecurities. I refuse to limit myself to thinking and planning. The only limitation I have now is time and energy. Luckily, doing the things I enjoy and setting my new routines has given me more energy (and more ideas!). And as I have eliminated all the time when I was just sitting around watching TV or feeling depressed because I didn’t know what to do with my life, I have more time now as well.
I still don’t have all the answers. I don’t know where I will live, what I will do or if my dreams will be my reality in the future. Ask me again when I am eighty. But for now, I am happier, am spending more time doing the things I love and am achieving more than ever. I am letting my curiosity run free, I am taking action and I am watching the magic happen…
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Originally published at medium.com