This is a phrase I have heard time and time again. “Do what you love.” Up until now, though, I don’t think I have fully internalized what this means.
Part of the reason it has been hard for me to blog as consistently as I used to is because I don’t know how personal I should be about my life on the internet. I’m still figuring that out, but here is a little piece of me that I don’t usually share with people unless I am face-to-face with them.
When I was in high school, I always knew I wanted to become great at the flute. So, that’s what college was going to be about for me—becoming great at the flute. Needless to say, it has been so much more than that, for which I am grateful. What kept me going through all the hard times was that I was “doing what I loved.” No matter how tired I was or how much I was sacrificing my health to be the best I could be, I was doing it because I loved it…right?
One thing that I have come to understand (through experience, mind you…I wouldn’t listen to people when they didn’t tell me what was fun to hear) is that what you become great at, what you do all day every day, what you career is—that’s work. Sure, it can definitely be enjoyable and can fill you with inspiration, but to become great at something, you have to pay the price. Once you decide to pay that price, it stops being your hobby. It’s hard work. There’s no way around it.
When I was a TA for physical science, my boss would tell me (in my moments of frustration with my major…she was a great psychologist) is that in order for me to stay motivated in music while working this hard is to do something that I really enjoy doing, just for the sake of loving life. It seems counter-intuitive, really, to sacrifice valuable practice hours to take time and smell the roses for a bit every day (or every week…whatever you can manage) to actually become better at what you do. It didn’t make sense to me. However, I have come to realize that when I maintain a hobby outside of my specialty, I am much happier with myself.
Do what you love. Don’t turn what you love into a job, unless you want it to be your job. Then find something else that you love and do it often.
I want to apologize for being so negative about my graduate school experience so far. After thinking this over, I see that in order to savor these moments, I have to make sure that I am doing what I love, at least some of the time. Don’t get me wrong—I love the flute. It’s just important to have an out.
Do what you love!