Dropping The Idea of a “Soul-Career”

Dropping The Idea of a “Soul-Career”

soul-job

Soul Mates.  The romantic idea of one person made just for you.  No others could ever bring love and joy and fulfillment.  Just him.  Just her.  Is this romantic notion fact or fiction?  Some hold to this concept like a religion and spend their life searching for and holding onto the one person who completes them.  Others scoff at the idea of there only being one in a sea of billions.

Whether or not you hold to the idea of soul mates, most of us do hold to the idea of “soul-careers.”  And I think it hurts some of us.  Let me explain.

I used to think I must have a soul-career: one tangible career that would lead me into my 50s or 60s happily and successfully.  This idea terrified me.  How was I going to choose THE ONE?  What if I regretted my choice and wanted to breakup from my career?  Would the 45 year old me still be into it?

The Boyfriend and I were talking about how amazing it is to work for ourselves in creative fields while living in various countries throughout the globe, but we both wondered if this was something we’d want to do forever.  If not, what do we do then?!

But I remembered something: life is full of weird twists and turns you could never expect.  Our careers may be like that too.  And even though the core of who we are may stay the same, we are still evolving and changing creatures.  Yet, we sometimes tie our hands by thinking we must have the same career at 22 that we do at 42 and 62.

It goes like this:

We got to school as children.  Then the government suddenly tells us we are adults, and we are to choose a college major that will guide the rest of our lives down the path of our soul-career.  We are supposed to spend 40 hours a week for the next 40 years in this one and only job.  Then we retire and do all the things we’ve always wanted to do.

There are 3 massive problems with this “Soul-Career” concept:

  1. At 18 or 19 or 20 years old, most people still don’t know enough about themselves to confidently choose one career for the rest of their lives.
  2. People change throughout the years.  The person I was 5 years ago is not the exact same person I am today.  The person I’ll be in 20 years – I can’t even imagine who she’ll be!
  3. Hating what you do everyday and praying that retirement comes quickly sounds like a good way to miss out on way too many years of your life.

This is why I think we should drop the concept of the soul-career.  Instead, we should embrace the idea that there may be more fish in the career sea!  Sure, there are some lucky folks who grow up knowing exactly what they want to do for their entire lives.  They confidently choose their major, soar through their careers, and feel sad to leave at retirement.

Then there is the rest of us.  Maybe we don’t know what are passions are, or maybe we have so many passions we don’t know how to choose, or maybe our passions and interests change a lot.  How do we choose our college majors and careers?  What if we’ve already chosen, but want to change our minds?

If you are one of these people, like I am, maybe we aren’t soul-career-ers.  And that is perfectly okay. Here’s the deal for us:

  • You only need to take the next right career step at at time.  Take step 1, then step 2, and don’t try to jump to step 312.  You’re not there yet.  You won’t be there for years. What is going to pay the bills and nicely support you and your family?  What are you good at and interested in right now?  Do those things.
  • If you end up hating the college major or career path you’ve chosen, don’t stay stuck. Get creative.  How can you combine your the education or experience you do have with the path you’d rather go down now?  Maybe you’ve studied medicine for years and hate it, and you want to be a writer.  You could easily write for health companies and market health and medicine as your niche.
  • Sometimes you just yell “Plot Twist!” and change your career: As long as you’re taking care of your responsibilities, the world is yours.  Why feel obligated to stick to one idea? Yes, it will take some hard work and extra time, probably some extra learning and dedication too.  But you are not bound to any one career forever.  For inspiration, here’s a list of 13 awesome people who did a huge career change.

So my friends –

If you are currently making the college major choice with fear in your eyes.  BREATHE.

If you are starting a new job and have no idea if you can make it into your career.  BREATHE.

If you are a few years in and like it, but wonder if there is something else out there.  BREATHE.

If you flat-out hate your career and want to switch.  BREATHE.

If you’re a parent who wants to dump the career to be a full-time parent. BREATHE.

Then remember –

There are seasons in life.  Winter doesn’t have to look the same as spring.

You. Are. Not. Stuck.  Be bold and be brave.  And lose the idea of a “Soul-Career” – there are so many other fish in the career sea.

P.S. – I love writing.  I thought I would write 80% of the time and edit 20% of the time.  That’s changing.  I’m finding that I like the balance of about 60% editing work and 40% writing work.  Also, someday I may teach.  Also, someday I’d like to be an activist.  Also, someday……..

soul_career

Ladies, You Need to Follow Your Arrow

Ladies, You Need to Follow Your Arrow

arrow

Have you ever had a moment in your life when you realize, I mean deeply and terrifyingly realize, that you’ve gone way off track?  You knew who you were at one point in your life, but the person inhabiting your body now is foreign to you.  Mama always said to not talk to strangers and yet, somehow, you’re that stranger.

I would look at my hands and think, “Yes, these are Taylor’s hands.”  I would hear myself speak and think, “Yes, this is Taylor’s voice.”  But I examined the life I was living and thought, “Who the hell is this woman?”

This important, yet freaky realization typically comes at rock bottom.  The end of your rope.  Fortunately, that’s the same spot where inspiration typically comes knocking.  For me, inspiration peaked its head around the corner in the form of a Facebook photo quote a couple years ago.  This exact one:

Follow Your Arrow

 

Arrow.  Focus.  Launch.  Aim.  These words resonated with me, so I latched on to them.  There was something there for me in the midst of the muck.  I was backward, and I was being dragged by difficulties.  So the thought of being launched into something great was fine by me!!

Enter Kasey Musgraves.  About the same time as my “Who Am I?” meltdown, the country singer published this tune called “Follow Your Arrow.”  It goes like this:

If you save yourself for marriage
You’re a bore
If you don’t save yourself for marriage
You’re a whore-able person
If you won’t have a drink
Then you’re a prude
But they’ll call you a drunk
As soon as you down the first one

If you can’t lose the weight
Then you’re just fat
But if you lose too much
Then you’re on crack
You’re damned if you do
And you’re damned if you don’t
So you might as well just do
Whatever you want
So

(Chorus) Make lots of noise
Kiss lots of boys
Or kiss lots of girls
If that’s something you’re into
When the straight and narrow
Gets a little too straight
Roll up a joint, or don’t
Just follow your arrow
Wherever it points

If you don’t go to church
You’ll go to hell
If you’re the first one
On the front row
You’re self-righteous
Son of a-
Can’t win for losing
You’ll just disappoint ’em
Just ’cause you can’t beat ’em
Don’t mean you should join ’em

(Chorus)

Say what you think
Love who you love
‘Cause you just get
So many trips ’round the sun
Yeah, you only
Only live once

(Chorus)
And follow your arrow
Wherever it points

The song is clever and comical, but it makes an important point.  People want lots of conflicting things from us.  We need to be good, but not too good.  Skinny, but not too skinny.  Educated, but only in the “right” fields.  When we play into that, we start pretending. Before we know it, we get to that point where we don’t even know who we are.

There is so much talk about going out and FINDING yourself.  But I think sometimes we’ve already been found.  Our natural tendencies and desires, the things that make our eyes light up and our hearts beat a little more quickly – we know those things deep down, or at least we have an inkling. Maybe it’s not only about finding the pieces of who we are; maybe we also need to drop the pieces of who we are not.  What’s left is your arrow.

arrow

My “Arrow” came to represent the real, deep, nitty-gritty Taylor and all my dreams and plans – minus the pretending and role-playing.  Lo and behold, once I started following that arrow, I found out that my life was really interesting TO ME, and I genuinely loved it.

It is THIS concept that has urged me on to create The Interesting Project.  I’m getting close to launching a workbook that helps young women (18-30ish) follow their own arrows by pursuing interesting lives that THEY love. As part of this project, I will also offer free goodies, some blog posts, and newsletters to aid in the process.

I know what it’s like to forget about your arrow. I know what it’s like to be pulled backward from life’s difficulties. But I also know what it’s like when you follow that arrow and really start pursuing an interesting life you love. THAT is what I want for my fellow ladies.

If you are a young woman wanting to move from thinking about your dreams into LIVING your dreams, The Interesting Project will be for you.  Please subscribe to my new newsletter right here, and you will be updated as soon as The Interesting Project Workbook and all the other cool stuff is available.

Remember, my friends, your arrow is there. Follow it wherever it points!

Subscribe to Taylor DuVall's Newsletter!

Blogging: I’m Coming Back to the Heart of It

Blogging: I’m Coming Back to the Heart of It

I started blogging because I had something to say, and I liked to write. Somewhere between then and now I lost the IT.  The WHY THE HELL am I doing this.  I’m taking it back.

If you’re not in the blogosphere, you may not know that there are literally THOUSANDS of articles out there on how to create the perfect blog/post to receive views.  Tips to go viral, build readership, etc. The more views you get, the more followers you get and opportunities to write PAID sponsored posts and advertisement.

That’s all great.  There is nothing wrong with this; everybody should learn about their craft AND pay the bills.  Nobody wants to do a lot of work to get only 5 hits on your new blog post.  But I had slowly felt inundated with feelings of inadequacy when reading about these algorithms to get high views and followers.

Things like:

the exact way to phrase a title to make it totally Pin-able

the exact way to create images for Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest

the exact group to join to boost your comments

the fonts and hashtags to use and not use

the phrases and topics to use and avoid

the way to format your paragraphs just right for optimal reading

the need for writing 6 posts a week that are all the “correct” word count

the exact way to become a social media master

I couldn’t keep up.  I had SO MUCH anxiety.  Instead of enjoying writing about topics I’m passionate about, I was freaking out and spending SO MUCH TIME putting out these “perfect” posts that followed x, y, and z.  Some did go mildly viral.  My following even grew some.  But I lost the IT of why I wanted to blog.  I wasn’t always being fully true to myself.

All this info on blogging is valuable and may be the exact way I should be doing things to make money, grow, and extend my reach.  If you’re a blogger, it may be some of the most solid advice you can take.  But I’ve come to my own personal conclusion since I can’t keep up anymore:

To put it eloquently, F*CK IT!

I’m tired of trying to force my words and ideas into a certain box that’s considered the “way to do it” even though it truly may be the way to do it.  I’m doing it MY way. I want my \ blog to be so incredibly…me.

I sat in bed this morning and looked at some of the blogs I adore that got me into blogging.  These are all HUGELY popular.  I noticed something.  They aren’t all the same or following the same “rules.”  Not by a long shot.  And they don’t always have perfectly cropped and edited images.  Each of these blogging women simply have interesting lives and ideas, and they share them with their readers. 

On one of her “Big Magic” podcasts, Elizabeth Gilbert (my idol and author of Eat, Pray, Love) said that in order to be interesting you have to be interested.  I want my blog to be interesting.  Instead of spending all my time studying how to make a Pin on Pinterest bring in thousands of views, I want to soak up all the things I’m interested in.  That interest I have will seep through and make my blog interesting.

And you guys – My life IS interesting.  For example:

I woke up this morning (Sunday) in my studio in Tamarindo, Costa Rica, not knowing what I was going to do today.  Hours later I was belly down on the net of a catamaran and three dolphins swimming RIGHT underneath me!!!!  I could almost touch them!!!  They would jump in and out of the water as if they were putting on a dance.  It was rad.

Maybe a better blogger would have had a camera right there to capture the moment to share it with their readers.  But GUYS!!!!!   I was too busy seeing the dolphins to think about getting the perfect shot.  And you already know what a dolphin looks like!  If not, here is a stock photo:

dolphin-203875_1280

BUT WAIT!  THERE’S MORE!

Then, with snorkeling gear in hand, I went down the catamaran’s slide and into the Pacific.  I saw schools of yellow and blue fish.  AND THEN I HELD A REAL LIFE OCTOPUS!!!!!!  Or rather, it held me.  It suctioned right on to my arm.  AND THEN I HELD A REAL LIFE PUFFER FISH!!!!!!!   I also didn’t get a picture of any of these instances.  Holding an octopus makes you forget to pull out your iPhone and decide on the perfect VSCO filter for your blog.  Here’s a stock photo (not me, obviously):

octopus-523654_1280

I want to share that stuff with you guys.  To me, that’s what’s interesting.  I don’t have the time or the emotional strength to follow all the rules that are supposed to make your blog the latest and greatest.  I’m too busy being interested in other things.  But I promise to share those interesting things with you!

Here’s what to expect: I’ll be writing two or three posts each week that will probably be on travel, womanhood, faith/spirituality, creativity, love, and whatever crazy things/opinions I have up my sleeve.  We can talk about how not to just survive life, but to really THRIVE!  We can talk about the hard and controversial things.  It won’t always be pretty because my life isn’t always pretty.  I may cuss.  I’m not shying away from topics that would traditionally be considered bad for keeping followers.  I will attack the real oooey-goooey parts of life.

I have plenty of freelance clients who can use my knowledge of algorithms and creating viral content.  Here, this is just me.  All my opinions, ideas, and interesting parts of my life.  Without the fear of how many people will click to read.

 

P.S. If you’re a blogger choosing to do your blog a different way, I TOTALLY SUPPORT YOU.

P.S.S. Here is a pic we actually did take today.  Onward, fellow travelers of life!

20150920_172656

Please, Do What You Love. It’s Worth It.

Please, Do What You Love. It’s Worth It.

do what you love

Dear awesome people,

Last Sunday night I had an anxiety attack.  It was Sunday night and I knew when I woke up it would be Monday.  The first Monday morning of my new life, and I freaked.  You see, I walked in May and wore a funny little hat, then I had to go back to finish six credits over the summer.  I finished up in July and headed to the east coast for a vacation.  That was all lovely.  Then Sunday night came, and it brought the realization of what I’d done.

I gambled on this wacky idea that I could do exactly what I wanted to do, not what was “practical.”  A lot was riding on this gamble.  When I got divorced at 22, I could have found some job, moved into some apartment, lived some sort of life.  But I didn’t.  I moved in with my parents, went back to school, became a broke full time student simply because I wanted to major in something traditionally considered useless if not used for teaching: English.   I worked hard so I could have a freelance career that would allow me to travel extensively.

This was an idea I never wavered on until that Sunday night.  What if I had made an expensive mistake?  What if I wasted my time on something that was never going to work?  But you know what happened over last week?  Work poured in.  So much work that I had another mild anxiety attack last night wondering how to do it all.  I’m so grateful that I gambled. This won’t be an easy life, but it’s a life spent doing what I love while traveling the world.  I’m not going to spend my days working a job I hate just to get a check to pay bills.

I don’t think any dream or passion is placed in our minds for no reason.  I think these dreams were there to spur us on to greatness and a fullness of life.  Do what you love.  The Millennial Generation is marked by a desire to be fulfilled by what they do over the desire to make lots of money.

  1. Joy.
  2. Money.

And I’m begging you all to follow suit.  Do what you love.  It’s worth it.   You have one life; fill it with the things that make you excited to be alive.  Even if your passions can’t pay the bills, they should exist in your daily life.  Because why else are we here?

Today I’m grateful: so grateful to have finished up a degree in what I love, so grateful to know I’m spending my life doing what I love.  My heart’s about to burst.  *Currently doing my happy dance*

Love you,

Tay

Grateful Heart w/ Ember Grey

Why Have a Minimalist Wardrobe?

millennial_minimalists

In my journey toward living a more minimalist lifestyle, clothing was the area I was avoiding.  It’s not like it’s complicated.  You can throw clothes away, sell them, donate them – all simple.  So simple in fact that I decided not to make this a “HOW To Have a Minimalist Closet” post.  Because I think we all know how to toss, sell, or give away.   It’s the WHY behind it that’s a bit more difficult.

Clothes.  We need them.  We love them.  Seriously love them – the clothing market in the U.S. brings in 225 billion dollars.  Boiled down to their simplest nature, they’re intended to protect, keep warm, and hide “inappropriate” body parts.   But they’re so much more than that, right?  They are our main identifiers.  Clothes tell a lot about a person’s gender, sexual orientation, culture, economic status, likes/dislikes, cliques, age, or religion.

We are either in or out based on the shirt we pick out for the day.  Clothes are not just tools in our world.  No.  It seems as though, in our world, clothes are us.  Right?  If you don’t have cool clothes, you’re not a cool person, right?  If you don’t have beautiful clothes, you’re not beautiful, right?  Clothes have a lot of power.

It’s a hard spot to be in when you love being fashionable, enjoy purchasing clothes and putting outfits together, and still don’t want clothes to hold so much mystical power over your life.   But that is why having a Minimalist closet is so important.  You get both.  Here’s why:

Why Have a Minimalist Wardrobe?

1. A Minimalist wardrobe saves you money

You show your priorities by how you spend your money.  If a large chunk of my income goes straight to clothing, I’m showing the world and MYSELF that my outward appearance is that significant.  Now, in no way do I think it’s not important.  I love presenting myself well.  But just HOW important is it?  Are there things I value more than yet another pair of shoes?  Traveling comes to mind.  Great date nights and girl’s days.  Paying off debt.

2. A Minimalist wardrobe forces you to choose the pieces you really love

If I’m only going to have a small closet, I’ll need to choose wisely.  I’d rather have 7 outfits I can’t get enough of than 100 outfits I forget about most of the time.  You can pick and choose statement pieces and get rid of the other clutter.  That means everything I slip into has a purpose: either fashionable or functional.

3. A Minimalist wardrobe reminds you where to find your worth

No number of clothes, no matter the price tag, ever adjusts your worth as a human being.  We forget that.  I forget that.  Sure we can buy lots of clothes that make us look like artsy creatives, modest mothers, powerful CEOs, or sex kittens, but none of that actually makes us good at being creatives, mothers, CEOs or sex kittens.  Clothes are inanimate objects.

Maybe try letting go of the clothing you don’t need or care about anymore.  Maybe slow down the buying sprees.  It doesn’t mean stopping, we still need clothes to cover our bodies.  And we can have cute ones.  Remember: A Minimalist wardrobe can still be totally on-point. It’s just not 1,000 articles of on-point.

Minimalist Wardrobe Challenge

More in the #MillennialMinimalist series:

Minimalists, Millennials, and Me

How to be a Beauty Product Minimalist