Have you ever noticed how we strive to get to the next best thing in life? We work our tails off at our jobs or in school so that we can level up in life.
When I finished college, I thought I could change the world. I wanted nothing more than to work with animals and maybe do a little painting on the side. With my degree in hand, I got a job at a vet clinic. I had to start at the very bottom working in the kennels. I didn’t aspire to get a Zoology degree and then walk dogs, but that was where I was. I had the opportunity to work my way up, and with experience and patience, I could be a technician.
It was a ruff job, but I worked hard and tried to give it my all. From picking up poop to answering phones and scheduling appointments to cleaning Fido’s teeth, I made it to the position that I wanted. Unfortunately, I wasn’t happy.
I enjoyed working with animals. It was what I always wanted to do, but the position wasn’t a good fit for me. I was tired and stressed at the end of every day. I felt better volunteering at the zoo than I did working for a paycheck. I was burned out at twenty-six, and I needed to find my purpose in life.
I took a hiatus from the clinic scene and dove into, of all things, real estate. People that strove to make lots of money surrounded me, but that wasn’t the right fit either. While I worked as an apartment locator, I was able to start a family with my husband. It wasn’t long before his employment opportunities brought me back to my home town.
Instead of going back to school or searching for a whole new job, I had the privilege to stay home for my children. I quickly started volunteering in my community to help where I could and be a good role model for my son and daughter. It wasn’t long before I was active in efforts to support our local wildlife.
When the writing and the illustrating bug bit me, I embraced it and started creating works about animals. I loved letting the creativity flow. I tapped into the knowledge from school and work to help make entertaining books and quality art.
I never expected to walk along this path. I stopped looking at the next best thing and focused on doing what I do well. Ironically, I am fulfilling the goal I started with, working with animals and art. I’m just not doing it the way I imagined.
At each step in my life, I took a hard look at what I was doing. I worked hard to do well at each job, but I realized that we don’t always move up in the world. We should also consider lateral moves, especially if they take us on a fulfilling path.
I’ve been asked many times if I want to be a famous author/artist or make lots of money. The fame and money don’t bring me the happiness that following my purpose gives me. At this moment, I am playing my proper role. It may change in the future, and that is okay. If that time comes, I will follow my purpose and forget about holding a high position. It’s not who we are, but what we do to make the world a better place that matters.