Half-Way Mark Happiness — Doing What Drives You When No Longer a Youngster
When I was younger, I was pretty much aimless and pursued everything I fancied with nary a thought about whether I would actually excel at it. Anything that looked or sounded fun, I was in. However, with that said, there were a few things that got my heart fluttering and body out of bed…which is hard.
I’m terrible at getting up from bed.
Examples would be badminton (or any other sport that I could enjoy with my friends), exciting books on romance (don’t laugh), sci-fi, and historical fiction, and music.
The thing with being young is that you’re always ready to pursue different things presented to you at that moment, so, as far as I can remember, I was a goody-two-shoes in high school. I got into trouble for mostly reading books that were not textbooks in class, talking with my friends, skipping classes for too many other activities not related to studies, and being late for school.
I only got into more serious trouble with authorities in college where my circle of friends diversified and was introduced to vices legal to adults. 😂
These ventures absolutely made me do a 180. I got more opportunities for performances — singing, dancing, performing on stage, emceeing, choreographing, voice recording, etc. It is a very funny personality arc but it helped develop the many other facets of my life.
It was a time of experiment, trials and errors, discovery, and figuring out what I really wanted to do for the rest of my life. I knew, however, these new talents were not going to take me anywhere since there was no YouTube, VLIve, Twitch, social media, or whathaveyounots.
The truth is that without these media outlets, I wasn’t at all self-conscious. Every day, I would spend my time making those mistakes and had no idea nor the sense of urgency to ‘perfect them’. As a marketable skill. There was no mentor, just friends who did silly things along with me.
Thinking back, I relished the freedom, the lack of responsibility, unbridled rigor, free time, and I didn’t think about anything else other than to do my best and watch the results.
Was there a voice in my head telling me to do ONE thing really well? Did I feel guilty for not focusing on my studies more?
The answer is Yes and Yes.
Approaching adulthood, I knew that the real world was waiting for me out there and there was no way these new ‘skills’ and ‘experiences’ would help me become the kind of person I wanted to be for the rest of my life. Being a performer in Malaysia in the 1980s was a hopeless dream, unlike how one would feel living in another country. I also knew that if I studied more, I would do so much better, and being a lawyer could be the paved path to a ‘successful life’.
So, at barely 20 and slightly older than that, I was torn between doing something I really loved and enjoyed, and doing something that keeps me alive. But as with all youngsters, responsibility was something that waited for you far off on the horizon and if I played my cards right, it might not be as bad as my parents and other older people made it out to be.
So, why would I give up something that I enjoyed doing so much?
Life as it turns out has something else in store for people like me. It would push you into situations that would make you think about all those things that you’ve spent your youth pursuing.
For the past few years, I am back in that situation whereby I am trying out different things again because the internet has presented us with so many opportunities. Like I did everything from badminton to bowling, netball to singing, dancing to squash, I am, once again, trying to find my drive.
I ran into roadblocks, became disenchanted and disappointed, cried at night wondering if it was the right path, am I giving things up or SHOULD I give things up, and will I be able to ‘start all over again’. So, when people say that at a particular age, you’ll come face to face with reality and the second childhood.
Man, they’re right on that one.
The difference is that I am now involving myself in different things in hope of growing into the person I want to be remembered as, not just seeing the results. For example, when I write, I want to enjoy the process, not see the number of likes, followers, or readers. I value the peace, serenity, and sense of accomplishment that it gives me.
When I promote a company digitally, I no longer look at the monthly invoice I send them, instead, if I were able to do something totally awesome (in my books) or if a campaign hits its mark, that makes me really happy. When I help someone struggling with something, I feel happy about it for days.
I don’t romanticize all those things that I used to anymore, and I’m less upset by setbacks and countless failures. The focus is me actually doing something about it, how I felt about it, and knowing that I put everything I had in me to make it work.
Working with people who share my passion is important to me these days. It’s no longer the amount of money they pay me, the working hours, the distance I have to travel, or what they want me to do. It’s about the drive that wakes me up every morning. Am I passionate about it? Are the people working with me the kind of people who drive me? Do I drive them? Are they kind and empathic? Do they share my values?
Of course, am I happy doing it?
I am a human, mother, woman, writer, copywriter, editor, digital marketer, SEO specialist but, most of all, a flawed human. This article was originally published in my blog, www.MarshaMaung.Blogspot.com.