hold on to youPeople spend the first twenty or so years of their lives trying to figure out who they are, what they like, what they want, what difference they will make in the world.

Most of childhood is spent trying to generate interests and passions. Ways to spend your time that fulfil you and excite you and make you feel like you are doing something wonderful and important. You spend hours trying to decide what you want to study, what you want to commit to.

While you’re young enough to have the freedom to explore all of art and history and science and whatever else might fascinate you, that’s what you do. You devote yourself to a passion. You plan how you’re going to make your living out of this thing that you love. Even if you accept that things aren’t going to go exactly according to plan, you still have that conviction that this is what will define you for the rest of your life.

This thing is your hobby and you want it to be your career. And, when you’re that young and you’ve spent all of your life so far figuring yourself out, that’s what feels like you.

And then you finish studying and you have to start living in the real world.

You get a day job while you’re waiting for your plan to take off, for your big break. You push your passion to your evenings and weekends. Except when you’re too exhausted, or too busy, to do anything other than relax on your time off.

Because we live in a world where it is necessary to have a day job if you want to afford your independence.

But it’s not worth letting this you that you’ve spent all your formative years developing slip away from you because of it.

It’s easy to believe that you’ll be the person who will manage to find the perfect balance. To assume that, just because everyone else lets their bills and their kids and their responsibilities eclipse their dream, doesn’t mean you will.

To assume that you are different can be hugely dangerous to that young you. You need to prove that you are different. Not to the rest of the world. But to the you that you always wanted to be. To the you that dreamed of these adult years, but dreamed them being so very different to how they are now.

Hold onto the hobbies and interests that take up so much of your early life. You put so much effort into choosing the things that defined you then. Don’t let them get swallowed up by something you picked on the spur of the moment, something that’s convenient, something that you didn’t desperately want when you got it. Something that was just easy to get when you needed it.

Don’t get so caught up in the things that take you nowhere that you forget to chase what is important to you, that you forget those things you’ve always wanted. That you stop being that well-constructed, dedicated you.

Kirstie Summers,

Daily Zen.

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