I haven’t had a “real job” for the past 23 years.
I have been a photographer, a custom frame maker, a paw-lm reader (that’s like a palm reader except for animal paws), I made and sold bird feeders out of gourds I grew, I make jewelry, taught photography classes and have a list of other things that I want to try because my heart is always leading me in different directions.
In summary, I have been making it up as I go.
Sometimes, when people ask that ubiquitous get-to-know-you question, “What do you do?” I cringe a bit because every answer I can think of sounds like play time. It doesn’t sound grown-up. It doesn’t sound responsible. But I am doing just fine and I live a happy life in which every day is different. I meet new people all the time and I am constantly learning and being challenged. So why should I feel embarrassed about this chosen path?
Recently, I heard a podcast that spoke to me in a way that made the hair on my arms stand up. It just felt TRUE.
Author Elizabeth Gilbert was talking about how she used to give talks urging people to follow their passion. She thought this was great advice because it had served her so well in life. She continued spreading this message until one day she received an email from a woman who was in the audience at her most recent talk. The woman confided that the message of “follow your passion” made her feel like a loser because as a middle-aged woman she was still unaware of what her passion was.
She felt like she was somehow broken because she couldn’t identify or name anything that she felt compelled to do.
This message caused Elizabeth to reevaluate her thinking and she now urges people to follow their CURIOSITY.
In the podcast, she says there are two kinds of people.
Jackhammers and hummingbirds.
Jackhammers are people who are very clear about what they are on earth to do. They plow away at it with their heads down and get the work done. This is how she thinks of herself. She has always known she wanted to be a writer and her life has been about making that happen.
The other type of person is a hummingbird. Of these people, she says this: Hummingbirds flit from tree to tree and flower to flower and two things happen. They create incredibly rich and complex lives for themselves and they also end up cross-pollinating the world. Taking what you learn from this thing and bringing it to the next thing. That is the service you do as a hummingbird person.
“I think this might the most important subject I’ve ever talked about. For those of you who are suffering from shame because you’ve never found your “passion”….oh, my dear tired beautiful hummingbirds, this one is for you. I love you. You’re perfect.” -Elizabeth Gilbert
I identify as a hummingbird so much because I am happily flitting about from one thing to the next without rhyme or reason, but I do know that what I learned about photography has helped me in setting up a website and selling jewelry. What I learned about teaching helps me share stories about the products I make. There are a million other nuggets of wisdom I take from various areas that I use in whatever project has captivated my attention at any given moment.
The best part about this whole message is this: You are ok.
I am ok.
We are all created the way we are to serve each other and the world in different but equally valuable ways.
There’s nothing wrong with me! I am a hummingbird!
I was so inspired by this, I made a necklace for myself to wear as a reminder of this fact. It’s a coin from Trinidad and Tobago featuring a perfect little hummingbird doing what hummingbirds do best.
See it on my website by clicking the picture.