Written by Saransika Pandey (Batch of 2016)
When I was a kid, and I use the term “kid” loosely because I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I felt this way till a few weeks back, I used to think that doing what you love came naturally. To me, it meant that you would not have to be dragged out of bed or bribed with your little materialistic heart’s desires to get you to do it, and most important of all, your motivation would never die down. Honestly, I thought that doing what you love meant that you would still be doing it regardless of how shitty your life was, even if it was so because of it. Alas, like most things I believed when I was a kid, this turned out to be a gigantic lie, but I was too stubborn and blind to accept it despite repeated lessons my dear life taught me.
Perhaps because I have a mild form of ADD in life generally or just the fact that I’m actually moderately multi-talented but I absolutely lack discipline and determination (the explanation entirely depends on how my self-esteem is feeling at that particular time you ask me this), I’ve tried a lot of different things and I actually enjoy doing quite a few of them. So if I were to make a list of my hobbies, it would definitely include sketching, painting, swimming, writing, singing, making short films etc etc. Now the weirdest part about having tried and enjoyed a lot of such activities, and being somewhat okay-ish without much practice, is that I would automatically include them in my “alternate career options” list. Trust me, all corporate-lawyers-to-be have this list. I would tell all my closest friends about how I may have been sort of thinking about being an XYZ (insert: artist/musician/writer/filmmaker/profession of the month). Being the good people that they are, they would encourage me and naively trust me to work towards that dream, every single time. Needless to say, I didn’t actually go through with any of my plans, and except during those heavily intoxicated darkest hours before the sunrise, I would never even bother to ask myself that dreaded “what if?”.
It took me years and years to realise that identifying what you love to do is not enough, you have to continuously work at it. Yes, sometimes it can become work. Those wonderful quotes in Tumblr-esque posts which tell you to do what you love so you won’t ever have to work a day in your life are very motivational, but very basic. In my case, at least. I had to force myself to treat my hobbies as work because I had become someone who knew exactly what she loved doing, but I would never get around to actually doing it otherwise. I kept making excuses about how I had so much else going on, and burying myself in self-generated doubt about how others would probably judge me and how I pretty much sucked anyway, so why even bother trying. I constantly compared my beginning to everyone else’s peak, and that difference in quality would only discourage me instead of motivating me to get there. I know that this may seem a bit absurd to many of you because you do what you love and you love what you do. I am very happy for you. I am not there yet, but thankfully, now I think have reached that point where I at least accept that my earlier state of mind was poisonous and not conducive to any form of growth at all.
I still have to mentally prepare myself to type a 600 word article, but that’s okay. I guess, sometimes, you just have to force yourself to do what you love.• The author can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.