Are you working to live, or living to work?

There is nothing more likely to advance your writer’s block than signing up for a 30-day blogging challenge! I have penned from the heart for many years, about topics as diverse as Home Renovation, Pets, Wildlife and even Amusing Children in Church, but having made the simple decision to offer this talent to assist fellow small businesses, I stop and ponder how I have travelled the road less taken and attempt to avoid this obstacle.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? And then, what happened? I must have been more in tune with myself all those years ago, as my younger self dreamt of creative pursuits. However, in the late seventies, career options were pretty much limited to banking, nursing or retail and so I stumbled along the latter pathway, not knowing or planning any better. Others follow their hearts and talents earlier than I, and yet still, at some stage, change their minds, having fallen out of love with their original goal. At what stage are we really “grown up” enough to know what is best for us?

I often joke that I still do not know what I want to be when I grow up. Many people change direction in spectacular fashion on reaching a landmark stage of their lives; often prompted by changes in health, age, employment or relationships. In my recent travels, I met an enchanting group of young children, who had suffered dire misfortune in their earlier years. I was struck by their positivity; just like their more privileged counterparts they chatted eagerly of hopes to become a singer, a dancer, a lawyer. It is my firm belief that we do not need to wait for some life-changing moment, or be born with the proverbial silver spoon, all that is needed is to want that change deeply enough, to take a slow breath and then listen to our inner child.

Carpe Diem (seize the day), and many other such well-worn, ancient phrases, surround us in this internet age. Research into any chosen activity is at our fingertips. Knowledge that would have called for many hours of library trawling, can now be accessed in the comfort of our own favourite seat. But how much of our lives do we waste just sedentary in our comfort zones? Many people stay in uncomfortable or unfulfilling situations simply waiting for that long-awaited lottery win, the knight in shining armour or the perfect opportunity to land in their lap. So how much is the good fortune in our lives down to fate, desperation or perspiration?

It is not my intent or place to preach on how to build a better life. Lord knows, my own bumpy path is not a shining example or fodder for a Dummy’s guide. Instead I urge you, if you yearn to live a happier, more fulfilling life, to take time to reflect and dream.

1.       Listen to your heart

2.       Identify what you are passionate about, it will probably also be where your talent lies.

3.       Talk to others who know you, can encourage in an informed way and have no personal agenda related to your chosen path.

4.       Do it, NOW! Make a start, do not put it off, for this time will be lost for ever.

5.       Don’t give up. Nobody can say it will be easy, but persevere. You will know in your core when you are following the right route.

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever”

                                                                                     Mahatma Gandhi

16 thoughts on “Are you working to live, or living to work?

  1. Perfect timing for me to read this right now. Thank you so much Hilary. This is truly inspiring and so encouraging for anyone who has decided to go for it and live to work on something they have a passion for.


  2. Great writing Hilary and choice of subject especially at this time of year. I feel our sap rises in the Spring along with the rest of nature and gives us energy for change and new adventures.


  3. Great words Hilary. For years I worked in a field that didn’t fit me. Parts of it I loved and that’s what kept me going, but deep down I hankered for freedom and a creative life. There are a lucky few who achieve this, but for most of us we need to balance that with an income. Now I have no income but I have the freedom and creativity I sought. Luckily I recognised that money does not buy happiness or security, sometimes we have to take risks and to follow our dream. I look forward to seeing where this next adventure and chapter take you – enjoy it!!


  4. Excellent food for thought Hillary. I enjoyed a long career in a job I loved (mostly!). Since I have been retired I don’t know who I am any more! How dreadful to let myself be defined by my job, but when it has been your life for nearly 40 years, where do you go when it is all over? I have been very lucky in my career but am still trying to ‘find myself’ in this phase of my life. You article gives me plenty to think about and ponder this question. Thanks,


    1. Yes Jude, that transition can be tough. I would suggest finding a quiet place and listening to what your heart is telling you to do – then going for it! I’ll look forward to hearing what that turns out to be 😉


  5. This is an amazing post. I liked reading it. I myself do not want to follow the the template path created by this world. get education, get a job, get married, have children then earn and earn and earn for your future. It feels we are in a race and everybody wants to be a winner. I renounce it.
    The quote in the end is amazing. If you were referring to Mahatma Ghandi as its author, I would humbly like to point out,it is Mahatma Gandhi ( not Mahatma Ghandi).

    Thank you.


    1. Thank you so much for taking the time, not only to read my post, but to comment as well. Your kind words are much appreciated. Please forgive me for the inexcusable spelling mistake, which I shall correct immediately. No disrespect to the great man was intended. Good luck with your own journey 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I absolutely relate to every word in your post. I was directionless and just went with the flow or what my parents wished for me but the tides changed and at the age of 40, I had to take up a career.its been 13 years and I am still struggling to find my niche and I ain’t giving up that’s for sure. Let’s see what’s in store for me, even at this age.


    1. Thank you, glad you enjoyed my post. It can be tricky knowing what to do can’t it? Just be open to new ideas and positive in your thinking and I am sure what is meant to be will come along! None of us know what’s in store for us 😉 take care x


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