What do you do? 

It's one of the most common questions we get asked. Sometimes this question is posed before ones like how are you?

Much of our identity is formed through our job(s). I used to identify a lot of with what I did for a living. Speaking as someone who's recently quit her full-time job of 6+ years to pursue dreams of moving and working in London, this post is about work, identity, and jobs — and how I've come to redefine all three. 

My early 20s were slightly predictable and you couldn't pay me to re-live them. HOORAY for turning 27! After high school, I went to college, after college I did an internship, after that, I started working. I worked really hard. I got a job that not only paid my bills but that I genuinely loved. I had made it (whatever that means). There's a lot of pressure to get that first "real" job. There isn't as much of a focus on what to do after that. After a six year career, I accomplished a lot. I learned a lot. I worked very hard to get to where I did. But I did reach a point where I didn't feel challenged. I stopped growing at the rate that I wanted. I felt that I needed a big change. 

These past two months have been strange in that I haven't been working full time for the first time in over six years. This time has been so valued and has allowed me to figure out what's next. It has also taught me the value of not letting one single job be my whole life. When I let go of everything I had created — a career, a job, a work-life, I could clearly see who I am without it. For me, this was the only way to really know and feel my worth. I've given myself the opportunity to take a minute to sense my next career direction and I'm really excited about what I now know. 


The difference between my job and my life's work

I was listening to one of Oprah's podcasts and her guest was Wes Moore discussing if jobs are our life's purpose. He said something that really resonated with me. He said that our job is not our (life's) work. What we do for a living shouldn't define our identity. 

We all need money to live on. This is reason enough to not define ourselves by what we do. This whole experience has made me take a deep look at how I spend my time. I thought I would be so bored during the job search here in London. The truth is I've been just as busy as before — despite not working full time. My life's work as I now call it, is the reason why I've been so occupied. All the while I was working full time at the beginning of my career, I didn't realize that I was also planting seeds that would serve me later on.

Shirt: French Connection. Pants: Primark. Shoes: H&M. Glasses: Clearly

What have I been up to? 

I have been working part-time in a yoga studio at reception as well as teaching a class once a week. For the month of September, I've been volunteering at the London Design Biennale three days per week. In between, I have been doing photoshoots, writing blog posts, and of course — applying to full-time jobs. I've been meeting people and making friends, exploring my new city, and organizing the admin of my life. These things make me so happy. They are part of my life's work. 

Who you are, what you do, the affect you have on others, what you give, what you create — these are what define your life's work. The trick is finding opportunities to do all of the above. Once I began to focus my thoughts on the things I am passionate about, the opportunities started to appear. 


How it's formed and how I am re-inventing mine 

Identity really fascinates me. It's so fluid. So sensitive. We almost have to watch it and how it affects us. For a few years at least, my identity was hazy. It wasn't strong or confident. I was just trying to keep my head above water and going with the so-called flow. 

I re-designed my resume two months before I moved to London. I also made a creative portfolio. These were the hardest documents I've ever had to create. I realized that I had sort of lost touch with what I was capable of. What was I made of? I asked myself this a lot. It turns out I was made of all these awesome things that had become such normal parts of my day that I never took the time to appreciate them. 

I had to take the time to figure out what I had to offer of value, what my skills were, and feel confident in naming off accomplishments. I had to become an expert in my own professional self. I can't explain how good it feels to actually take the time to do this.


Can we make money doing what we love?

Yes and no. Sometimes we just need to pay our bills. Some people can't work for various reasons. Sometimes what we love to do just doesn't pay in money. The point of defining your life's work based on everything you are as a person, your volunteering commitments, your art, your services to others, is because jobs are sometimes just there to pay the bills. My various other fulfilling activities and commitments is what keeps me going when I have to do jobs that pay but don't fulfill me in other ways. What I have discovered, though, is I can bring elements of my life's work into any job. 

Life really is a miracle and I am grateful for each day. The fact that I can breathe, walk, talk, love, dance, sing, cook, write — is amazing. We are all magical miracles of life and the fact that we exist means we have purpose. We matter and we're here to inspire, uplift, and marvel at this amazing thing called life. 

So let's get to work. 


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In my last post, I shared some big news and also wrote about my struggles with being alone in a new country. 

To catch you up, I moved to London, England, just over one month ago. It's been a lifelong dream and goal of mine that has finally been brought to fruition. One of my biggest over-arching challenges has been constantly trying to silence the self-doubting voices and maintain a level of self-confidence needed to do the things I need ~and want~ to do. 

I've been spending a lot of time alone. Not necessarily by choice. I knew this would be inevitable — living in a new city — and I knew it would be my biggest challenge and teacher.

Just a few years ago and even sometimes now, I would fill my days with a lot of stuff. All good stuff, mind you, but it was a lot. Being always in a state of "so busy" meant I never had to be alone with myself and my thoughts. This worked for me until it didn't. And then I had to find some sort of solution. I owe a lot to Kundalini Yoga and daily meditation practice. But that's another post (or def one I've already done). 

One of the reasons I wanted to move somewhere I don't have many friends and zero family was to see what it feels like to be alone. Like really alone. I wanted to feel what that feels like in an authentic way. Back when I would fill my life with so many events, work, meetings, and hang outs, I sort of lost touch with who I was as an individual. 

I wanted to know what happens when I don't have all my comforts — people, places, things — at my disposal. Who am I without those things? How do strangers perceive me? How do I react? 

I've now spent a month in self-reflection mode and am working on taking responsibility for my feelings, emotions and actions. 

Top: Atika Jeans and Belt: New Look Purse: Lady Arkenstone Vintage Shoes: L'Intervalle

I'll explain it like this. I try to give everyone I meet — new friends, cashiers, salespeople, waiters, bank tellers, and librarians — a blank slate. 

Here's a story. I have been frequenting my local library to work on my laptop. I have this newfound appreciation for libraries and the way they hold space for all — without expecting anything in return. Especially as a newbie to the city, it's a place I can always depend on.

During a recent visit, I decided to check out some books and picked two out. I brought them to the desk and *tried* to check them out. I got rejected because my account doesn't have that type of access just yet. Longgg story short: I need to provide proof of address which I still don't have because I am waiting for various documents in the mail. When the librarian rejected my request to check out books, I wanted to freak out. 


She doesn't know this but this is probably the sixth time I've received this type of rejection. Mostly from banks. The admin of setting up life in a new country is a major headache and this one at the library was the straw that broke the camel's back

I really felt like snapping with major attitude. But I reminded myself that this librarian is simply relaying a message surrounding a policy she specifically has nothing to do with. She also doesn't know the rejections I've faced. And it doesn't matter. I took a few seconds before reacting in a way I'd regret. I took responsibility for my emotions and reacted with a simple "Ok, thank you."

I've become hyper-aware of reactions that derive from a deep place. This has helped me understand where other people's reactions are coming from. I think a lot of conflict hardly ever comes from a surface-level place. It's often a few layers deep. This is why I try my best to be compassionate to everyone I meet. We don't know the layers they're carrying. And we don't need to involved them in our layers. 

photography: Leanne Dixon

I'm trying my best to embrace being alone and all the lessons it brings. I know it won't be long before my schedule begins to fill and I'll have the pleasure of being in the company of others. Until then, I'm going to embrace this period of self-reflection and enjoy my own company. Cause it's pretty awesome.  

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