Do What You Love


I looked through a few old drafts the night before last.  Just pieces of thoughts that never got strewn together; they’re from so long ago that I forget what I was trying to say now.  When I started this blog, technically in December 2010, I knew I wanted to write about my love of languages and literature, but I was having trouble talking about my passions in a way that would interest other people.  I’m still not sure if I’ve achieved that goal yet.

You don’t need to be a religious/spiritual person to appreciate this book.

One of my favorite works of fiction is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.  I have it as an audiobook, read by Jeremy Irons, as well as in paperback; I’ve read/listened to it over 100 times.  The theme of the story discusses how to discover and pursue one’s “personal legend”, something that the main character struggles with for most of the book.  This is natural though, yes?  Do you know anyone who finds their passion, at any age, and continues to run head-long towards it for the rest of their lives?  (I do, it’s my brother–see how he does it here.)  That kind of dedication takes something more than faith in your own abilities; it takes willpower – to get up and get going on your dream, every day – and stubbornness – to tell people ‘no’ when they ask you to let go of your dream or try to distract you with something shiny.

One of my favorite quotes from The Alchemist is from the main character’s friend who is pursuing his own personal legend to become an Alchemist: “It was my fear of failure that first kept me from attempting the Master Work. Now, I’m beginning what I could have started ten years ago. But I’m happy at least that I didn’t wait twenty years.”

Ain’t that the truth.

I don’t practice any religion; I don’t believe in fate or destiny; I don’t think each person has one path they must travel to follow through with their “personal legend”, but I DO have my reasons for writing (and yes, I realize I’m lovin’ the bullet points recently):

  • It makes me happy to see my thoughts come out as words.
  • It’s cathartic – therefore, it keeps me sane.
  • I’m a little narcissistic = I like that other people might want to know what I have to say.
  • I have stories of other people and places swirling around upstairs.
  • I like describing vivid settings, especially in poetry.
  • If I write something down and share it, I could find that someone else feels, thinks, or acts the same way I do.  Collaboration is something I want more of, but haven’t found much of yet.
  • Practice might actually be able to make perfect.  I want to find out.

Have any advice for me or other readers on chasing dreams?  Feel free to comment below or send me an email!  jmwalker17 (at) gmail (dot) com

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About jmmack

Full-time swim coach and pool program manager in the Seattle area. Swimmer, writer, cross-stitcher, HP fan, wife, sister, auntie of two nephews, human to a feisty Jack-Russell mix.
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5 Responses to Do What You Love

  1. Chris says:

    Sometimes you have to be forced to “pursue your personal legend”. At the age of 47, I lost my job last December. It’s the first time that’s happened in my life, and I thought it would be the end of me. Turned out, it was the best thing that ever happened. I discovered that there’s more to life than reporting every day to the daily grind. I discovered that sometimes it’s okay to depend on someone else for awhile. I discovered it’s never too late to learn something new and that the best thing you can do for yourself is to pursue your passion and let it take you where it will. The job that you end up with isn’t important at all, as long as it’s something that you enjoy doing!

  2. Devon Hay says:

    Can you read “read” an audiobook? Don’t you listen? ;)

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