When we are children, we are asked, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" Did you answer doctor? Teacher? Marine Biologist? High school pushes us into a direction of study that will lead into college or a career. We have to choose a major. What title do we want on our diploma? With what occupation do you want to create your identity? Are we conditioned to be this one "thing" that creates our adult identity? Do we have to dedicate ourselves to one thing to become successful?
For example, I am a Hoop Dancer/Performer and Teacher. (Yes, these are actually three somethings.....but you know.)
Background: Before I became a Hoop Dancer, I was a creative mind that once ate, drank, and breathed for graphic design! I wanted to work for a large magazine and whisp around New York City in my stylish clothing and portfolio. I was also an artist that would sporadically draw and paint, make jewelry, and pretty much anything else that I could create with my hands. To back up even further, as a child, I excelled at art, gymnastics, dancing, singing, and DREAMED of being on Broadway! I was social, confident, and driven. I went to college and studied Fine Arts and did pursue my career as a graphic artist in New York City. (The reality was not as pretty behind business doors!) However, with my life path, I ended up moving to the Tampa Bay area of Florida, working as a designer. I eventually switched careers to be an art teacher (you know, because it would be less stressful! ha!). I embraced my new "title".
When I became a hoop dancer, I became obsessed with hooping!!! I embraced the culture and lived and breathed everything hoop. There is something about a piece of plastic that is shaped into a circle with pretty shiny tape that is so addicting! I wanted to "become" a hooper! After three years, I have come to a point where I have asked myself, "Man, what did I do before I hula hooped?" I have been so obsessed with being this image that I see in videos of those who inspire me, that I have lost my true self of what makes me special! (It's funny.....I did the same thing with design. I studied other designers and wanted to be the best!) Is there a point where we need to put our careers on the side for a moment (aka....put the hoop down!) to find who we are as unique individuals again? Do we lose ourself to become successful???
It is easy to become obsessed with something we love. My fiance is a musician, and believe me, music is always on his mind. When we had met, I would go and sit at his gigs (which would turn into six hours of sitting alone) and I would crochet scarves. Again, it's the keeping the hands busy thing. I then began hooping and had a new activity that allowed me to keep busy for six hours. Soon, I realized that I started dropping weight, I felt really awesome, I began dancing again, etc. etc. But, I have also found that I stopped crocheting, stopped being as social, and hid behind my new best friend, my hoop. My social circles also began to change, as I wanted to hoop ALL the time and my friends didn't hoop. I searched for others with similar interests and found it very difficult to fit in to a community that seemed to be very competitive and clique-ish. Interestingly enough, those who became my "friends" were the ones who loved me for ME, outside of the hoop.
Throw in a new equation, a child! Once being able to focus on success, dedication to a career is now diverted by the attention of a new human being. We have got to stop limiting ourselves to become successful at one thing, and just become successful at life.
I'm not saying that we need to give up something that we love, but sit back and think about all of the traits that make us unique. Be inspired by others, but never desire to be someone else! Embrace ALL experiences that have shaped you to become who you are today. We are not just a teacher, a hooper, a nurse, a parent, but a unique being that is like no other. Never forget that youth that is in you that once enjoyed the simple things. Take time to go back to your roots, who you were before your career! We are ALL layers of experiences, memories, hardships, heartbreaks, successes, failures, and life. Embrace YOU and love your life!
Hoop and Happiness!
-Psyche, Founder of Hoopin'Spiration
* I challenge my readers to post comments about who you were before your career. How has your career changed you?