Whose Life Is It Anyways?

Jim Donovan

“Most men die with their music still in them”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Whose life are you living? Are you living your dream or someone else’s?

How much of your life is being decided by someone else? Are you in a profession you dislike because it is expected of you? Do you engage in activities you would rather skip, simply because it is part of your “role” as a spouse or mother?

What about you?

Doesn’t your opinion count? It is not only reasonable but mentally healthy for you to direct your own life.

If you find yourself in a profession you do not especially like, try asking yourself the following question: If I were starting over in my career, what would I chose to do?

Some people retire and, because they can do whatever they want, begin a second career. This time, they do what they love and, many times, become highly successful.

Famous the second time around

You may not remember that Caroll O’Connor, the actor who created the role of Archie Bunker in “All In The Family” and later played the burly police chief in “In The Heat of the Night,” was a high school teacher until he was in his forties. While teaching is surely a noble profession, his greatest gifts to humanity were clearly to come from his acting talents. Fortunately, for those of us entertained by his talents, he followed his bliss and became an actor.

Another example of the second career is the comedian Phyliss Diller. She was a cleaning lady until she was 37. Incidentally, she was inspired by reading and acting on a self-help book, “The Magic of Believing,” by Claude Bristol. Interestingly enough, Liberace, the great pianist, attributed the strategies in this same book to his huge success and enormous wealth.

Take charge of your life

You owe it to yourself to run your own life. I am not suggesting that you go out and change everything overnight, however, you can begin to direct your life where you would like it to go.

For example, if you have always wanted to be an actress or actor, but have financial responsibilities which require you to work a “real job,” you could satisfy your need to act by joining a local theater group. Many a community theater performer works happily at a nine to five job Monday through Friday, knowing they have an outlet for their creative selves on the weekend.

If most of your time is being taken up in the role of wife and mother, you could begin to set aside time for yourself. Time to pursue your other dreams. You could arrange for your spouse or another person to care for your children while you take care of your own needs.

Taking care of yourself is not selfish. The Bible say we should love our neighbor as ourselves. It does not say instead of or more than. Begin to set aside time doing some of the things you want.

If you are in a job you strongly dislike, start devising a plan which will allow you to make a change. Perhaps you need to go for re-training in another profession. I know of several nurses who, when they realized they were spending more time filling out paperwork than caring for patients, began new careers as massage therapists. There, they were able to have the satisfaction of working directly with the people they wanted to help.

Jim Donovan is the author of This is Your Life, Not a Dress Rehersal
Copyright 2010 Author retains owndership. All Rights Reserved.

Category: Work-Life, Balance
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