You are what you do.
It’s the last day of August, a month that has proven to be pretty life-changing for me in all the little ways that seem to matter most. However great this month has been, I’m really looking forward to September – a month that will be filled with friendship, travel, and exploration. Starting tomorrow, the very first day of the month, I will have my very first guest stay at my studio apartment – my best friend from 5th grade, Marlene, is coming to visit for the weekend! Then, next weekend, I will be heading to Nashville, TN for a long weekend and a long overdue solo trip to a place that’s been on my “to visit” list for a while now. The month will end with my good friend from college and post-college roomie, Mikey, coming to visit for a long weekend too. Having friends visit and going on a solo trip has really put me in a planning mode, which come to find out, is a really great mode for me. (As long as there’s action afterwards, of course).
Since I’m on this whole personal development journey, I’ve been trying to be a more conscious of things happening in me and around me as I go through my day. As a counseling undergrad, a former career advisor, and a general observer of life and relationships, I recognize the importance of paying attention to what you naturally like to do during your day and to keeping that in mind when deciding on a potential career path relationship of any kind, really. In a career sense, I figure if I am able to remember the moments in my day that I was really happy or extremely focused – so focused on doing something that I didn’t even realize time was going by, then I can probably use that information as a way to piece together the work that I should be doing, work that I’d likely find meaningful.
Today, after my day job had finished up around 3PM, I stayed at my computer and worked on a travel itinerary for my trip to Nashville next weekend. I spent hours listing out the sights, neighborhoods, and food spots I wanted to see along with the transportation options I will need to consider complete with how long it will take by bus vs. Lyft vs. my two feet. I was simultaneously looking at business websites and reviewing recommendations from those who live in the area, attempting to put together a 3-night plan that covered everything “Nashville” that I wanted to experience. When I finally got up, over three hours later, I had a solid draft of my plan for the trip but I couldn’t believe what time it was - seriously? Over three hours? I then realized that a few days ago, I did the same thing for Marlene’s trip to Portland, condensing into two full days all of the food and sights she expressed an interest in as well as my city favorites for those visiting. With this in mind, I had a little revelation about myself: I love planning trips – organizing all of the logistics, personalizing it to a specific person, and providing recommendations for places to eat or visit. It’s something I would do, and actually do, without getting paid. Though the potential for a travel agent career path probably ended decades ago when online booking started, I know I need to explore roles or aspects of jobs that would enable me to tap into that magic – the focus and magic that happens in me when I’m doing something, like planning trips.
More and more, I realize that as much as “you are what you eat” is true, “you are what you do” is also very true. If you want to be a baker, you have to bake. If you want to be a painter, you have to paint. If you want to be an actor, you have to act. If you want to be a writer, you have to write. And if you aren’t doing that thing, then you might need to reconsider if that thing is what you really want to end up being. Sean Covey said: “We become what we repeatedly do.” And isn’t it true? I know it is for me, and not always in a good way. I would write lists and lists of things “to do” lists and had a vision board staring at me in the face every morning, but I still procrastinated. And then, eventually I became a procrastinator. That’s how easy it happens – on both sides.
I’m going to continue to monitor myself and take note of any moment that I’m charged up and working on something – engaged, focused, excited even – and hopefully, I can put together all of the pieces and have them all represented in the work that I do. That is the plan, at least. And I guess since I like to plan, and I plan “things,” I can consider myself a planner :)
Tonight I’m leaving you with Mahatma Gandhi, who of course took it just one step further, and deeper:
Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.
About the photo: In honor of my upcoming solo trip, this one is from what I believe was my last little solo trip in Guatemala. I went to visit my former roomie who had moved to Antigua to volunteer, but I split my time between visiting with her and traveling to Lake Atitilan and the little villages that surrounded it. My time there, to this day, has probably been the most special and beautiful journeys I've ever gone on. These wild horses against the backdrop of an active volcano isn't even the half of it?! On this trip and others that I went on around this time, I used to write to my family and friends via email and tell them about my travels. They seemed to like them :) and I later posted the emails online in a blog format to get them all in one place. If you'd like to check it out, you can access it here: https://journals.worldnomads.com/ladyd