Thursday, August 24, 2006

Have-to-do vs. Want-to-do

When I left my job in advertising in 1999 it was because I didn't want to (and couldn't) do it anymore - i.e. sit in an office all day working on things that didn't matter to me, didn't give me a sense of purpose and didn't stretch my creative potential or put it to what I felt was good use. I left without having a plan of what I would do and ended up doing what I am doing now. Maybe I've told this story before ... but I chose to send in my resignation letter (a month before, as you're supposed to do) on September 7th, so that my day of departure would end up being October 7th, my birthday. This was my birthday gift to myself.

Yesterday I was driving and thinking: life is made up of have-to-do's and want-to-do's. In my case (apart from the regular have-to-do's which we all 'have to do' at some point in order to exist in the 'civilized world' - paying bills, etc.) most have-to-do's are things that I do to get money to pay the bills, etc. in the first place. Every now and then I say to myself "Life is too long to be doing things I don't really want to do." Lately I have been thinking about this a lot.

The other day I was chatting with a friend and, in response to something she was telling me about, I suggested that each morning upon waking, she write down 5 things she really feels to do (for that day) no matter how simple or how complex and 'impossible' any of the things may seem.

I've been doing it myself for the past 3 days. It is very telling. None of the have-to-do's have coincided with the 5 items want-to-do list. (With the exception of writing the play which I 'had to do' for homework, but which I also happened to 'want to do'). And the 'have-to-do' list is normally much longer. Today it has 18 items on it and it's only 6:04 a.m.

Not all of the h-t-d's are 'bad', though: Some are simple and actually set things in place to enable some of the want-to-do's up ahead. Some are pleasurable in another way (e.g. deposit cheques). Others will fall away in time as my intentions, focus, decisions and the Universe lead me into a greater want-to-do life.


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