Back in August, I went to go see my hairstylist and made a strange request; “Can you cut my hair so it looks longer?” I asked. And she did, which is precisely the reason that I love this woman. My hair hasn’t been this “long” in over two years now, and I’ve had mixed feelings about the short bob that I’ve been sporting lately. Yesterday, for no specific reason, I decided I’d had enough and it was time to chop it off again, so off to the newsstand I went to hunt down one of those hairstyle magazines.
When I got there, I was greeted by Oprah. Well not in person, but her smiling face was staring at me from the cover of the latest issue of her magazine, along with the headline “What’s Your True Calling? An Easy-Does-It Guide to Finding (and Fulfilling) Your Life’s Purpose”. “Oh leave me alone Oprah!” I thought. This entire year, I’ve been reading one article, book, blog – you name it – after another, promising to help me discover “my true purpose” and the only conclusion they’ve help me come to is that apparently, I’m supposed to be a confused wanderer who gets really frustrated when she finds yet another article that claims it can solve all her problems.
After ignoring Oprah for a while, and in the process finding a nice hair mag that will hopefully lead me to a great new cut next Friday, I picked up her magazine to skim through the article quickly. My first thought was “Wow – Oprah isn’t full of shit!” There were *several* articles that actually related to the headline on the cover. That’s right – no misleading headlines that lure you to useless crap that has nothing to do with what was promised on the cover. I mean seriously, can anyone out there claim that they’ve had the “Best Sex EVER!!!” thanks to something they read in Cosmo? Anyhow, I digress. So off I went on my merry way, with Oprah in tow.
After spending my lunch hour today reading through the magazine, I was actually a little bit excited! It’s not so much that any of my problems were solved by what I read, but it was more that I was consoled by the fact that I’m not alone. There are other people out there like me, who know they are supposed to be doing something else but just can’t fit it into an existing career box.
One article in particular struck me. The author suggested that we have an animal side to us that instinctively knows where to go. “Yes! Yes! Yes!” I thought when I read that, “that’s me!”. I don’t have a good, sound, logical reason for wanting do to do half the things I want to do, but what I do know is that there’s something inside of me that feels it’s right. She outlined a step by step exercise that we can all do to try and “track” our animal, like you would an actual beast in the wild. To get started, she says to make a list of what you were doing at times where you felt happy and in your element. You’re not supposed to think too much about what it all means, or how they fit together – just list! So here goes…
I’m happiest when…
I’m hanging out with my family and acting like a total goof, while making rude and inappropriate jokes that I don’t publish here.
I’m writing to this blog and sharing what I think, no matter how crazy, stupid or insane it may seem to some.
I’m CrossFitting, doing things I never thought I could do and that most others likely wouldn’t believe I could do just to look at me, sweating like a pig, swearing like a sailor, and making rude and inappropriate jokes that I don’t publish here.
I’m making people laughing and feel at ease when they were stressed out and tense only a moment ago.
I stand out, whether it’s through my clothing, my hair, or just being me.
I’m baking chocolate chip cookies.
I’m joking around with friends, throwing around quick-witted banter, most of which is inappropriate and I don’t publish here.
I’m doing something really child-like, like making play-doh and playing with it for hours, having a Nintendo marathon and eating candy, making up stupid stuff to confuse other people and then laughing about it, and not worrying about what time it is, how many calories I’m eating or how silly it’s making me look.
So basically, what makes me happy is acting like a foul-mouthed 5 year old who has a sweet-tooth and is endlessly amused by pee-pee jokes.
Now the next step in the experiment is to figure out where your “animal” would likely go next. So let’s say that in my case, if there is a function on the Merriam-Webster website that will correctly sound out the pronunciation of words through my computer’s speakers, it’s a smart bet that upon learning about this, my animal will be there in a matter of seconds to look up words like “shit” and “motherfucker“. Again, I digress. But you get the point – you look for things that you haven’t tried before but that are linked to your circle of activities that make you happy, and you go out and try them! And if you’re not crazy for the first thing, you find another and keep going from there.
Sure, it’s not foolproof, but I think this is a fun way of going about it. I’ve kind of been working at this in my own way, although I found that making that list of moments where I was really, truly happy really helped bring a few things about myself to my attention: I love to laugh, push limits, stand out and make people feel at ease. Oh, and I like sweets too. I’m not quite sure what all of this means, and how – and even if – it all fits together, but it sure is interesting, and if anyone out there has any epiphanies about my true life’s purpose or would like to offer me a lollipop to entice me to streak at an upcoming sporting event or perhaps tomorrow morning’s subway commute, then please feel free to comment below.
There is one thing that I thought I would try though. A little while back, I took some improv classes with The Second City Training Center in Toronto. It was fun, although I must say I did feel a little uncomfortable after one particular class where my teammates and I got some weird looks and comments from the others about getting “carried away” with our skit. I’m sorry, but if there is one thing I won’t let the boys one-up me with, it’s dirty jokes. Ok, yes, I did have a point here with this paragraph… So I was checking out The Second City’s latest course offerings, and there are a few here that I am thinking of taking. I’m not considering any of these as career training by any means, but rather as an experiment to see what I learn about my animal in the process. So I’m considering the next level of Improv class, Stand Up 101 or Comedy Writing. Feel free to weigh in on what I should take and I may or may not take your advice.
So thank you Oprah, for helping me get to the core of my foul-mouthed, giggly, sugary existence. And if anyone has new words that my animal should learn to pronounce with Merriam-Webster (oh come on, I know you must have tried it!), well there just may be a cookie in it for you if you share.This post may contain affiliate links.
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