Good Eats and Sweet Treats from My Small Boston Kitchen

On Passions, Badassery, and Avoiding Regret: Happy 6th Birthday, SS

♥♥ Happy 6th birthday to my beloved blog, Sweetly Serendipity! ♥♥

I’m currently reading this great book, “You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life,” and it’s really got me thinking. I’m an overly contemplative person to begin with, but books like this really encourage personal exploration, which taps into a part of myself I’ve routinely tried to turn off for the better part of my adult life.

I have this wild and crazy (or maybe normal and totally attainable) dream that someday I might be able to make money doing something I love. But in my limited experience of the world, it seems like there are few people able to pay their bills by pursuing their passions.

Floral arranging and watercolor

Floral arranging and watercolor paint night

Instead, I have a stable job that I generally feel satisfied with, one that plays to my talents, helps develop my professional skills, and offers enough to keep me content on a daily basis. There are certainly perks to this lifestyle — I’m able to afford a comfortable home, to pursue hobbies, to spend time with friends and family, and to live a life that makes me feel stable and happy, but I often crave more. Not necessarily more money, or a “better” life — I have a great life — but more passion, more inspiration, more bliss.

The truth is, even though I have a great job, it doesn’t excite me like I want it to; it doesn’t motivate me to jump out of bed in the morning, or to seize the day with fervor. It doesn’t make my heart feel full, or make my days feel purposeful. I’ve always dreamed of pursuing something I love and making it work for me financially, but whenever I’ve expressed the idea to people around me, it’s met with a lot of skepticism and doubt. And more than once I’ve gotten the “you should just be grateful for what you already have” talk.

Riding Goose with the barn crew

My beloved Goose

Riding with the ladies, and my beloved Goose

Just to clear up any confusion: I am so grateful. This post is loaded with photos of things that I’m grateful for or that make me happy. My life is abundant with blessings. And the job I have now is the best professional experience I’ve ever had. I love the people I work with and the chance to make an impact every day. It even allows me the opportunity to write, which is something I truly love. But having gratitude for one thing doesn’t mean it’s unacceptable to hope for another.

It seems that family, friends, and society in general have this deep-rooted fear of the unknown, which makes sense, because so do I. And I think when you present someone who knows and cares about you with the idea of pursuing something unknown, they immediately consider the negative implications. Right off the bat, it seems too risky.

Brother sister weekend

Brother sister weekend 

But this book basically says that we’re all perfectly capable of being who we want to be and doing what we want to do with our lives, if we simply believe that we can. It’s not a matter of skill or ability, but of the belief in yourself, the shedding of fear and self-doubt, and the courage to pursue something because you want it that badly. And maybe, you think, it just might transform your life. It’s a matter of action vs. inaction, and willing yourself to put steps in place to achieve your dreams.

Of course if it was that easy, we’d all be doing it. The world would be a happier place, there would be less war and chaos, and a lot more hope and love. But just because it isn’t easy, doesn’t mean it isn’t possible.

My furbabies sunbathing in the sunshine  

For years — my whole grown up life maybe — I’ve operated under the assumption that there are just these “lucky” people who are successfully pursuing their passions and bountifully happy about it, and that I’ll never be one of them. But the reality is that those people work their asses off, and are rewarded for it. Success doesn’t happen to people for no reason, it happens to them because they seek it out and work hard to deserve it. They believe they deserve it, and that shift in perspective works wonders. So I can’t really be jealous of those “lucky” few if I haven’t put in the work to become one of them myself.

But that work is hard. I’m terrified of uncertainty, I’m extremely risk-averse, I make excuses like it’s my job and then I convince myself to believe them. I dream big dreams and I think crazy thoughts, and sometimes I get halfway towards believing I might be able to make them come true, and then I chicken out.

Because I like stability. I like to know what tomorrow will bring, and I like to count on a paycheck arriving in my bank account exactly two times a month. None of my passions promise that kind of consistency, and that is terrifying. But what’s more terrifying now, and increasingly so with each year that passes, is the idea of waking up when I’m 80 and regretting the way that I lived my life.

A visit to Crompton Collective — an antique lovers version of heaven    

I started this blog as the “solution” to this “problem.” If I couldn’t be a pastry chef or open up my own bakery, at least I could write about it. And my blog has been the most wonderful creative outlet, where I can chronicle the baking exploits that fill my heart with pride and happiness, and where I can record personal anecdotes like this for safe keeping. It has shouldered so many of my biggest and most poignant moments in the last six years, and it has become like a lifeline when I have no where else to go. It’s free therapy, and I really, truly love it. But sometimes, it still doesn’t feel like enough.

I’ve grappled with these thoughts for many years, but this is the first time that I’ve decided to take steps to explore. Because what’s the downside? I make a new friend, discover a new passion, create a new network for myself, or unlock a new opportunity? Maybe I’ll waste time chasing after an empty dream, but at least I can say that I tried, and I know I’ll feel better for it in the end.

Or maybe, I’ll succeed. And how cool would that be?

Julia Childs' Chocolate Mousse

The most meaningful dessert of my life, Julia Childs’ Chocolate Mousse

Today, Sweetly Serendipity turns six. I had planned to bake a cake, or share a special recipe. But instead, it seemed better to reflect, and to share, and to explore the future I hope to have one day.

For me, it all starts right here. It started here on January 25, 2010, and by some grace of God, I’m still here in this space, and still dreaming the same dreams I did back then. Except now I want them to be more than just dreams. And year six of Sweetly Serendipity, year 28 of my life, will be spent exploring where, when, and how to make that happen.

I’ll celebrate the start of SS’s 6th year with a new blog series (something inedible — you’ll see soon enough!), and we’ll go from there. But don’t be shocked if I shake things up in 2016. It feels like time.

May you have all the courage you need to dream big and conquer boldly. If I can do it, any of us can. Thank you so much for reading!

xo T




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