Your Job Isn’t Your Life

“I’ve learned that making a ‘living’ is not the same thing as ‘making a life’.”

― Maya Angelou

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

I remember being asked that question in pre-school.

In our society, it seems people are defined by job titles — what they do rather than who they are.

On average, an adult, full-time professional spends eight hours a day and 40 hours a week at work. That’s roughly 2,000 hours per year. In the many hours, days, weeks, and months dedicated to sending emails and meeting pressing deadlines, assuming career to mean your identity can become second nature.

I’m guilty of it, too. In my eight months as a working professional, I’ve been learning that it’s important not to confuse who I am as a human being for the career badge worn in a 9-5 role. My business and my work will always be what I do, but they are not who I am.

I am a daughter, a girlfriend, a sister, and a woman full of talents, dreams, and goals. My job might fill a few empty puzzle pieces that make me into a whole picture, but the pieces are only a small fraction of what makes me uniquely Laurie.

Let’s forget about 9-5 p.m. for a minute. We spend lots of energy making sure that we are efficient and productive during the workday, but what about afterward?

Most days, I stroll out of the office feeling totally wiped. Sometimes, depressing thoughts take over and I find myself stuck in a loop of wake up, go to work, sleep. And again and again. The quarter-life crisis sneaks itself in: Is this actually what I want to do? Could we do this for another 50 years? What truly makes me happy? Is life just a mind-numbing routine?

My solution was to change my perspective. Instead of trudging through my front door and plopping in front of the television for hours, I had to remind myself that my evening hours are a decent chunk of time.

Let’s say you get home from work at 5 p.m. and go to bed at 10. That leaves five whole hours to focus on hobbies and activities. Keep in mind that those weekday hours make up 25 hours of your week!

You don’t even have to spend the extra time doing something particularly productive – just something different. Work in 30 minutes of exercise, an hour to read a good book, 20 minutes for a relaxing walk through the park, or 45 minutes to sit down with loved ones and catch up over a real dinner.

Resist the temptation to head home and hide out alone in your living room. Instead, get out there, socialize, and have some fun! Grab an appetizer and a drink with a friend. Catch that movie you’ve been meaning to see. Go soak up some sunshine at the local park. Head to that yoga class you’ve been wanting to try. Turn off your cell phone.

Designate a space and time that you can use to rediscover your hobby. Set up a room where you can paint or practice music. Begin training for that marathon. Head out and snap some photos.

And my favorite trick: schedule plans, fun outings, and activities for the future so you have something to look forward to. Whether that be a concert, weekend camping trip, or a manicure, set a date for something exciting.

Whatever you want to do is totally up to you. The key is to truly enjoy your time out of the office. That way, your job becomes an obligation that just takes up a simple chunk of time during your day and not like it’s a time-sucking inconvenience that prevents you from ever doing anything you want.

Even if you love your job, I’m sure that you still have at least one or two interests outside of the confines of your office. If your goal is to have a life outside of work, then it’s important to dedicate some time to yourself. There’s no denying that work takes up a big chunk of your life, but it doesn’t need to be all-consuming.

Book Review: The Hate U Give

The Hate U Give

The Hate U Give

Author: Angie Thomas
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 464
Format: Ebook
Source: Book club
My rating: 4.5/5

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

New Year, New Me? No Thanks

No timescale can be put on becoming who I aspire to be.

I’ve never been a New Year’s resolution kind of girl, and I think this is why: my personal growth doesn’t follow calendar time.

I absolutely believe in making improvements and setting goals, but my need for that kind of structure rarely shows up on knocking on my door come January 1. For me, growth means paying attention to what is needed during any given season and adjusting as I go.

I refuse to set myself up for failure. As a recovering perfectionist, making an unrealistic promise to do (or not do) something for an entire year—or, yikes, the rest of my life—feels like an invitation to be mean to myself when I’m unable to deliver.

The only way I’m able to actually change my lifestyle and stick to it is by knowing that there’s no rush, that I have time, and that I’m not a failure if it takes me longer than you thought.

If there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that I’m allergic to “shoulds.” When I’m doing something purely out of obligation or compliance, I become frustrated, resentful, and guilty. At one point in my life, this was my primary way of functioning, but I broke free and took ownership of my decisions.

But above all, I really value promises. I believe in never breaking a promise, no matter what it takes. When giving a promise you are giving your word to someone, and they trust that you will stick to your word and keep it. To me, being able to keep your word or promises says a lot about your character and who you really are. Maybe that’s just the truth-telling journalist in me.

To me, a resolution is a promise, and I don’t make promises lightly. Maybe I’m taking this all too seriously, but I can’t seem to do otherwise. I just don’t like to make a commitment I might not be able to keep. Not even to myself.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying it’s impossible to make a lifelong behavior change. I have made plenty of my own incredible life changes over the years, but a lot more went into that success than tacking up a new calendar and vowing to be different from January 1 forward.

2018 Reading Goal & 2017 Reading Recap

On January 1st, 2016, I set a Goodreads Reading Challenge to read 40 books in 2017. 

I read a total of 10,523 pages across 36 books. My shortest book was 64 pages (The Grownup by Gillian Flynn) and my longest book was 480 pages (Ill Will by Dan Chaon). My average rating was a 3.6 out of 5 stars.

To some, reading 40 books over the course of a year might seem easy — just ask my friend Melanie, who read 71 in 2017 or Emily, who read 205! To others, it’s an implausible, difficult goal. But for me, it was a solid balance between stretching myself to read more without setting the bar so high that I think I have no chance of ever reaching it.

Laurie Hamame

Ball of sunshine. Chronic giggler. A lover of all things sweet potato. An overly friendly, world traveling, body positive warrior. Avid bookworm. Self-proclaimed chef and spiritually Italian. Promotor of daily walks, coffee dates and 30-second dance parties.

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