Wednesday Guest Post with Em Bakes

Moira here! Today’s guest post is an important one. Emily is here from Em Bakes to show us another view of finding the perfect life. A lot of times, I think we feel pushed into turning every hobby and skill into something that can support us. Allowing your hobbies, instead, to be a part of your life without you expecting them to provide you your bread-and-butter money not only allows you to play around with them a bit more, but also allows you room for more hobbies! Have you ever wanted to take something up and thought,”I just don’t know if I have the time to commit to that?” If so, this post is DEFINITELY for you! -M

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No matter how busy I get, there’s always time for choir. During middle school when I had a project due the next day, I went to choir. During college midterms when I was barely sleeping, I went to choir. When getting to rehearsal required biking 7 miles, I went to choir.

These days I’m a crazy overscheduled graduate student with a deep hatred for parallel parking, and yet I drive to downtown Philadelphia every Sunday night, find a place to parallel park, and go to choir. Why? Because it’s essential for my best life.

You might be thinking, “Ok, so she likes to sing,” but it’s more than that. To have my best life, I have to give myself space to create. I have to make music or write stories or craft culinary masterpieces. I get to choir every week because it fills a part of me that is essential.

Now, you might hate singing. But surely there is something that you adore. Maybe it’s soccer. Maybe it’s crossword puzzles. Maybe it’s swing dance. You might think that all you care about, outside of work or school or child rearing or whatever takes up most of your energy, is your favorite TV shows, but I don’t think that’s the case. I think we all know, somewhere inside ourselves, where to find our joy.

So, figure out what you love. Nothing is too silly, too immature, too out of the ordinary. Let yourself explore your interests past and present, and zero in on what really matters to you. Then, find a way to pursue it.

Choir is one way for me to feed my creative side. I also play guitar, cook, blog, and am editing a draft of a novel. How do I find the time? By treating these so-called hobbies as essential pieces of my existence.

I am a huge fan of the humble handwritten to-do list. Every morning I write my tasks for the day, mostly items like: Class, Work, Buy Groceries, Email Catch-up, Pay Rent, Read for Class. However, interspersed among these are items like: Guitar, Dinner with Roomies, Edit Chapter 3.

While it might not seem so, the act of writing my joy into my to-do list every morning is radical. It’s saying: “I defy the norms of what’s required and what’s optional.” It means sometimes setting aside homework to get to choir practice, or getting up a half hour earlier to write before school. It means filling in micro-gaps– 15 minutes of homework here, 20 there– so that I have more time for everything.

My best life isn’t about leisure. It’s about fulfillment. I’m glad to be busy when I have the opportunity to hold both my professional and personal joy close. In fact, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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I adore this post. It brings us beyond the view of leisure and work – to a life well-lived. You can find Emily over at Em Bakes, and if you’d like a weekly digest of posts sent to your inbox, you can sign up for the mailing list HERE.

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