Find something you love
and you’ll never work a day in your life.
Perhaps to the detriment of my offspring, and certainly to the chagrin of my wage-earning spouse, that’s been one of my main mantras ever since the kids were knee-high clingers.
“But, Mom. I have to pay the rent. And my loans. And my car. And my phone. And my trips. And my fun. And my…”
“Don’t worry, Daughter. If you find something you have a passion for, you can’t let it go. The money will come.”
I have always known that I would be a writer. My first short story, Pokey the Turtle, was published way back when I was in Mrs. Dreifus’s kindergarten class. It was written on wide-lined mimeographed paper, read aloud to the other five-year-olds, then stashed in my box of memories. Which is precisely where the rest of my novels are.
I’ve worked a lot of odd jobs to pay the rent and the loans and the car and the phone and the trips and the fun. I sold fresh-squeezed lemonade on the streets of North Philadelphia. I cajoled old-folks into buying cemetery property. I took messages for doctors at an answering service, complete with switchboard, headphones and a constant cloud of smoke. I was a pseudo layout artist, a bookkeeper, an ice cream scooper, a newspaper delivery girl, a babysitter and a cold-call roof salesperson, all before becoming a copywriter.
Life as an advertising and marketing copywriter has afforded me the freedom to work at home while raising my brood, pay a few bills and finesse my words so they’ll be perfect by the time they finally plop themselves down onto the pages of my Great American Novel.
Very few of us have the luxury of waiting around for our passions to pay off, so as I tell my kids, sometimes you just have to do something else in the meantime. And hopefully it will be somewhat related, somewhat profitable and somewhat fun.
My latest gig fit the bill.
After months of behind-the-scenes writing, I spend two consecutive weekends tweeting at Be the Best Coaches’ Baseball and Softball Convention in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Anyone who has known me for a minute-and-a-half knows how much of my life has been connected to baseball. And, if you’ve hung out with me a little longer, you also know I was once a big softball star in a small league in a small town. So, for me, taking this job was a no brainer.
I just didn’t expect to be have so much fun.
Softball and baseball coaches, players, managers, consultants, conditioning gurus, mentalists, instructors and inspirationalists came in from California, Colorado, Texas, Georgia, Oklahoma, Delaware, Washington State, Tennessee, Oregon, Kentucky, Alabama, Maryland, Florida, Nevada, both Carolinas and from lots of places in between. Some of them are rich and famous, some aspire to be and some have no interest in doing anything more than what they do, which is simply sharing their love of the game.
As I talked and tweeted at Be the Best, I found myself getting sucked into a world that I was no longer a part of. I listened to dozens of speakers extol the virtues of exit velocity and launch angles, pitch calling and pitching mechanics, conditioning bodies and strengthening minds, infield faults and footwork fundamentals, winning the game one relationship at a time and creating the perfect team culture. I was inundated with tips on offense, defense, hitting, catching, throwing, slapping, bunting and a whole slew of other things I have no need to know about.
I just didn’t expect to be so inspired.
There’s something about being in a room jam-packed with people hanging on every word, taking copious notes, asking questions and getting all fired up. Simply because they love what they do and love being surrounded by people who love it, too.
Some of them coach for a living. Some of them coach for free. Some of them coach from the sidelines. And some of them don’t coach at all. But, with or without a paycheck, with or without a title, they’ve all found a way to fuel their soul, channel their energy and work their passion into their world.
We can’t all be Patty Gasso bringing softball trophies home to Oklahoma. Again and again. We can’t all be Kai Correa sharing infield insights that go far beyond his years. And far beyond the field. We can’t all be Coach Sheets rallying the room with his heart and his humor. Even though we all want to be.
We can’t all make millions doing what we love to do. But we can all do what we love to do.
So, I say to my offspring, keep teaching those kids. Keep shooting those photos. Keep writing those screenplays. Do what you love and don’t worry about the rest.
I’ll bail us all out of debtor’s prison.
With a portion of the proceeds from my Great American Novel.