May 28th – “You are what you do; own up to it instead of trying to separate your work from your life, and you’ll be much happier in the end.”

Yes, I am what I do. I don’t like to be defined by work, but it is a part of who I am whether I choose to identify with it or not.

For a long time, I hated being associated with my work because I felt that I was being limited. I had so many other things that I wanted to do. Well, that was the problem. I had things I wanted to do, but I wasn’t doing any of them! I’m happy to report that I’m no longer in that situation. Here is what I do:

Five mornings a week, I am a jogger. I tell people that I like to jog, but I really should give myself more credit than that.  I’ve been doing it for 20 years, so I am entitled to call myself a jogger.

A few days a week, I am an expert at work. I have knowledge that very few people do and it takes years to acquire the expertise that I have. My clients come to me for help and trust the recommendations I give them.

Every day, I am an intellectual who likes to over analyze culture and read books on history, politics, and theory.  Trust me, you do NOT want to watch a movie with me!  I like to watch bad sitcoms like Fuller House just to see how race, gender, and social status are portrayed. I think there’s something to learn in everything, even the crappy stuff.

Most days, I am a cook. I try new recipes, make things from scratch that many people would not, and prefer home-cooked meals than eating out.  

I am also a blogger. I document my experiments, thoughts, and feelings and share them with a few readers every week. By the way, thank you for reading! I’ve only been blogging since September and it’s great to know that someone out there reading my stuff!

Finally, I am a writer. Perhaps, this is the most difficult thing to call myself. I still struggle with my writing, rarely have perfect grammar, and am not a fan of proofreading. Nevertheless, writing is still something that I do and like.  Believe it or not, I even have some published articles out there.  Am I am a writer? Yes, I am!

September 20th and 21st – “Pretty much everything is open up for negotiation…Have a list of what’s acceptable and isn’t and don’t stray from it.”

At past jobs, I’ve consistently put intrinsic rewards above extrinsic rewards. I loved learning, working on meaningful projects, and becoming friends with my coworkers. I needed to believe in what I was doing and enjoyed being in the company of people I cared about and respected. What this also meant was that I consistently took lower paying jobs than what my skill level offered.

This is not to say that I have been doing what I loved this entire time.  I took jobs that I could find some intrinsic value in, but it wasn’t exactly what I loved. I have been financially independent since I was 17 and needed work that paid me enough to cover ALL my living expenses, bills, college tuitions, and those awful used cars I kept having to buy new transmissions for. I was responsible for myself and didn’t have a back-up plan when things didn’t go right.

My situation now is quite different. I am debt-free (yep, I paid off that $55K I owed for graduate school) and enjoy the luxury of having enough financial security that I can take a little time to decide what I want to do next.  Does that mean that I should go and “do what I love?” I’m not so sure about that. After reading an enlightening book called Do What You Love And Other Lies about Success and Happiness by Miya Tokumitsu, I’m not convinced that I want to continue putting time in any job that doesn’t compensate me well for the work I do. Click here for her interview if you want to get a better idea of what the book is about.  I no longer dream about having a career, or working long hours on some exciting project that is intellectually or creatively challenging.  All of that sounds too exhausting! To help me clarify my direction, I took a second look at my priorities.

A year ago, I prioritized things that I valued most in my life and I think it’s still the same today:

  1. Health
  2. Intimate relationships (my significant other and pets)
  3. Learning
  4. Relationships
  5. Work
  6. Finances
  7. Family *I’m sure at a future date I’ll explain to you why they are at the bottom of the list.

I’ve changed a whole lot over the years. Ten years ago, work and learning would have been on top, with everything else falling to the wayside. Fifteen years ago, I prioritized my intimate relationships and finances.

For work-specific values, I’ve definitely made some changes:

Last Year:






Good pay


Easy and low stress


Time and energy available to spend with my significant other and pets, work on my garden, and exercise

It feels a little disappointing that I put “good pay” and removed “creative” from my lists, but hey, how am I going to get myself out of this rut I don’t don’t change anything?