October 11, 2016

Whatever Passion Project You’re Doing On The Side, Don’t Give It Up

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Sergey Zolkin
Sergey Zolkin

Raise your hand if you know a 20-something (or seven) who graduated from college, landed a great job, and has a side project (or seven) going on in their spare time.

Hi, and welcome to this blog.

Seriously though. It seems like you can’t go anywhere these days without hearing about so-and-so’s yoga certification or new jewelry line or weekend photography gig.

Which, in my humble opinion, is awesome. Who wants to settle for a typical 9–5 job when you can do Everything, right? Why can’t you be a financial analyst and yoga teacher and world traveler and blog about all of it?

Us Millennials have grown up being told that we could Be Anything, Do Anything. We were given all of the opportunities our parents could get their hands on — from soccer leagues to debate teams — and given a trophy for all of them (even if we sucked).

So, what makes Life any different?

Do we just graduate from college, where we were stimulated with diverse opportunities at all angles, and settle? Do we just accept this bureaucratic, inflexible, boring life?

No. We don’t.

So, we start the Side Hustle. We find something that’s interesting to us, that makes us feel something, and we Do it. We start a business, advertising via Instagram, or teach Soul Cycle on the weekends.

And, who knows — maybe that Side Hustle won’t be a side project for too long before it becomes your full-time life.

I started giving all of this a think, because over the past month the responsibilities of my Real (day) job started to rear its head.

I was working all days, all the time, and barely had enough time to sleep — let alone live a normal life.

Let alone have enough space in my brain for creativity, for writing.

Something had to give. So, I put my Side Hustle on hold.

Not that I wanted to. I was aching to get back to my writing at night and thinking and observing and planning by day. But, I literally had no capacity to think about anything besides my gym-work-sleep routine.

And honestly, it sucked.

Because, Side Hustles are what keep us going right?

And, when the deadline had finally passed, I stumbled out of my hibernation, blinking and blinded by the bright, shining sun. I was finally able to pick my head up and think: What do I really want?

That stark difference — the absence of my Side Hustle — made me realize something that I already knew deep down. I wanted this to be my Real Thing. My Forever boo-thang.

Like any relationship, I just needed this love of mine to be taken away to realize it’s all I ever wanted.

And, it also made me realize, that’s why we do It. That’s why we start these Side Hustles in the first place. They may begin as a wispy thought one day on your commute. But, it grows and fills your thoughts, because it fills a void. It stirs something inside of you that you didn’t even know was possible.

And, these side projects are not about getting “money to pay off our student loans.” It’s not because we’ve become jaded by the financial crisis that happened almost a decade ago.

It’s because these Side Hustles, these passion projects, they make us feel like we’re doing something right.

Before I let you get back to your boo-thang though — from one 20-something to another — don’t put too much pressure on your side project.

It’s easy to take this extra thing in your life a little too seriously. It’s easy to stress that you’re not doing enough, quickly enough, good enough. It’s easy to lose sight of why you started this little germ of an idea in the first place.

You’re doing fine. Great, in fact.

Keep going, and keep sharing your passion. Because, that’s all that really matters. TC mark

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