“Do what you love and you will never work a day in your life.” This is a message my grandfather used to relay to me as a child. He truly lived his life in such a way. He was a musician in his younger days, and eventually he turned that passion into an entertainment booking business.
It wasn’t until experiencing my own spiritual awakening (which I also could refer to as a major reality check) back in 2018 that I realized how true his message was.
My grandpa died in 2012, when I was a 19-year-old college student studying pre-med. I didn’t love it— not in the way my grandfather was talking about. But it felt safe. I was smart enough to do it and got the grades in school. I took a chemistry class in college and got an A in it, which was enough for my dad to see some potential in me to perhaps become a doctor. I was pushed very heavily from the Jewish side of the family—my dad’s side—to become a doctor.
Being a doctor was prestigious, you could help people, and you could make a lot of money doing it. From that very logical perspective, it was a win-win situation. I know my dad and his side of the family were only looking out for my best interests. I was too focused on my studies to really let myself think about whether or not it was something I really loved or to even consider that an option at that stage in my life. I was too young to really know what I wanted to do anyway (or so I thought). I was just trying to get my degree, I rationalized. I could figure out the rest later. Deep inside, I had a feeling it wasn’t what I was meant to be doing. Instead, there was something I had known I would do ever since a child: becoming a writer and sharing my story with the world. But for some reason I felt like I needed to prove that I was smart enough to become a doctor, which I can now see was foolish and silly.
The grandfather who gave me this sage and wise piece of wisdom and advice lived to be 98 years old, and I believe the reason why he lived so long really boiled down to that piece of advice. He was an amazing man who married my grandmother after she had been widowed and left with five children, with one on the way. He was older when he married my grandmother, and in some ways, even though it was quite a hectic situation to get involved in, it was everything he didn’t have in his life as a musician: stability and family. And he took on the role like a champ. He was of Portuguese descent and passion oozed through his essence—he really did live in such a way that allowed him to follow what he loved. He was an amateur baseball player who met Babe Ruth, a marine who earned a Purple Heart fighting in Tarawa during World War II, a musician with a big band that toured around the country.
I recently saw a saying on a kitchen napkin while I was housesitting, and it caused me to recall my dear grandfather’s advice: “Do what you love and you will never work a day in your life.” I wasn’t on track to do so before, but in writing this article, I am doing exactly what my grandfather once told me to do. And I hope that together we can inspire others to do the same.