Start backwards.

Sometimes I’ll begin my posts by writing the end first; tonight is one of those nights. I know where I want to end up, but the path to get there isn’t always clear when I first sit down at the computer.

When I left my last job, a friend gave me a pink coffee mug with some simple text on the side: “Do what you like. Like what you do.” I love that line, and I find that I check in with myself on a quarterly-ish basis to make sure I’m at least pointed in the right direction. Sometimes I’m not, but I like to think that the checking matters a lot.

There are these things called the trappings of life that sort of scare me. Exactly what those trappings are changes every five years or so, and I moved on to a new batch recently. Regardless of what they are by name, suffice to say that the biggest concern I have is that someday I’ll no longer be able to do what I like — which will then affect how much I like what I’m able to do in light of those trappings. It seems like it has potential to be a fairly vicious cycle.

But just how I sometimes start at the end and write forwards, and just like how I’ve always read magazines and books from back to front — more or less, that same approach can also be applied to life, yes? The trappings seem to be commonplace, expected. All the fun stuff is deemed childish and unnecessary; it gets put on the back burner. But why can’t we move that burner forward a bit?

As yourself a question: what do you love to do? Then ask yourself if you’re doing it. If you’re not, it’s time to carve out some time and get on the path to doing it. Sign up for a class. Kick one of your trappings to the curb. Tell people what you want to do, and hold them accountable for helping you — in some way, shape or form — to start doing it. If you think you’re out of time, you’re not. Less Facebook. Less TV. Even 30 minutes less of sleep can really add up. The trappings are plentiful, but not insurmountable — they just want you to think they are.

I have a suspicion if we start with what we love to do, everything else — those trappings, if you will — might just start to shape up or ship out. And if it ships out, all the better; if it shapes up, same thing. It’s essentially a win-win. Everything falls into place because of our backwards-yet-momentum-gathering plan.

“Do what you like. Like what you do.” It seems like such an obvious thing, but it’s somewhat of a tease because it can be the hardest thing to ever really wrap your arms around. But tonight I am thankful for remembering that sometimes it’s not what you do, but instead the order in which you do it.

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