I Do What I Want (And You Should Too)

Photo: Look Studio / Shutterstock
woman on balcony smiling

By Maura Vananzo

There’s a cliché that we’ve all heard that is easy to say, but difficult follow: do what truly makes you happy.

People say it all the time, but how many of us actually follow it? Not many, and it’s time that changes.

We all need to start doing what we want to do. I do what I want and it’s the most liberating decision I’ve ever made.

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When I say “I do what I want,” do not picture someone experimenting with hard drugs, driving through red lights or beating up that teacher you hate; that’s just stupid. “I do what I want” means doing what makes you happy, living the life you want to live.

Stop attending a college you absolutely hate, stop liking that awful TV show because your friends watch it, and please stop lying about your career goals because what you truly want to do isn’t “realistic.”

Doing what you want is not easy by any means. Many people take the phrase as binge watching Netflix all day and sleeping until noon. No, that’s a guaranteed way to fail at life and just makes you a lazy unproductive member of society.

Doing what you want means actually doing something; the verb is essential here. No one who does what they’ve always dreamed of doing sat around for months; they got up and worked hard to make their own dreams become realities.

The motivation behind going with the pack is the ability to fit in. But frankly, I’m sick of living in a world full of copies and, in the end, those people will get sick of being the copies.

Expressing what you like can add so much passion to the world, and helps you shape the future you want to live.

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I do what I want because I wrote a movie script with my friend instead of wasting my summer away in alcohol and tanning on the beach. Obviously most of my friends did the second, but I did what I wanted, not what they were doing (don’t get me wrong, I love a good beach and drink, too).

I say what I please, I listen to the music I like (even if that means playing "Drunk in Love" on repeat), and read the books that interest me.

Think about it seriously: what is the true reason you choose your major? Because it’s going to make you the most money? Your parents wanted you to do it? Or because you’re truly passionate about that subject?

Choose a major because you truly love it, even if others do classify it as a “throwaway.” Even though it’s important to choose a major you love, these decisions must be made wisely; do not play around with your future.

Making the choice you want begins with not confusing money and success. You can be the judge of your own success, but I think anyone who wakes up and loves his or her job is very successful.

Stop chasing the money and focus on your success in your career; the money will come.

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Stop going to college if you hate it. I know society and every adult you run into will tell you otherwise, but stop listening to them. Please, you’re wasting money, time and space (let the kid who really wants to be there take your seat in the upper-level classes so registration doesn’t have to be a bloodbath).

If college is the key to all success and happiness in life, I’m f***ed because, frankly, I plan to do way better things with my life than I’ve done in college (i.e., binge drinking and crying in the library).

Go be a professional artist if you really want to! Go create that dream band you’ve wanted since childhood. You don’t need a professor there to critique all your work; let actual art critics do that.

Now, this isn’t a bash against college; I actually really like my school and enjoy going to classes, but it’s not for everyone, though sometimes it might seem that way.

Liberating yourself from the demands of other, especially society, will be the best thing you can do for your happiness.

Go find what makes you happy, work your ass off at it, and see where you’ll be ten years from now. Guaranteed a lot happier than if you settled for that dream your parents and society have created for you.

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Maura Vananzo is a writer and media supervisor from Baltimore, Maryland. Her work focuses on topics of self-esteem, travel, and lifestyle.

This article was originally published at Unwritten. Reprinted with permission from the author.