The power of leaning toward your dreams, one step at a time

This was originally published in the January 2018 issue of Oxford Magazine.

New Year’s resolutions have never really been my thing. Instead of taking hard right turns and never looking back, I tend to make modest adjustments by degree. If I learned anything in high school trigonometry, it’s that even the slightest change in direction leads to a significantly different outcome.

Perhaps I’m just rationalizing the fact that I mostly lack the intense will power I see in many of my acquaintances. But when I look back at the last year, I see notable differences, some for worse but most for better.

I spend more time with my kids. I spend less time at work. I drink less alcohol, but I drink more soda. I spend far less time on social media but far more watching television.

Most importantly, though, I find I’m happier overall. Primarily because I spend the bulk of my time doing what I love: reading and writing and surrounding myself with stories worth telling.

It’s a luxury, and I’m thankful.

A few years back, I came across a meme that in some subtle way set that in motion: “Would your nine-year-old self be proud of you right now?” it read. I confess, I tend to sneer at motivational platitudes, but that one hit like a punch in the gut.

I didn’t drop everything at once to pursue my childhood dream of writing for a living. But little tweaks—a blog post here, a freelance article there—made a tremendous difference over time.

It’s not always possible to make a career doing what you love, but for me, and many of the folks featured in the January issue of Oxford Magazine, it started by simply making time for it.

Maybe you make New Year’s resolutions; maybe you don’t. For me, I’ll keep leaning toward the people and pastimes that bring me joy and just see where that takes me.

Jenna Mason is the managing editor of Oxford Magazine.
Jenna Mason, Oxford Magazine
Jenna Mason is the managing editor of Oxford Magazine.

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