It's a funny thing to talk about loving your work. I grew up believing that your work is your priority--loving it, or even liking it for that matter, was pretty far down on the list. I think it's how, until very recently in history, many people approached marriage as well. You pick a good partner in the game of survival, and all the rest is superfluous. Which I don't buy, by the way. There is too much ancient beauty by way of art and music and architecture and writing for me to believe that ultimately love is not the driver. It is the driver. I think it's the guide and the mystery and the juice that makes us chase those meaningful endeavors. If I spend most of my day working, then I want love in the middle of it.
When we are young one of the most common conversation starters from adults is what do you want to be when you grow up? And we don't have a lot of expectations from the response. In fact, out-of-the-box answers might be why we subconsciously ask the question in the first place--to get a little reminder of our own initial drive. The younger the kids are the better the answers usually, too. They haven't put a governor on love and imagination and there simply are no limits. Maybe underneath what do you want to be when you grow up is just really who are you? And as adults we answer that question with our work identity. So if I'm going to answer that question with my work identity, I want to love that work.
But I've found that if you decide you are going to choose team love-your-work, you better have a pretty strong constitution. People can have pretty strong reactions to that idea. You're not three, for heavens sake. You're a full on adult and we make each other waaay more comfortable by giving answers from inside the box than from inside our heart. And I get it--we have to be responsible and we have to survive. I just don't believe those things have to be mutually exclusive from loving my work.
So here's where I've landed with all of this: The best way for me to stay integrated and let love steer this ship is to do work that I like to support work that I love. I'm lucky to have found work that I love to do and the only thing that makes sense to me is pursue it with abandon and unapologetically. Maybe someday it will pay the bills, but regardless it's my work and I'm not going to settle for less than work that I love.