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This Isn’t a Dress Rehearsal for Life

March 14 2016

Photo of Janne Robinson
Janne Robinson

“You are what you love, not what loves you.” ~Charlie Kaufman

I’ve been interviewed on a lot of podcast interviews the last two months and many of the questions revolve not around the content or success of my writing, but around, “How did you do it? How are you living in Costa Rica, working? Doing what you love, for a living?”

I am always baffled that people are impressed by me creating a career out of what I love.

I mean it’s not like I flew to mars on a space ship I built out of marshmallows.

What the hell is everyone else doing, then?

This isn’t a dress rehearsal for life.

If I am going to spend roughly 30-40 hours a week contributing my life force into something, it damn well better be something that lights my spirit on fire.

If I wasn’t I’d be wasting my soul juice and flushing it down the toilet, knowingly and guiltily.

So how did we get to a time and place where doing what you love as a job deserves recognition?

Easy—I think many of us don’t choose ourselves first.

You know when someone says, “Where do you want to eat tonight?” and you reply “Where do you want to eat?

Fuck what they want to eat, what do you want?

Do you want Thai food?

Spring rolls with sweet and sour sauce or Pad Thai?

Thin crust pizza or thick crust pizza?

What if you started choosing what YOU wanted and loved, first.

What would that look like?

Janne Robinson Image
Photo of Janne Robinson

What if you woke up tomorrow morning when your alarm clock beeps miserably at 6 am, and realized that your feet drag like they are a thousand pounds as you walk into your work because you hate your job and instead of letting it suck the energy from your bones and affect your marriage you said, “I quit!”

What if after you quit, without running to fill that space with something else you allowed yourself space and room to have a few weeks to experiment with what gives you joy?

What if you went kayaking in Alaska or took a pottery class in the next few weeks and were the Picasso of pottery? The Steve Irwin of white water rafting?

What if you risked, and allowed yourself to be vulnerable and took a course to teach poetry or kayaking later that year?

What if you not only loved it but were really really good at it, because you had the time and room to do it and suddenly got hired doing that 40 hours a week?

What if your office became on the ocean, beside giant moon jellyfish that don’t sting and great blue herons on the pacific ocean?

What if 5 years later you decided you wanted to open your own kayak shop and host kayak retreats nationally?

What if your kids got to grow up instead of seeing a dad who comes home miserable from work everyday, and cracks a beer open to seeing their father passionate and fiery because he is doing what he loves?

And then your kids grew up to be adults and could say no in a heart beat to anything that wasn’t in alignment effortlessly because they grew up in the presence of someone who wasn’t living a life that was authentically bullshit?

Or you could sit down at your desk tomorrow morning, with a heavy sigh, open your laptop and throw your brilliance into a black hole.

It’s up to you.

What are you choosing?

Are you what you love, or what loves you?

By: Janne Robinson  |

Janne’s Upcoming Workshops at Bala:


You are What you Love, Not what Loves You – April 9th: Learn More

The Art of Risking—What Anxiety means and How to Beat it – April 10th: Learn More

Based out of Vancouver Island, BC, Janne Robinson is a non-fiction poet, mentor, speaker, director and trusted voice of female empowerment. Robinson has been a feature columnist and top writer for Elephant Journal since 2013, as well as a contributor to multiple online publications including, but not limited to, The Huffington Post, Yogi Approved and RedFlag.Org.

Robinson was last in the headlines for a spoken word poetry video she directed in New York City, involving 18 women reading the lines from her poem, This is for the women who don’t give a fuck. The video has garnered 326,000+ views, while the poem, originally published by Elephant Journal, has been read over 1.8 million times.

Janne’s daily following of more than 80,000 + readers find her work refreshing and inspiring — even when the topic isn’t always polished or pretty. Robinson’s work empowers people to live their truths and be authentic. Transparency is how she walks her talk.

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