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Gretchen Rubin

Gretchen Rubin

My experiments in the pursuit of happiness and good habits

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Have You Ever Felt a “Call” to Do a Certain Kind of Work?

May 18th, 2015

Episode 63 of 401 episodes

Assay: A few weeks ago, my family and I went to see Sequence 8, a performance by Les 7 Doigts de la Main (7 Fingers, if your French is rusty). It’s a performance that’s part circus, part dance…it’s very compelling. But as much as I enjoyed the show, I was just as interested in the playbill. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it means to experience a “call” — that is, a powerful, practically irresistible feeling that you’re meant to do a certain kind of work. I certainly felt a call to writing. It took me a while to hear it and follow it, but I remember thinking, “Well, at this point, I’d rather fail as a writer than succeed as a lawyer.” I remember quoting Juvenal to my father, “An inveterate and incurable itch for writing besets many and grows old with their sick hearts.” I didn’t want that to happen to me. I was struck by the evidence in the playbill that many of these performers had felt a call to the circus. A sampling from several bios: “In 2008, his life took a serious turn when he abandoned his studies at McGill University and ...

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