It’s been a while since I was last an employee. Over a year, actually and it’s been great.

I’m incredibly lucky to have had breaks in my career. When I left Europe to go on my 2 year long sabbatical, I found it took me 6 months away from my job before I began to stop thinking about it. After a year I’d finally stopped looking at job postings “for fun”. Once I let that go, I finally felt creativity I didn’t know I had, start to bubble up within me. I began writing in earnest, I learned how to draw, and when I rented places for a month or more I really enjoyed sourcing local ingredients and cooking up new things. Music and dance had a new shine for me, and my yoga practice finally started to click as I allowed myself more enjoyment with much less effort.

Despite having been through these phases before, I still have the tendency to worry that I’m not doing enough and subconsciously my focus shifts from relaxed and happy, allowing things to be effortless to concern that I should be doing “real work” (ie: going back to corporate, making loads of money and having a fancy title to fan my ego with).

This morning, however, rooted me back on the good side of my own positive values. Volunteering at a local cafe run for “people from all walks of life” (in reality this means there’s a high population of people who are homeless and/or suffer from mental illness, addiction, etc), I provided very basic service, preparing and serving food. There was no expectation of perfection or improvement. Instead the value was in just being there, in connection with other people. The capacity to share time for a common goal, to have the chance to talk with people – cafe patrons, staff, volunteers – is surely one of the most effective ways to feel rich. And the common goal is so simple – just to be happy, have shelter, get fed. When you break it down, happiness can be pretty simple even for those who don’t seem to have many reasons for it. A good reminder for me who has so many.