I've noticed Gretchen mentions feeling legitimate quite a few times in The Happiness Project. It was something that caught my attention, my little ears perked right up (if you read yesterday's 7 Questions post, you know I do in fact have little ears). I think I suffer from the same need-to-feel-legitimate affliction. She says:

"I worry about feeling legitimate," I confessed. "Working in something like law or finance or politics would make me feel legitimate."

Gretchen goes on to conclude that even after achieving highly legitimate things in her career, she still didn't feel legitimate. OH BOY can I relate. Sure I can say I'm very ambitious, a go-getter, but underneath all that is a desire to feel legitimate... and underneath that is a desire to feel worthy, to feel like I'm contributing something important. Lotta layers here. And needless to say, the good grades and the professional job only brought temporary worthiness and good feelings.

Maybe it's time to redefine what a legitimate career path looks like... maybe it's time to change the conversation I'm having with myself about my career. Playing by the rules and striving to please my parents, my teachers, and my colleagues sure hasn't made me happy. While it scares me to embark on a creative career path with all of its no guarantees (or health benefits), I believe in listening to my gut and having a BIGGER vision for my life than what I had visualized in grad school.

I'm starting to understand that YOU define your own legitimacy. Your worth is what you say it is. Can you imagine if Gretchen wouldn't have become a full-time writer because she didn't think it was a legitimate career option?? Whoa.

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