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To be, or not to be….?

Hilary Rowland

I got a call today from an agent asking me if I wanted to do a photo shoot for a high-end jewelry brand. It’s been a while since I’ve gotten one of these calls, and my initial reaction was to say yes. The money was good, it wouldn’t take much time, and the idea of someone seeking me out for a shoot was very flattering. But then a funny thing happened. I realized that something inside of me was saying, “don’t do it…” I’ve learned over the years that my gut is pretty good, and I usually benefit by listening to it. So why was my gut telling me to say no?

As many of you probably know, I used to model when I was younger. I started working for Ford at the tender age of 16. However, it was a brief career, one that I ended just after my eighteenth birthday. The truth is, the initial excitement of being a model wore off pretty quickly. The constant traveling, endless castings, and many other factors made me want to focus on something else: having a true purpose in life. I’ve read a lot about happiness over the years, and have learned that one of the easiest ways people find happiness is by having meaning in their life.

Ever since I can remember, I lived with a belief that I was put on this earth to do something positive. I was quite the rambunctious little kid. I would walk up to strangers and tell them not to smoke, pick worms off the sidewalk after a heavy rain, and even donated all of my allowance to PETA. Even before I began modeling, I had started Urbanette, the first women’s online magazine. I was tired of reading Cosmo and other like-minded magazines, which told women their value was measured by how they look. Urbanette is still going strong today, and it gives me a great deal of satisfaction knowing that I’m having a positive influence on hundreds of thousands of people across the world.

Hilary Rowland

The realization that was born from the call I got today was simple: “Be who you are.” Know what you stand for. Find a career that gives you purpose. Join organizations that bring joy to others less fortunate. Life goes by fast, and each day for me seems to go faster than the last. One day I will be old, and I want look back on my life and be proud of who I was. As importantly, I want to be proud of who I wasn’t. I didn’t take the shoot today because it doesn’t align with who I am.

“To be, or not to be,” was the question posed by Shakespeare in Hamlet. He is essentially asking, “why live?” We all have to find the answer to that question. Happiness is available to all of us. Reach out and grab it!

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