SHEENA BARNETT: Doing what you love matters most in life

By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal

I believe it’s what you like, not what you are like, that matters. Once you figure out what you like, everything else seems to fall into place from there.
Whether it’s photography, nursing, filmmaking, teaching, whatever, life’s just easier, prettier, sunnier, when we’re knee-deep in what we love.
Some of us seem to find what we love early on, as kids, while some of us have to search for much of our lives.
I think knowing and doing what you like also generally shapes the person you are. I think writers, for example are generally more curious, entertaining and hopefully compassionate; I think teachers, for example, are naturally nurturing and inspiring. It’s not always fair to paint someone with such broad strokes, but really, I think what we love has something to do with the kind of person we are.
If ever I question this belief, I just look to my cousin Shelby for a bit of inspiration.
For all of her 15 – almost 16 – years on this planet, Shelby has loved animals.
I remember baby-sitting her when she was less than a year old, and I had all of her toys out in front of her, seeing which ones she liked best. She laughed the most when she played with the animal-shaped toys, and I wondered then if that meant she’d grow up to work with animals. I was dreaming big for her early on.
Being the awesome kid that she is, she’s living up to those dreams these days.
Horses are her favorites, especially her own horse, Chessie.
Shelby and Chessie are learning together what it means to be in horse shows. She’s really good at something called halter, and something else called walk trot.
As many of her horse shows I’ve seen, I’m still confused at exactly what she’s doing for either of those competitions, but I do know she looks awesome doing it – and she does it well enough that she’s taken home several first places.
And, as I said, I believe what you love says something about what kind of person you are.
She’s motherly to her horse just like she’s motherly to anyone who needs it, especially her great-grandmas. It always amazes me to see a teenager who dotes on her elders the way Shelby does.
She’s growing up so fast – she’s learning how to drive! somebody, stop the madness! – and she’s only at the beginning of figuring out What She Wants to Do When She Grows Up.
Her mind changes nearly every day – trainer, veterinarian, etc. – but she’s got a while to figure it out.
We should all be so lucky, to know what we love and to be good at it, to have so many ideas and ambitions.
I think Shelby’s on the right track to inspire not just me, but many others.
After all, it’s what you like that matters.
Sheena Barnett covers entertainment for the Daily Journal. Contact her at (662) 678-1580 or by email at

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