Last year, at a friend’s wedding, I sat across from the perfect dress. Rendered in a warm, dusky orange and a just-revealing-enough neckline, it hugged every curve of the cousin of the groom as we chatted. 

When I mentioned it, she beamed. “Thanks, it has pockets!” she replied, because of course it did. And something about the way she touched the hem made me ask if she made it, and if she was beaming before, now she was radiant: “Yes!” she replied.

“Wow!” I said. “It’s gorgeous. Do you have an Etsy shop or…?” And suddenly, it was like all the light went out of the room. She looked down despairingly. “No,” she sighed. “Everyone keeps telling me I should, but I just wouldn’t know where to start.” I recognized the look of a woman suddenly overwhelmed by people’s expectations of her.

“You don’t have to,” I assured her. “You can do something you love, just because you love it.” (When did I become Ask Polly?) And suddenly the sentence that both of us needed to hear came out of my mouth: “You don’t have to monetize your joy.”

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