Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Decisions Decisions...

How many chances do we get in life? How many real, true opportunities do we get to have the things we want - to be the person we want? How many of us spend 40+ hours a week at a job we aren't in love with? We give the best 50 years of our life to a bunch of companies with CEO's that spend their time vacationing in the Hamptons - while we try and rid ourselves of cubicle fever with potted plants and magazine clippings of better places. I'm young enough that maybe I cant testify to the true pain of watching years of my life go by while I wonder why I haven't gotten around to doing things I want to do. I haven't had to stop and ask why I haven't spent time traveling yet, or why I haven't bought my dream home, or why I haven't pursued that lifelong passion of mine. Isn't that the reason we start working - to be able to afford that happy lifestyle? Yet when that lifestyle finally becomes a reality (for a lucky, hardworking, financially scrupulous few) its too late to really enjoy it.

How many people spend their lives in a profession they don't have a real interest in because they aren't really interested in anything? The childhood fantasy of what you want to be when you "grow up" becomes a dreaded nightmare for the college student. At a time in our lives when we are still overwhelmed with the thought of cable bills, student loans, and that dwindling box of Top Ramen, we are expected to magically be able to predict our values and interests for, at least, the next 30 years. Choose your occupation - for the rest of your life? How many of us would be happy with the option of one meal or one outfit for the rest of our lives? Maybe that's a bit dramatic, after all doesn't the average person change their career twice now? That might have worked fifty years ago - but it doesn't work now. I at least want more.

To clarify a little here my motivation for writing about this comes from several sources. First of all I'm graduating in a few months - and that's pretty fucking scary. People say it gets easier but I think that if everyone was honest with themselves they'd realize that's not really the case. It never gets easier to stick with something day after day if you don't love it. And as a senior that's the big topic of conversation:

"So what are you going to do after you graduate?"
"What kind of degree are you going to get?"
"Are you looking at jobs?"
"Do you know what you want to do with your life?"

I don't know. I don't know enough about myself, about money, about love, about life, and about the world to have any idea of what I want to do until I'm too old and decrepit to keep playing the game.

Secondly a lot of my worry comes from watching my mother. My mother is such a strong, beautiful, smart woman - but I don't think she's ever been really happy with her career. I've watched her hold all sorts of jobs (often more than one at a time) - but that's all they ever really were. Just jobs. Not careers. Not goals. Not passion's. Just jobs. She worked so hard for my brother, sister, and I and while I respect that and couldn't be any more grateful to her I don't want to follow the same path. I want to wake up every morning excited to do work I love. I want to buy a home with money I've earned doing something that excites and ignites me. Buyers remorse comes from a fear of wasting money - and a fear of wasted money stems from the thought that you have to endure even more to make that money back.

So here's the bottom line. I refuse to be one of those people. I wont spend my lifetime making someone else rich off my time, energy, and creativity. I wont worry about money. I wont dread Mondays and live for the weekends. I will make myself wealthy. I will spend each day doing work I believe in. I will support myself doing only things I love and enjoy. I will travel and have a high quality of life now - not later. I'm going to live my life as I please - and I'll be damned if I don't enjoy every minute of it.

If anyone, and I mean anyone who feels the same is reading I'd like to hear your thoughts.

More soon.