I’ve been reading this book – ‘What to Do With the Rest of Your Life’ – about finding or creating the “job of your dreams”. The author challenges you to come up with a list of things you enjoy, and then pare it back to things you love, and then hone that to four or five things you wouldn’t mind talking about, thinking about, learning about, and doing for the rest of your life. That last element makes provides the “Whoa, Nelly!” factor, but I’m pretty sure my list is:
- Philosophy/”The meaning of life”/therapy in that vein
I’ve nixed dogs and health on the impracticality factors of one and likely poverty of the other. I’m probably too old to go to med school or start a decorated career as a personal trainer. Similarly, I know some wonderful and dedicated people that have helped me train my dogs…and it’s pretty apparent that they just scrape by. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure you can have a remarkable and fulfilling life despite ‘just scraping by’ where salary is concerned, I just figure if you’re going to bother to dream big, you may as well start out with the bar a little bit higher than that.
I went for a long run today and was thinking about this “carpe diem” pressure some of us put on ourselves (such as me on myself!): The call or challenge to make every moment matter and live as if this were the last day of your life and if you can dream it, you can do it kind of stuff. I think, in the mix of being a very sick and twisted society ripe with celebrity adoration, breast implants, reality TV, and athletes making millions of dollars a year while so many people can’t even claw their way above the poverty line, we’ve also created this culture – or at least expectation – of super lives. Look at me, I’m doing it all, and I lost 15 pounds, and I have my own line of frozen cuisine and high heels coming out in the fall!
However, I think in the big picture, it’s not so important to be jumping out of airplanes and have a reality TV show focused on you and fill every single second with really cool, enviable things, as to try to find a way to spend less of your time doing things that don’t matter to you, that don’t make you one bit happier, or that really add no value to your life or anyone else’s. If you look at other cultures, there doesn’t seem to be the zeal to live in multi-million dollar houses or walk red carpets or have everyone else agree that you’re beautiful and extraordinary. In fact, having dedicated rather too much time to wanting everyone else to agree that I’m something special, I can see how empty – and strangely not healing – it is. Even when you get there, it doesn’t work.
With that in mind, my list takes on new meaning. If I were to try to find a way to bridge some middle ground between things I enjoy enough to possibly dedicate a sizable chunk of every day to them and NOT fill the rest of my life up trying to achieve some kind of societally assigned status, chase material things, and worry about what everyone else thinks…then I’d really be onto something.