"What do I want to be when I grow up?" and "What do I want to do with my life?"
These are two questions that I found myself asking (nobody in particular, other than myself) quite a lot over the past couple of years! Here I am, 46 years old, "unemployed" (in a traditional sense) for 3 years now and looking for some way to secure my financial future at a time when our country has record high unemployment rates and no clear indication of that being remedied anytime soon.
I have always been someone who has worked at least one job (if not more) and done whatever I could to earn the money we needed to survive and truthfully, that is becoming more difficult in today’s world. There are many reasons for that, but economics and technological advancements are what seem to be affecting me personally. People have very little money to spare, businesses have to tighten their financial "belts" and the internet has provided us with alternatives to paying for services that I provide for even a minimal fee. It is quite common for small business owners to take on more responsibilities, rather than having to pay for a service or an extra employee and it is tougher to pick up side jobs (like doing taxes or fixing someone's computer) when so many people can take care of things like that themselves by going online and doing it for free and a lot of people are using smart phones rather than computers nowadays! It has indeed been challenging, but while asking myself those two questions repeatedly and trying not to get too frustrated by the lack of employment opportunities currently available to me I discovered something very important... People are enslaved by the illusion that we must work hard to become successful and feel secure.
As children, we are able to look at the world without all of the negative influences that really can and do hinder us as adults. We see being a "grown up" as kind of a "magical" thing that gives us FREEDOM to do ANYTHING we choose... The sky is the limit! No restrictions, nobody telling us what to do, what not to do. We, in the innocence of our youth, visualize a life in our future where no rules apply and we can finally "do what we wanna when we wanna"!! There is no real concern for the responsibilities that inevitably will come as we enter adulthood. We don't think about whether being a "ballerina", a "rock star", a "race car driver", an “artist” or maybe even a "princess" will actually provide us with the money needed to sustain us and eventually the family we may choose to have one day. But therein lies the beauty of the vision!
- HOPEFULLY THIS WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE
Just yesterday, I saw a video posted on Facebook that I believe perfectly addresses what I am referring to. It is very short in length (about 3 minutes) and is narrated by a British philosopher named Alan Watts - asking the question "What Do I Desire?"
Click on link below to listen, as Alan Watts talks about his students and their futures....
* I also highly recommend that you subscribe to receive notifications from Angelina Smith (the person responsible for originally sharing the video, or send her a friend request on Facebook if you are able to do so. At the very least, skim over her profile page after reading this article, because I think you will find a lot of very inspiring, motivating and maybe even eye-opening things there!
- WHAT IF…
What if we all just followed our passion? What if we didn't have our parents telling us when we are teenagers to "get serious" or have everyone asking us what we plan to major in at college? What if there wasn't this ideal presented to us from very early on, that it is our right to own a home and have 2 sedans in the garage and a backyard for weekend barbecues? What if we never even realized that Monday through Fridays were "work days", that we have to punch a time clock and should have a 401K plan or that traveling is only scheduled well in advance according to when we have accrued enough PTO (paid time off) at work and can therefore take that yearly vacation? What if there really were "No Rules" like those??
IMAGINE the possibilities... If you can! Now, I understand that the realities of life are such that we have a great many responsibilities as adults if we don't want to live on the street and expect to eat and sleep warmly at night, but I am suggesting that there might be another way to meet those basic needs. But only if we first are able to fully understand that our basic needs are really fairly simple as human beings and secondly, try to let go of the limitations that we put upon ourselves and society demands.
- OUR NEEDS AND ILLUSIONS ABOUT MONEY
The reality is that the human body requires air, water and energy (food) to survive! That's it! Protection from the elements of course, is essential as well - We need to be clothed and sheltered so as not to suffer from hypothermia or heat stroke. But the rest is really extra and if we are truly honest with ourselves, we could learn to do without, or at least with less, if we are willing to!
We spend so much time worrying about what to wear, drive, be and have in general and whether it is appropriate, what someone else might think or if we will "fit in" or not! And the money required to keep up with all those insecurities is frankly astounding!! Americans especially, I think are BUYERS! We seem to think that if we throw enough money at our problems they will just disappear, but instead we complicate them even more by going into debt! Furthermore, our very society, our economic system, supports this notion which actually perpetuates the problem. There are some good YouTube videos about "Money as Debt" and I suggest that everyone do some research into "Monetary Theory", "Federal Reserve", "money" and "debt" - You will see the pointlessness of trying to keep up with something we can never manage to get a handle on - But that is a subject for another article entirely .
To support this kind of ritualistic lifestyle it takes a great deal of money and time and do we ever really accomplish what we set out to do in the first place - Be happy? No! Be like everyone else? Yes...Miserable! Throughout this process oftentimes, we lose sight of the really important things like love, family, spirituality, charitableness, friends, togetherness, community and LIFE!
Doesn't it make more sense to SIMPLIFY our lifestyles? If we realistically evaluated our needs and once having met them, we used all that extra time to do the things in life we most enjoy it would make most of us much happier people! The bottom line is you really cannot be happy unless you are content and if you are never really content with WHAT YOU HAVE - Happiness is elusive!
- OUR LIMITATIONS - We have none!
As a parent, I know how it feels to worry about your children! You're constantly concerned that they will make the "right choices", that you have given them sage advice and taught them how to be responsible and hope that they will be mature and functional human beings. You want them to "Be Happy" most of all! But what if the traditional parenting that we experienced and probably provide our own children, is contradictory to what it takes for them to be happy? How must it feel to be told, "You can do ANYTHING!” while at the very same time you also hear, "Well, honey, that isn't a real job - it doesn't "PAY" (enough or at all)! It would be like being born an eagle and right before taking that first flight from the nest, having your wings clipped!! That is what we do to ourselves, what probably was done many times over to us as kids and young adults and what we might be doing to our own children, friends and other loved ones right now! Because, after all, one must be sensible and taking too many risks is foolish, of course! Many parents are thrilled when their grown child becomes a doctor, lawyer or accountant – Because it represents financial security!
Had you walked up to your parents and said, “I am not going to college because I want to travel through the northwest fishing and hunting and enjoying life!” They probably would have looked at you with deep concern and began lecturing you on “growing up” and what you need to remember and should do. But why is that an impossible dream? A person can live on the road and do odd jobs for enough cash to live on if their needs are simple. The most important thing is WILL IT MAKE ME HAPPY? I bet Michelangelo, Bach, Einstein, Nikola Tesla, Ben Franklin and even Jesus Christ struggled with this, but in the end each of them was "true to themselves"! They followed "their path"! Where it took them in the end was not their major concern, what was important was the JOURNEY itself!
- WE WERE BORN “THAT WAY” FOR A REASON
The easiest way to fully comprehend this is by putting it in the simplest of terms - LIVE THE LIFE YOU WERE MEANT FOR! We are born the way we are for a very good reason - Because that is how we were meant to be! It really does not get any simpler that that! And how freeing is that? Recently while talking with a very dear friend of mine, Wendy Spurgeon, she was telling me about an event from her childhood and she described herself as "dancing and spinning all around the room". I have known my friend since kindergarten and I remember very well how she was always dancing and spinning, singing, laughing and playing!! Actually, it is how I picture her even now whenever I think of her, and probably always will! Well, Wendy is a Dancer, an Actress, a Singer and a "Lover of Life"!
She Followed Her Passion! She became what she always was!
It is said that everything we will ever need in this life can be found right inside of us and I believe that! A "Perfect Creation" since the moment we came into existence and ever since, yet most of us do so much to deny and resist who we are by attempting to conform to an ideal, an illusion of normal or society's idea of perfection! What if we just "BE" instead of always trying to become? It is such an amazing and powerful concept and yet so simple we can't seem to grasp it!
Marianne Williamson, a well known author and speaker who writes on this subject, says...
“A tulip doesn’t strive to impress anyone. It doesn’t struggle to be different than a rose. It doesn’t have to. It is different. And there’s room in the garden for every flower. You didn’t have to struggle to make your face different than anyone else’s on earth. It just is. You are unique because you were created that way. Look at little children in kindergarten. They’re all different without trying to be. As long as they’re unselfconsciously being themselves, they can’t help but shine. It’s only later, when children are taught to compete, to strive to be better than others, that their natural light becomes distorted.”
“Do what you love.
Do what makes your heart sing.
And NEVER do it for the money,
Go to work to spread joy.”
So, I challenge you right now, to begin doing whatever it is that you LOVE TO DO!! Don't worry if you are good at it, if you will make any money at it, or if it has the potential to turn into something that will take care of you financially, don't be preoccupied with what anyone will think or say about it or if they will ever even know or care, don't be afraid you will look silly or that you will fail, do not plan it all out and analyze every step and especially do NOT put it off any longer!
No matter how old you are, it’s NEVER too late to realize your dreams and be who you really are! I have to believe that in following our "highest joy", by pursuing our true passion in life, and when living up to our (real) potential by mastering our own individual craft and achieving excellence in doing so, all the rest will fall together just as it should. When we are truly living the life we were designed to live, we are in balance and our physical and emotional needs are met automatically. Only then can we truly experience real joy, peace and contentment! So, just go for it - BE HAPPY! It’s your choice!
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves,
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so
that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.”