Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!

Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!
Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Do What You Love!

A friend and I talked today about where we are in our lives. She stated she is very disenchanted about the direction her life has gone. She saw “greater things” in her future and is disappointed that her life hasn’t gone in that direction. One could say to her, “Well you made your own bed” or “Life is what YOU make of it”, but let’s look at this for a minute.


We all feel this way from time to time. You have great plans coming out of high school or college and then shit happens and life doesn’t go exactly as planned. I personally thought I would be a doctor or lawyer, living in some fabulous apartment in a major city, driving a sports car, and taking exotic vacations every year. Well, that didn’t happen, but I am for the most part, very happy and satisfied. Sure I would have like to have my dream job, a different career as a full time writer, but reality hits you. Once you work your way up in a certain job and start making decent money, it is hard to think about starting over. Going back to college is a difficult choice; no one wants to willingly be a starving-student again. You also become accustomed to living a certain lifestyle within your current salary. If you are used to going out with friends on the weekends, buying those new shoes, taking weekend trips where ever you like, changing careers can be an abrupt lifestyle change due to reduced finances.

My sister gave me some great basic advice. If you have to do a career that is not particularly satisfying, make sure you do what you love in your free time. Do an activity that you love, such as learning to ride horseback, playing a musical instrument, volunteering at a favorite charity, writing that novel (or blog), or working on your garden. It is also said, do what you love, and you will eventually be compensated for it. The problem with that advice is that no one can say how long “eventually” is. No one looks forward to making $25,000 a year for decades while they wait to make money off of a career choice. But I guess maybe that doesn’t matter so much if you are "doing what you love.” Beginning artists, actors, and musicians tend to make lower wages than entry-level white collar professionals (hence the term, starving artist), and yet, they regularly claim greater job satisfaction. Maybe there is something to be said for that. You get over the initial shock of being poor, but, hey, at least you are doing what you love! Artists, actors, and musicians are following their dream, perfecting their art. Not many data entry operators or mid-level managers ever dreamed of doing what they do.

In this day and age not many people stay in the same career for decades and decades like our parents . I read somewhere that the average person will have 3 or 4 career changes in their lifetime. It is not common anymore to work at just one job for life. As I approach 40, I have worked in two different career fields: restaurants and hotels, and county level domestic relations. Both of them are satisfying in many ways, and yet both fall short of my ultimate career goal. Maybe that is why on the side, I continue to write each evening and plod away at the garden in my yard!  If you are young, do what you love first. If you are not young, there is always time to do what you love, but it may involve personal sacrifice.

3 comments:

  1. Well you don't sound frazzled at all to me!! Gardening will keep you sane and blogs are an awesome outlet! Looking forward to the next blog ;>

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  2. Marc, I completely relate to your post. We are the same age and as you know, I'm back in school. I make less than 25K a year as a grad student and the only way I survive without loans is because my husband subsidizes my existence. That is both awesome and terrible. I can honestly say that I'm still not sure that I made the right decision to go back to school, because it has cost me a lot. I live thousands of miles away from my husband, my family, and many of my friends. The majority of my friends here are in their 20s, so they have no concept of what it's like to approach or be 40. I love them, but sometimes it's awfully lonely.

    And I agree with Sheryl - it's the same advice that my dad gave me years ago. Dad worked a very "important" job and made a good living. But, he was also absent a lot of the time because of traveling and working overseas. Very exciting and dynamic for him, but at the same time I know he regrets not being with his family for events, big and small, as well as just missing the daily life of our family. But, he also had a garden, antiqued, and left his work at his job.

    So, I understand the conundrum. And I've done the hotel/hospitality job as well and did find it very rewarding in many ways. But it is hard and the negatives start to pile up. I think that what you're doing now is so amazing and I'm really proud of you. You get a chance to share your compassion and make others' lives better. However, you can still write, and you do so eloquently, and if you want to, you can go back to school. Really. There IS something invigorating/liberating about being in school. Hell, my mother in law got her law degree in her 50s. No reason why you can't too.

    Love you!
    M

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  3. Thanks M, I enjoyed reading your views on this. And as your dear friend, we are all amazed at your drive and focus on your new path! xoxo

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