We choose students, employees, and our significant others based upon; grades, education, ambition, summary statistics, number of awards, the amount of money in a bank account, – Are these the metrics that we should measure someone upon?
By 2012 I had graduated from two great colleges in Ontario, and in a short amount of time I had a job at my dream agency…at least I thought so. The pay was good; the hours were great, but within two months of working there it seemed like everything turned to misery. I was told I had what I should want, and love it…yet all I did was loathe it more each and everyday. So I quit.
Conversations with people became about who is getting a new place, a new job, a raise, the list goes on and on. While yes, having all the latest gadgets and toys is fun, no doubt about it. But that life style stays the same after 5 years, perhaps that person will get another raise, or move to a bigger apartment or buy a house. But it’s still a cycle. Short lived. Mundane. Unfulfilling.
This isn’t what I wanted at all. I caught onto this and realized that these are all external factors that provide instant gratification. Just because people around you are telling you to do something doesn’t mean you should have to go out and do it. “Graduate college or university, find a boyfriend or girlfriend, get engaged, buy a house, get married, have children, get a job with good pay and benefits.” Sure it nice to think about these things… do they really improve the content of your life? Does it bring an internal connection or sense of belonging and community?
Do what you want because it makes you happy. And make sure you define what happiness and success is, don’t let some Neanderthal authority figure tell you. Take the initiative to change your situation if you feel unhappy. Don’t conform to a life of security, and take a risk! It may be scary at first and the risk you take may fail. But at least you tried. At least you know. Nothing, and I mean nothing is more self-destructive to the human soul than hiding in fear. There is always a way to get what you want, it may have to be unconventional, and you may have to try, try, and try again. If you do this, I can promise it will change you and be worth it. The hunt is always sweeter than the kill. Search for what you want.
So for me, I knew I wanted to live in the north and have the opportunity to work with Native Americans. I took some sacrifices and I’ve moved 18 hours away from “home” to one of Ontario’s last frontiers. It has been glorious to live in a city so passionate of nature. It’s become my new home, and home can only be where your heart is. So I urge that if you are dissatisfied and feeling dull, make a change. Don’t just take a trip to some country you will visit for two weeks and never visit again, but a change that will challenge and excite you and help you develop and grow. Measure your life by your own merit of happiness and success and in the long run if that means picking grapes, writing poetry, or living as a vagabond, then so be it.
“I have always been unsatisfied with life as most people live it. Always I want to live more intensely and richly. Why muck and conceal one’s true longings and loves, when by speaking of them one might find someone to understand them, and by acting on them one might discover oneself?”…Because I know that I could not bear the routine and humdrum of the life that you are forced to lead. I don’t think I could ever settle down. I have known too much of the depths of life already, and I would prefer anything to an anticlimax.”-Everett Ruess.