I have always contemplated what a healthy balance between time spent focusing on a career and time spent focusing on personal leisure actually looks like. For me, I have always thought this point was further into the leisure side of the equation, and focused most of my time on personal enjoyment and expanding my experiences (not that I plan on stopping). While time invested in this was certainly worthwhile and highly influential in shaping my current worldview, I am beginning to see the viewpoint from the other side of the spectrum as well.
When I was growing up I always enjoyed the challenge of playing organized sports. I was driven by the competition, and strove to constantly develop my abilities. It was an outlet for me, and always gave me something to focus my energy on. While this mindset was great for athletics and definitely provided me with some valuable experiences and skills, for years I struggled to find the same motivation in the adult world. In particular, the world of work. Perhaps it was due to a lack of satisfaction with my previous career path, or perhaps it was that I simply was not ready. Regardless of the source, work I actually enjoyed was something I often feared I would never find.
“Edit your life frequently and ruthlessly. It’s your masterpiece after all.” – Nathan W. Morris
For quite possibly the first time ever, I am feeling really excited about the prospect of taking steps forward in my job. It’s a feeling that is both strange and new for me. I’ve found a field of work I find fun and interesting, and I notice my inner drive re-emerging as a new and creative source. For a long time, I looked down on the thought of dedicating so much of one’s energy toward “career success”. “Success”, I felt, was never the correct term to describe what I wanted. Instead of idolizing business moguls and the wealthy, I have always admired individuals who live their purpose regardless of money. The kind of people who are willing to pack up everything so they can live modest lives in surf and ski towns. These individuals make passion their priority, and from my experience, seem to be the happiest people around. It takes a lot more courage than you may think to ignore every expectation society has for you. In their own way, these people are far more admirable than we ever give them credit.
Deep down, devoting heaps of energy to a career is in direct conflict with many of the values I have always used to define my code of ethics. I’ll be the first to admit that I spent a lot of time doing my own thing and avoiding any form of job commitment due to a subconscious fear of where I might end up. I realize now that fear contributed nothing to my life other than to serve as a convenient excuse to let great opportunities pass me by. Fear does not create safety, it creates complacency. As I get older and more self-aware, I am beginning to understand the reasons behind my actions, including my new interest in making the most of my work. As counter intuitive as it is, my reason for this drive is simple:
Because I don’t ever want a monotonous job. I want work that keeps me on my toes and never feels “normal”.
I don’t give a shit about having a BMW by the time I am thirty. I do however give a shit about how I spend my time, and about having the ability to make decisions for myself and the people in my life based purely on what is the right choice, uninfluenced by external financial factors. I do not define wealth by possessions or big homes, but by experiences and freedom of lifestyle. This is the kind of wealth I truly seek. I am excited about my career because luckily I enjoy my job, but also because I am realizing where I want it to take me.
I give a shit about having an awesome lifestyle, and taking some time to build myself up is what will get me there. Progress is fun.