So, my girlfriend Miranda recently took a pretty significant plunge. She has spent the last few years working a typical 9-to-5. It’s been in the field she thought she would very much enjoy, and it was perfectly aligned with her educational background. Unfortunately, after a couple years in, she was forced to face the uncomfortable reality that the actual work wasn’t as thrilling and rewarding as she thought it would be. As a result, she made the decision to step away and try something new.
Ever since she made the decision to take the plunge, she’s been noticeably happier and more vibrant. I’ve commented about it to her, but she denies that it’s made much difference. Maybe she’s not being completely forthright about how happy she is about the change, or maybe she can’t detect it yet. But as someone that lives with this woman, I can tell you that it has dramatically changed her mood. To be frank, she’s much more like the adventurous, energetic, and optimistic girl that I met a number of years ago. And I absolutely love it.
The only problem with this new arrangement is that I’m still stuck in a traditional 9-to-5. It seems to me that this new arrangement can go one of two ways. Either I will find myself living vicariously through her and gaining renewed strength through my knowledge that she is living the good life, or I will become jealous that I’m not doing the same.
Although I absolutely see the problems with the traditional 9-to-5, which I’ve written about on this blog in the past, I feel stuck in it. It’s an odd feeling, because I don’t feel required to stay where I am for financial reasons. To the contrary, I would be just fine trying something new with a more flexible lifestyle. At the core of it, I think I feel compelled to stick it out where I am simply because I’m concerned how others would think of me if I left.
I’ll be the first to admit that this is a pretty unhealthy conclusion. We only have one life, and it seems silly to spend that life doing things so that other people will have a good impression of you. Seems to me that each of us should take the one life we have and live it in accordance with our deepest passions. If we love to paint, we should spend our lives focussed on that. And if we love to travel and have adventures, we should spend our lives travelling adventuring. Dying poor isn’t anything to be ashamed of, especially if you made away with a great life.
While making that kind of decision could cause people to look at you as though you’re crazy, surely it’s better than doing something that doesn’t fulfill your deepest life purpose only to avoid criticisms from other people. Especially when those other people probably aren’t fulfilling their life purpose either. Could it be that we’re all just crabs in a bucket, all too afraid to pursue our deepest life passions and pulling down into the bucket anyone else who tries to make a run for freedom? Could it also be that we judge and put down those that take the plunge and pursue their deepest life passions, because, deep inside, we’re jealous that we don’t have the courage to do so?