Climb, Climb, Climb

They say that the worst thing is to be never satisfied.  To always want more, no matter what we have and how many dreams we’ve accomplished and possessions we have.

Normally, I’d agree with that.

Tonight, however, I made margaritas, and tequila apparently puts me in a pensive mood.

It’s ok to never be satisfied.  It’s ok to always look ahead, plan for the next big thing, strive for something bigger.  How would we grow if we didn’t keep climbing?

The way I see it, there’s a difference between being satisfied and being comfortable.  I’ve been comfortable…I was a nanny for 3 years, and I basically stopped looking for my dream job because the work was easy, the money was good, and I was comfortable.  It’s the classic anecdote – you get stuck at your dead end, 9-5 job and before you know it 30 years have gone by and you’re wondering where time went and why you never did get to those ideas and dreams you’d planned.  You’re happily stuck, because you can pay your bills, have a little bit of fun on the weekend, maybe save a little.  And so there you stay.

However, on the other hand…you could apply to grad school and get your Masters in social work.  You could go to nursing school and work your way up.  You could apply to vet school and open your own practice.  Or, you could quit your job in that field you really didn’t like anyway and get a part-time job editing books and fill in the rest of your days prospecting for clients that desperately need your writing assistance.  And then, after you’ve done that for a few years, you can start your own magazine.  And then you can go back to school, get your PhD, and teach.  You can then finally publish that novel, or collection of short stories, or memoir.

See?  Never be satisfied.  Always want more.  Because life is so damn short…it’s up to us to make our lives the way we want them.  Don’t ever settle.

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We’re Doomed

They say the economy is improving, yet people still find the need to belittle certain college degrees and act like they are the authority on all things.  Below is a response I wrote last year to all the people who say English, History, and other like degrees are useless and I was stupid to get one.  Feel free to comment below with your opinions; a lively discussion never goes out of style!

We are indeed doomed, as a country, as a people, when the majority of commenting readers agree that college degrees in English, Writing, History, etc, are basically useless.  No one should study these topics, they say.  Why didn’t these idiots major in something practical, like engineering, or mathematics, or perhaps skip college altogether and go straight to trade school.  Why, I could be a plumber, or a motorcycle repairwoman, and be laughing my ass all the way to the bank!  These crazy youngsters.

You know, you’re right.  Why would I want to go to college for things I’m interested in, for things I love and I’m good at?  Why didn’t I remember that money and the ability to buy whatever you want is indeed the most important thing?  Why didn’t I major in something I hate, or that I’m completely useless at, just so I could be guaranteed a good-paying job right out of college??  Man…I really missed the boat here.  Who needs the arts, or humanities, or music, anyway?  Waste of time.  Only fit for a hobby.

Oh, ignorance.  I think Oscar said it best, By giving us the opinions of the uneducated, journalism keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community.  ‘Tis my lot in life, I suppose.  I try telling myself that these people just don’t understand, they don’t know what it’s like to love something so much that money doesn’t matter.  They don’t know what it’s like to wake up in the middle of the night, story ideas flying around in your brain, song lyrics begging to be written down.  They don’t feel the pull, the need, the loyalty to art, or at least the potential, that keeps us coming back to the blank page, again and again and again.

And what of the successful ones – the ones publishing books, working as journalists, winning the damn Pulitzer Prize?  Were their degrees useless?  Should they have majored in something that would have given them excellent salaries right off the bat?  Just because a career path doesn’t lead to instant money and success doesn’t mean it’s worthless.  Who cares if you make a lot of money, as long as you’re doing what makes you happy.  Those commenting seem to have forgotten this small fact.

All I know is that my choice was right for me.  I learned and experienced so much at college that I wouldn’t have otherwise; “useless degree” is probably the furthest thing from the truth.  It taught me to write, to express myself in an educated and informed manner; it taught me to dig down and figure out why I believe what I do and then how to say it.  It taught me to argue, to stand my ground, to read people and figure out what they really mean.  The world is in dire need of people who can formulate an opinion and present an argument – hell, we need people who can write a damn sentence without using stupid abbreviations you’d find on a teenagers texting history.

So no, crazy people – my English degree may not make me good money.  I may not get $80,000 right out of college.  But I’d rather be fucking poor and love what I’m doing than spend my life in a job I hate, just because it pays me well.

Ain’t it a blessing to do what you want to do?