After reading this article I sent it off to a couple of my friends, a brief back and forth ensued and I wanted to flesh out some of the thoughts I had re: this piece. Here’s what I posted to my tumblr (tumblog, whatever that thing is called).
I have a, I’m sure fairly standard, case of middle-class angst over my career. I don’t hate what I do, but it’s not really what I want to do (though I’ll admit that seems to be a moving target. I’m unsure if that’s because I’m simply wishy-washy, or because I haven’t stepped out of the rat race and really followed a dream full force, or because some dreams don’t take up an entire lifetime, or something else)… and I don’t want to get caught in that trap of working so hard to advance a career I don’t care about, but I don’t want to stagnate where I am. And, with kids/wife/mortgages it’s not like I’m currently in a position of reasonably quitting the day job and pursuing something I’m “passionate” about.
So, what to do? It’s not like this isn’t a question millions of other people ask themselves. I’m fairly certain it’s a question a high-percentage of those people never really answer though (not that I’m answering it either, so not casting judgement). Once our society moved past the “oh crap I’m starving to death/oh look lions want to eat me” stage it seems we let ourselves vacillate between mindless entertainments to fill our time, or foolish hopes in a nebulous “paradise” to reward ourselves after death. There’s no great here-after where I’ll get to spend days making puppets, writing novels, baking cakes, acting, talking about science/philosophy/art, or making music, so if I’m going to do the things I love it has to be here and now. But the family does have to eat, so ya know… fairly standard pre-middle-age middle-class angst
PS: I’m also well aware that it’s a luxurious question to get to ask. I realize I’m unspeakably lucky to have been born as a white male (with all the advantages that alone provides), and in this century (OK technically I was born last century, but you know what I mean), in a first world country with a piles of technology, in a middle-class family with reasonable education opportunities, passable intelligence, and decent health. So don’t take this as misunderstanding how lucky I really am. I think there is a certain responsibility to not waste the lucky opportunities afforded me by where and when I was born, while not living in such a way as to take away some of those opportunities from others less fortunate.