We live a lifetime of not enough time. It moves by and through and around us so quickly. And if we let ourselves, we end up sitting along the curbside watching it, as if in a parade, marching in front as we fight the other spectators to pick up the best of the cheap candy it throws.
And that’s partly what I’m afraid of.
Life is also too easily and quickly filled with regret. We hold on to big ideas and dreams and hopes that we play around with in our minds thinking of the someday that will come when we have time or motivation or the right circumstances to realize, only to let the short seconds of “one day I’ll do that” pile upon us without taking any action until the seconds turn themselves into years and weigh more than we can move.
And that’s also partly what I’m afraid of.
And then there’s a life lived with passion. Or without it. Of filling our parades and our short seconds doing what we know we don’t really have any interest or desire to be doing. But we do it anyway. Because as Alan Watts reminds us, we’ve been told and taught that sometimes we just have to “go on doing the things we don’t like in order to go on doing the things you don’t like doing.”
This is where I disagree with Dean. At least in part.
Because I find myself more in agreement with Watts. The video is three minutes and nine seconds that you won’t regret having spent if you let it play through.
“But it’s absolutely stupid to spend your time doing things you don’t like in order to go on doing things you don’t like and to teach your children to follow in the same track. See, what we’re doing is we’re bringing up children, and educating them to live the same sort of lives we’re living in order that they may justify themselves and find satisfaction in life by bringing up their children to bring up their children to do the same thing. It’s all wretch and no vomit. It never gets there.”
I’m not sure there’s a person in this world who loves every aspect and is passionate about every single detail of the job they work. That’s reality. There are tough parts of every job, but that doesn’t preclude us from finding a way to bring our passions into what it is we’ve chosen to do. I absolutely agree with Dean that working to support a family, survive, and contribute in some way are incredibly important.
However, there are too many options available to each of us that still allow us to follow what fulfills. Because if you are working a job that makes you miserable and makes others miserable to be in your misery, what’s the point? That doesn’t mean you have to exclusively work in the areas of your passion, but you can find yourself a situation that is satisfying and gratifying in its capacity to allow you to work your passions into what you’re doing.
Teaching our students about capturing the joy in life, about marching in the parade instead of watching it pass by, about choosing to follow and pursue passions which fulfill, about moving when the seconds haven’t yet turned into years of regret- I’m not ready to give up on those things yet.