“This is why finding what we love, though it may take years, is building a life of passion. For what makes you come alive can keep you alive, whether you are paid well for it or not. And beyond the fashion of the job market, a life of passion makes us a healthy cell in the body of the world.”
Mark Nepo (The Book of Awakening)
When I was a young person heading off to college, the jobs available for women were limited—teacher, nurse, secretary, possibly bookkeeper, if you happened to be really good with figures. My sister, Jerrie, was an aberrant female, who majored in statistics in college. College graduates knew that whatever field they chose would be productive—there would be jobs waiting, and they could pick and choose. We didn't think much about passion, or what made us come alive. If we had, I would have majored in art. Since art was not considered a reasonable college choice, even for a girl, I had to squeeze those classes in around the edges as electives. My passion was diverted into teaching, and though I brought some creativity to that field, the deep dive into art-making remained on the sidelines.
Now, as then, it seems that the job market drives college decisions. I have a young friend who loves animals, who has wanted to be a veterinarian her whole life, and was even accepted into vet school, which is no easy feat. But, she decided that the job market was not ideal, she would likely not make enough money in that field, so she changed her major. I know others who have gone into computer science fields, though they loathe working at a computer all day. Nowadays, students coming out of high school are told the best jobs are in engineering—and no doubt they are, but what if you don't have a genuine interest in engineering? Will you become a successful engineer?
And then there is the whole generation X, who had the bad—or possibly, the good—fortune to have graduated at the moment of the economic melt-down. Their degrees, no matter what they happened to be, meant very little because the jobs simply weren't there. As a result, they have learned to innovate. I heard this week, that the daughter of a friend of mine is making her living by raising goats, and making products--soaps and body lotions--from their milk. Many Gen-Xers' have created a life based on their passionate interests. To be sure, they may be struggling financially, but many of them are doing what they love. You tell me—which is better?
When we listen to our hearts, and choose to do what brings us alive, our whole body/mind dances. We work hard, but hard work feels good; we strive, and are happy striving. As Mark Nepo says, we become “a healthy cell in the body of the world.” In other words, we become a blessing, both to ourselves and to others.
In the Spirit,