It’s weird for me to say the S word or to even hear about it, because this year I am not going back. Who would have thought that me, the one who was basically at the top of my class, described as an academic, would not be going back to school? In fact, there are many times when I don’t even feel like going back to school. I said I was going to take a year off of school, but now I’m considering not going back for a couple of years or at all.
My tentative plan was to take a year off and work and travel and look at some schools to go to. However, one year really is not enough time to figure out what I want to do for the rest of my life. When there is so much out there, how can I really know what I want to do? There are some who are lucky and know for certain what they want to do. They find their niche when they are young. Even then, many who know what they want to do seem to do it because it will make them the most money and most successful rather than make them happy. I am on the search for what will make me happy. I sometimes wonder if I will ever find the answer I am seeking.
There is so much I want to do, but I find rules and regulations and logistics all so limiting. Sometimes I feel that I could follow the typical American dream. I could go to school for some career I am interested in, make good money, raise a family, have a house, go on vacation a couple times a year, etc. Other times, I just want to pick up and move to another country where life is slower. I could raise my own food and spend many hours cooking and maintaining my house. I could spend afternoons playing games and talking with friends and family. However, that life would be without much world traveling, internet, TV, money, but perhaps it would be richer in happiness, friends, and family. I feel torn to say the least. I have been raised in a world where there is so much. And I, being so inquisitive and thirsty for knowledge and new experiences, may get restless with a life so leisurely, especially when I know there is so much out there to see.
Perhaps a flaw of mine is that I like to know a little about everything. I like to test out all my options and see which is best. That certainly would make finding a career quite difficult. I’m hoping that I will fall into something I love, but that may just be an expectation I have. There is yet another flaw of mine. I have high expectations that aren’t met in the ways I expect. I may have the expectation that through job shadowing next year, I will be able to say yes, this is the job I want. The chances of that happening are relatively slim.
The process of preparing for college was more exciting than actually attending college. It was the anticipation of something new that was exciting. I began thinking about what clubs I wanted to join and where I wanted to go on weekends. I was excited to connect with my future roommate on Facebook. It was fun packing my suitcases and ordering bed sheets. I even enjoyed ordering my books. And then actually attending college became the reality and all my expectations dissolved. The clubs weren’t what I expected, my roommate was nice enough but we didn’t connect. The new things I bought for my dorm room were just things. The textbooks arrived in boxes and then they went on a shelf. I went to class hoping to find people to study with and have dinner with a professor. I was hoping that activities in the dorm would help me make new friends. Sadly, that is not exactly what happened.
So, here I am thinking about what to do next. I don’t want to live the rest of my life working 40+ hours a week just waiting for that magic retirement age. There is the question: live to work or work to live? I suppose my answer to that question is neither. If my work doesn’t feel like work then I don’t have to live to work, or work to live. I will just be living life. I don’t want to be that person who is always looking forward to the weekend or waiting for my vacation time to build up. Unfortunately, for the typical middle class American that is the reality. That is why this year I am going to do something different. I am going to find those people whose answer to the question “live to work, or work to live?” is what is work?