I have a friend who has just gone to university.
“So what” I hear you ask, “aren’t a whole bunch of kids off to university about now?”
Yes, that’s true, but my friend didn’t go with the hoards of 18 and 19 year olds fresh from school, most trying to delay employment as long as possible, so many ending with degrees that they will never use. No, this person left school without direction. Yes, there were plenty of things that they wanted to do, some of them really ambitious and they were not put off trying things because others didn’t understand, which I really liked. Far too many of us never get started towards our dreams and desires because others don’t approve or make fun of them.
Sometime you’ve got to listen to yourself and be okay with no one else understanding.
So this person spent a few years, worked, did the things they found interested them, explored options and interests and gradually came to a place where they began to see a bigger picture for life. This meant returning to education and then university. Big admiration because they took the time, ignored the societal pressure which their peers were conforming to and did what felt right.
My points is, the model does not fit all. We’re not all ready for further education at 18 or 19. I was 28 when I undertook further education. Indeed, at 18 with virtually zero life experience, how do we decide that this is what we will do for the rest of our lives? I read that graduates today will have 3 or 4 career changes during their working lives. I remember a book, “back in the day”, called Zen and Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig. In one part there is a discussion concerning an intelligent kid who leaves school with a singular interest in motorcycles. Pirsig suggests that rather than encouraging to do what everybody else is doing and go to university why not direct him to employment in a motorcycle repair shop and let him fulfil his passion. The result is, the passion burns on and after five or six years the young man returns to education to take a degree in engineering, the natural progression of his passion. One happy camper. At 28 I followed my passion.
It’s your road and your road alone. Others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you.
The model doesn’t fit all and make no mistake, society, your peers, your religious group, your employer, they all have a model or a number of models that they want to fit you into. It’s safe for them and possibly you if you allow yourself to fit, but what will you become? I doubt you will come anywhere near the best version of yourself that you can be. Too many confinements, rules and limitations. The model is not built for individuals who dream, are a nuisance, make us uncomfortable, challenge us. Some say weird, I say different. And different is good because it shows us the potential that exist should we wish to step away from the course that we’ve been told we must take. It throws open a world of opportunity we have not seen.
There is no heavier burden than an unfulfilled potential.
So, if you find yourself doing stuff that you can’t see the point in, if you’re asking what it’s all about and what does it all add up to, asking; “is this all that life has to offer, is this it?”, take a step back and examine yourself. Find the things that make you tick, the things you’re passionate about, even a dream or two and ask yourself if you need to get off the path you’re on and find the courage to put aside all you’ve been told and continue to be told.
Weigh the consequences. Always weigh the consequences, as there will be some and invariably a price to be paid. If you’re not ready to pay the price then wait. When you can find peace within start the new path. Don’t rush it as you may be changing the rest of your life, so you want to get it right.
Here’s to my friend and all those who are following their passion.
Yours, from a path yet to be trod,