For Bliss or Money: A Life Dilemma

November 4, 2010 § 4 Comments


Based on the kind of mood that I’m in, I can warn you upfront that is going to be a pretty raw, revealing look at myself… one which for better of worse, probably belongs more in a private journal, but will have the utter bald-aciousness to show up on a public blog.

For Bliss or Money… that is the question today… which is it that we should all be vying after? I have to tell you that I am extremely proud and amazed of how my life has turned out in the last few months. I couldn’t be happier being exactly who and where I am. On my walk home today, as the flurry of yellow leaves danced along with me to the slow shuffle of my defeat, yes complete defeat… still, I couldn’t not think of a single place, year,  or moment, on earth where I would rather be. This place, this season, this year of mine… it is true magic, even if not at all what I expected.

Yet, I can tell you this much… failing, no matter how much you can reason with yourself… doesn’t feel good. It packs a sting… that painfully jolts you into reatlity – maybe this is not the place for me.

Of course, whenever you think along those lines… or rather, whenever I think along those lines, I can’t help but feel that somehow that would make a quitter… as if this is somehow a deep seated pattern inside, that only lets me get so far… before I ditch things all together for a brand new start. But honestly, sometimes I feel like quitting is not a bad thing… it is more about being able to more closely define for yourself what it is you’re in search of. For me, the question comes down to two very simple things… which should I live for, for Bliss or Money?

If I were to live for Bliss, I would not for a second spend any more time chasing after something that actually is not my thing at all. Don’t get me wrong… I do love a challenge, and I love what SQL does… or SAS or even SPSS… I have no problem with the subject and/or the learning… School is just about the most amazing thing there is. But, in all honesty, there isn’t anything here that I intend to do for the rest of my life. I just have no interested in spending 10 hour days in front of a computer, … I need to be out and about. I really really do.

But then there’s the question of Money.. I guess it’s kind of important. But honestly… and I can’t even believe I”m about to write this, it is only important in so long that I’m single… a dual income solves everything. And a dual income household bringing in two minimum wages, spells, enough to live on, time to enjoy and someone to love on… basically, a pretty damn good place to be. So, it’s not like I”m even saying that money is not important as long as you have a rich boyfriend, in fact I’m just saying… money is not important at all. The only life scenario in which I see myself caring about whether or not I have money is if I decide to raise a kid by myself… then yes. But surly, I am not busting my ass in this program for that plan. I assure you, landing a boyfriend would be much easier than that.

So then, why am I here… More and more this question begins to haunt me… I don’t want to be a quitter, but that is no reason to live life in fear of making difficult choices.  Whenever faced with such life dilemmas, I try always ask myself what I would do if I only had one more year to live… then I do that.

So if I only had one more year to live, would I choose to spend it inside my apartment, without a second to spare, still failing every test there is….  I probably should back up and explain, the test we were given this afternoon was pretty funny actually… , if it weren’t so tragic… each question probably would have taken qt least two hours, to solve EACH… alas there were 7. I assure you it wasn’t just hard, not even just impossible… the level of the questions was so complex, that knowing or not knowing is beyond irrelvent. I really could have spent a good 10+ hours trying and would have still not gotten it right. In fact, the amount of code it would take to answer everything, would probably take well over 30 minutes… JUST to type up, … yes, if you were just copying it .. let alone, understanding it… let alone… processing it… let alone …ah, writing it.

My classmates and I were in beyond shock…. Sort of a strange life daze, that all of a sudden makes you wonder what the next move is. Of course you can try, try, try… but then you… I… will have wasted all my savings, living abroad without having seen a thing and gaining knowledge that I am excited to learn, but not really all that keen on using. I’m sure it will come in handy, but a part of me just wants to take a language course, travel around a bit and find a traveling consulting gig. I know, doesn’t taht just sounds like a much more awesome plan… one that might actually breathe life into me, instead of out…?

Perhaps some of you have some life wisdom to offer up here. What is the best course of action…. How would you suggest striking a balance between Bliss and Money…. there is no such thing as both… at least not when it comes to the polar opposite things that I’m attracted to.

My favorite guy, Richard Carlson, actually quit law school at one point to follow his passion for psychology… he says sometimes knowing when to walk away is just as important as knowing when not to. I will wait a bit longer, but know that this is on my mind… and is being seriously considered. I am very keen on keeping happy… it is the one thing that I have worked hard to deserve and not allowed myself to do too much of in the past few years. If this will not do it, the next thing will…

I can count on ONE hand the amount of times I’ve been outside in the past 2 months (not counting my most favorite morning walks to school… ONE hand.

I know I said earlier, just WANT…. so hear me say this… i DO. I want very much to be happy and to be able to see more of this world and feel happy while I still can. And while getting this degree would surly help, there is no reason for it to hurt it. It is not that important… what is important is that with or without it, I couldn’t be more happy to be here…  but I think I might be ready to finally enjoy it.  What to do…




The Big Split and Other Forks in the Road…

October 29, 2010 § 1 Comment

Way back in the day, in college, while studying cognitive dissonance in one of our many psych classes, we were asked to analyze something pertaining to cognitive dissonance in our own lives and report back on our findings. I mention this, because while rather simple and probably trivial in essence, the paper became a very important turning point for me in my evolution into adulthood. I agonized for weeks about what to write … keep in mind, at that point I was merely 21 and had much fewer choices at hand. If I were to do this now for example, well hey…   you could say there’s been quite an array of happenings in the last 7 years that could be explored. But, back then, I guess things were a little simpler, although when you don’t know better, things seem just as hard…  *note to self, you don’t better… it most certainly only gets harder, enjoy while you can.

In particular, at 21 my life was mostly defined by three major factors:

The big move,

The not so big betrayal,

And The big split.

Amazing isn’t it, that your life can be boiled down to a just a few flag poles, that mark along their way those glaring forks in the road you left behind – you are here, go right.

I think the best thing about thinking of life in map-format is that you’ll never find yourself wishing for a different route… because, lets face it, the road you’re on is your road… it’s who. you. are. … and the fork is how you got here,  … so, why on earth would you want to have traveled another way… only to not know yourself.  Know yourself.

But, if you were to have a map like this, it would at least help point you in the next direction. *Here I veered left, perhaps now it’s time to head right… *

Seriously, I think charting a life map could come quite handy…  in fact, I think I just created a whole new business concept…  Life analyzed in visual form. Brilliant. Seriously, why is there not an app for this yet.

Anyway, so the short short version of all this (life until 21)  is that The Big Move came with some academic challenges, and to compensate for lacking in all other capacities in a foreign country (specifically – socially, academically and financially), I plowed on with music. Until of course, the no so big betrayal that unfortunately cost me a friend but gained me an entire life… one that suddenly involved anything but music. And I was grateful.

But, the truth is, with leaving music behind came an entirely new challenge of figuring out who I was without it. I think it was similar to what retired people go through when they finally stop working ….and realize that all these years they’ve been a shitty partner to their loved one, a crappy parent to their children and no one at work misses them in the least. And, when someone asks them what they do or who they are, the only word that comes to mind is ‘retired’. For me, it was yet another new beginning. A move into the unknown – no violin as my crutch, no answer for my hobbies, no identity (or so it seemed) beyond my name.

As far as I was concerned, studying is what other people did – ya know, those people that go to school because they are there to learn, not because Ms. France told them to.  I on the other hand was just starting to learn how to write and read… it was only a few short years before that, that I didn’t know how… so the idea of school being a place to learn, had somewhat of a foreign notion… I was just there to survive and oh yeah, music.

So when I finally quit, it was a big deal. It was my first real break up… one that has probably scarred me much more than  any other break up has. If you follow the rule of two on how long it takes to get over a break up, well then I guess I’m about half way there. So, maybe this means (12 x 2) – 10 = in about 14 years I’ll be ready to start playing again… 🙂

But, why you ask, am I writing all this. The paper I wrote in college was called ‘The Girl That Didn’t Care Enough To Try’… it really was a revealing exercise, one that astutely pointed out to me the degree to which music had affected my life and the reasons behind my choice not to pursue it… and long before then… to despise it.  I really saw it as something that stood in the way of everything else that I wanted… which was not to have to rely on it.

So, when I finally took the plunge and went to school for school, it took quite a while for me to figure out whether or not I could even do it – be that person that doesn’t have a crutch. That is just able to succeed all on their own. And so, little by little, I replaced my crutches… one by one, abandoning each in less than a timely fashion, but creatively none-the-less,

…until finally I dropped them all and found myself standing in the middle of St. Pietersplein Square, with my books in hand…  me, myself and i – no crutches in sight. And, the feeling is of none other than having finally arrived. Not at a destination you see, but a place of solid ground. One where I am finally standing on my own two feet.

But of course, as I look at myself now, my life-map all the way up in the left hand corner there… so far from the original plan, I can’t help but see myself shortly sprinting in the opposite direction…  maybe with a few crutches in tow. Hopefully, by the end of it all, having paved for myself a spectacular journey with some of the best ups and downs that life can bring.

Where Am I?

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