I worked hard in school, tried my best to impress my teachers, put in some all nighters before major exams. In college, I started down the business school path, not really sure about my professional goals, but confident that a college degree would grant me entry into the workforce at the end of it all. Somewhere along the way, my mother (and Joseph Campbell) reminded me that life is really about following one’s bliss–when you love your course of study and eventually your work, the rest of the pieces fall into place. Steve Jobs inspired Stanford graduates with similar words in a speech that went viral after his death. In some way, I suppose my decision to navigate away from business and toward liberal arts and the study of Spanish language and culture tapped into this notion. I adored my high school Spanish teacher and thrived when learning new languages, and a junior year trip to Spain truly gave me a new outlook on life–upon my return, I shifted my business degree emphasis from a major to a minor, and loaded up on Spanish language, literature, and linguistics courses leading toward a BA. The end result? Few job opportunities for a liberal arts major. While my fellow graduates were nabbing high-paying engineering and accounting jobs out of the gate, I was interviewing for entry-level sales positions at Enterprise Rent-A-Car. After several months of rejections and dim hopes of ever finding work “befitting of a newly-minted college graduate,” I eventually landed an office job in a financial firm, feeling rudderless and adrift, navigating “blisslessly” toward an uncertain future in the mutual funds industry. Four years I stuck it out. Ascended the ranks. Became a department manager. Saw a promising career stretched out before me. Yet, the heart simply wasn’t in it. My bliss lay elsewhere, and, despite the job security and guaranteed career, I enrolled in graduate language studies and another go around in Spain, which righted the ship and set me sailing toward uncharted, potentially blissful territories.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Now, I run my own business, in the field of my choice, and enjoy the exposure to foreign languages and cultures I always sought, doing it all on a flexible schedule so I can be present for my family.
Which brings me to the point of this thread.
The other day while experiencing Occupy Wall Street, we ran into this cat…er, fellow with cat on head, charging for photos. To witness another human being practicing what he loves, following his bliss if you will…two kindred spirits we were in that moment. Setting examples for our children. We, as role models, showing them that the practical way is not always the most fulfilling. That following one’s bliss is indeed what life is all about.