So this is a post that isn’t entirely writing-related, but everything I write here is still LIFE-related, so bear with me. I’m a bit obsessive with my thoughts at times, sometimes overthinking a single point to the point of… ridiculosity. Ha, new word there.
I ran into someone I knew from school today. Not necessarily anyone that I knew well, but it was still great to meet him. We talked briefly about what we’re both doing at the moment and it got me to thinking about the standards that so many people in life set us. In school my peers and I used to argue about who or what we were going to be in the future. Everyone talked about such high aspirations, yet many (myself included) have settled for less, at least for now.
I want to quickly point out that there’s nothing wrong with this. In fact, in many circumstances I’d say that this is for the best. I would prefer that people do something that makes them happy rather than something that satisfies the demands of those around them.
My current career path is environmental conservation, which I always explain to people as being ‘like gardening, but in the bush’. It is far from the most glamorous job, involving copious amounts of dirt, ticks and the odd dangerous plant (such as the aptly-named ‘asthma weed’).
Perhaps it’s not as flashy as law, or medicine, or business, but it’s something that makes me very happy. I struggle with the early starts, but I love having the bush as my primary classroom. There’s always something new to learn, from things as small as grass and soil, to the vast trees that tower over a natural area.
What’s more, I get the satisfaction that what I’m doing is something that helps to save the future for my children and grandchildren (should I have any!). Some time in the future, generations that I will never know will have the opportunity to enjoy the diverse and beautiful ecosystems of Australia, brought back to being as close to their natural state as we can make them.
That is where I get my motivation from. I love the environment. I love the planet, and I love doing things for the future. I get a strange feeling that’s oddly beautiful and terrifying at the same time – a sense of my insignificance in the world coupled with the significance of my presence in my local area. I can’t change the world alone, perhaps, but I can work with and inspire others so that we can do it together.
I’m not here to proselytise, I swear. The point is that I’ve found something that helps to give my life meaning, and it’s made me a lot happier. Not that everything is always hunky-dory, but things are definitely better. If you want to be happy in your life, I believe you have to do the same.
It’s fine to have a job that ‘pays the bills’. I’m not suggesting you should renounce all your material possessions and live a minimalistic life of peace (unless that’s what you really want), but you have to have a source of meaning in your life. We go insane without it.
Something that should be more terrifying than working a ‘lame’ job should be the idea of becoming a zombified, soul-less automaton stuck in a eat-work-sleep-repeat cycle. Many people equate the two, but that needn’t be the case. You can work a dead-end job all your life and be entirely happy, in the same way that you can be a billionaire and feel utterly empty inside.
Being happy is not about what you do for work, but what you do for LIFE. If you are one of the few reading this and want help, feel free to shoot me a message across Facebook. I’m always happy to talk to people about anything and everything. More important than money, an impressive job, nice clothes and a flashy car is having meaning in your life. If you don’t have that yet, chances are you aren’t that happy.
Happiness starts now – you have to take that first step.