I posted a status to Facebook today and while it got a lot of comments, it got no likes. The comments indicated a lot of disagreement from a variety of people. I've decided to bring this issue here, to explore it more for myself and then, of course, to share it.
What I said was, "I don't want to make a living off anything I'm passionate about. It takes it from joy to obligation and steals the fun out of living."
This thought came from a contemplation this afternoon of why I have not pursued a number of fields which I am truly passionate about. I have been asked many times over my life, "Gosh, you're so passionate and knowledgeable about (health/wellness/children/psychology), why don't you make a career out of it?"
For a number of years, I thought there was something dysfunctional about me that I could not seem to "buckle down and get a career." Then, I realized that I was trying to play a game I had no interest in playing. So then, I decided passionate pursuit of happiness was my way to go and I have been pursuing that for years now.
Lately, I have realized this is not enough. Passionate pursuit of happiness leaves me feeling good and authentic, but ultimately broke and unable to pursue many things which would make me happy. I hit a point with this where I felt I was losing myself--how can I walk this line? Because, ultimately, nobody wants to pay me to smile at them and show them love and kindness...well, not more than $30k/year anyway and for that I have to put up with an awful lot of mainstream and corporate bullshit.
As a means to achieve a lifelong goal of mine (to ultimately reside in Europe), I have decided to go to school and get a degree. The field I have chosen is Computer Science. Why? Well, in part, I've chosen to learn nothing about the internal workings of computers for the last nearly two decades. So I'll be learning something entirely new, using skills I haven't called on in a long time...so this will be a challenge. And if there's anything important for you to know about me, it's that I like a challenge. When I recently began the consideration of computer science as an avocation, I was hesitant. I am not at all passionate about the science of computers. Don't get me wrong, I fucking love technology and even science in general, but the study of it, no, I'm not passionate of it in itself.
What I realized I am passionate about though, is learning. So learning anything new is amazing to me. Secondly, I can take this new skill which I acquire and apply it to things I am passionate about. I am very passionate about health and wellness, child development, and sociology/psychology. I can utilize the skills I acquire in programming to write programs about things which I am passionate. And as a bonus, I will learn something new about something I love: technology.
But here's what I don't want: I don't want my passions to ever become marred by the pursuit of money.
I simply cannot emphasize that one enough.
I want, for all of my life, to have money be the thing which I acquire simply because the society I choose to live in requires it to get along.
I like to keep things simple.
Simple is never having to address the worry that money will interfere with my passions. Not only will I never compromise on my passions just to make a buck, I'll never put myself in the position of being asked (or tempted) to do so.
All that being said, you may still well disagree with me. And you know what? That's quite alright. I'll live my life my way, you live yours your way. We can always still meet in the middle and enjoy one another's company. <3