“I don’t want to earn a living; I want to live” – Oscar Wilde
For a while I’ve been a bit anti-US (sorry, I still love you friends and family) based on the idea that sometimes the competition and the constant race to the top put too much pressure on people, and devalued the majority of people who aren’t at the top. You MUST be a leader. But it’s not just in the US, I think it sort of exists everywhere, maybe a bit less explicit.
Everywhere… Why do we ask people what they do for a living when we’re getting to know them? Why not ask them what do you love doing? In general? Shouldn’t a person be more defined by their passions, rather than their job title, which we all know are scarce these days. How can we ask someone – Is that what you’re going to do the rest of your life?
So I’ve come to hate the idea of ‘live to work’ – Life focusing on the job, what you contribute, what position you can work your way up to. What makes one job more important than another? (READ NICKEL AND DIMED). For the last long while, I’ve been embracing the other way – ‘work to live.’ I actually do like teaching English more than I give it credit for sometimes, but it was never my aspiration, just what I’ve ended up doing in order to pay the bills and travel while living abroad. It’s been a job, that I’m more and more grateful to have in these times, but it’s just that. A job.
I read this quote from Oscar Wilde and it got me thinking about dream jobs. Why do we stop chasing our dream jobs? Is it that reality sets in? Or are we just settling? I don’t want to just end up somewhere. I’d rather be going towards somewhere, even if I’m not there yet.
Maybe there’s a middle ground between ‘work to live’ and ‘live to work’ … Sure we all need to earn a living to survive, but I want to do more than just survive. I had this in mind years ago and somehow forgot it along the way – How do you choose where to live? The people, the place, or the job. And while all are important, maybe it still is the job that fulfills you most, or at least for me (No offense, I still like people and places). But it’s what we spend the most time doing with our hours in our days anyways! A job should give you something more than a salary. We want something that we feel like we’re contributing towards, that we succeed at, that we are rewarded for, that pushes and teaches us, that we are passionate about. Not everyone can have the luxury of all that obviously, but what’s wrong with dreaming a little? Why do we stop trying?
So even if Oscar Wilde didn’t mean it this way, I don’t want to just earn a living, but I want to live by doing something I love in a field of work I can invest myself in. I know my interests have changed… When I was a kid I thought I’d for sure become a vet and later on I changed my mind and put everything into working in the music industry, and then even after finishing university with travel ambitions, I still never would have thought I’d end up teaching English abroad for 3-and-some years. And it’s been good. I have learned so much doing this and even with the ups and downs with my liking towards teaching, I’ve probably learned a fair amount from my students as I have taught them in language.
So as everyone’s known for a while now, it’s time to make a move. I think I’ve gotten all I can get from this. Onwards to the next daunting application process, nerve-wracking interviews, and annoying hassle of a move…
And what do we all fear? Maybe the job, the studies, the place, or the people won’t be what we want in the end but maybe it will. You never know. Even if only for a while and even if it eventually fades, at least we tried. And then I guess we get another dream, right? What do we have to lose?
“Yep, we may fail, it’s possible. This is risky shit. But we’ll still be okay. Because that’s who we are. We’re the kind of people that are okay, no matter what. So remember that invincibility and let’s get to work. There’s a new land to discover and the only way to find it is to keep going – cliffs, cash flow, agony, adulation and all. If you keep your mouth shut and your eyes wide open, we’ll get there sooner. We’re doing this. We’re doing this because we want to. Because this is what it means to do life.”