Creating a life that reflects your values and satisfies your soul is a rare achievement. In a culture that relentlessly promotes avarice and excess as the good life, a person happy doing his own work is usually considered an eccentric, if not a subversive. Ambition is only understood if it’s to rise to the top of some imaginary ladder of success. Someone who takes an undemanding job because it affords him the time to pursue other interests and activities is considered a flake. A person who abandons a career in order to stay home and raise children is considered not to be living up to his potential. As if a job title and salary are the sole measure of human worth. You’ll be told in a hundred ways, some subtle and some not, to keep climbing and never be satisfied with where you are, who you are, and what you’re doing. There are a million ways to sell yourself out, and I guarantee you’ll hear about them. To invent your own life’s meaning is not easy, but it’s still allowed, and I think you’ll be happier for the trouble. – Bill Watterson
I love this quote. I think it’s profound and important. I tried to select just a small part of it, but I couldn’t. It addresses a lot, but I’m going to apply it to one small example.
I write a lot. Obviously there’s my blog post every week, but I write stories, too. Many of them. Some aren’t good at all. Some are okay. A few, if I do say so myself, are quite good.
But I’ve never had anything published. I would like to. I have one particular short story that I want to polish up and submit to some magazines or something. I would love to experience the satisfaction of a stranger deciding my work is worth sharing with others.
But that may never happen. And that’s okay.
I don’t write because I need recognition or success. I write because I enjoy it. It’s fun. It’s creative. I learn things about myself and about people in general. It’s something I can share with my friends. It doesn’t need to be more than that.
Sometimes people don’t see the point in doing something just because. Case in point: every time the subject of writing comes up, my brother asks if I’m ever going to do anything with what I’ve written. Maybe I will; maybe I won’t. But I’m not going to stop just because he disapproves.
It’s okay to find meaning in activities that don’t earn you money. Honest.