I’m not gonna lie: to be in financial security for the rest of my life could rival my desire to be doing the things I love for a living. To know I could afford to support myself and live comfortably, even if I was stuck in an office doing the same exact thing day-in, day-out, is a very tempting thought. But, despite this temptation, I know, deep down, that I would not be happy. All the financial security in the world could not keep me from growing to hate my job, and subsequently myself, if I cannot justify my work as an investment into causes for which I wish to devote my time.
Therefore, I say that moral and emotional support are worth a thousand times what money could buy me. To have someone listen to my hopes, and worries, and tell me “I’m behind you on this,” means so much more to me than having financial security. Knowing that there are others who believe in me and the things I want to do or try, and knowing that–though they may not understand what I want to do or why–they will give me their support and not greet my ideas with doubt and insecurity (because I already have plenty of that myself) is a more reassuring feeling than any financial security could bring.
The reason this is on my mind, and the reason why I am devoting this week’s blog to this idea, is because I think this is something many of us getting ready to graduate struggle with. Our whole lives have been structured in such a way that we have grown up with the idea that success is getting good grades, and either 1) making it big on our talent (including achieving placement at a prestigious grad school) or 2) achieving gainful employment, getting married, and settling down.
Well, my life is not exactly taking off on either of those paths, though I’m hoping that my little jaunt off the beaten track will eventually lead me back to some of those things. It’s been a real struggle between exploring the possibilities of things that have, until the last two weeks, been nothing but the seemingly farthest musings of a dream. Even now, nothing is set in stone, but the reality is slowing hurtling towards me.
But it’s still a frightening reality, because nothing is certain–food, money, shelter–none of it is a given. I do not have gainful employment. All I have is an opportunity–a possibility that may–or may not–lead to something else, which may–or may not–lead to something else, which might–if I’m extremely lucky–lead to actual employment. And I’m not going to lie to you: I’m extremely freaked out by it, but at the same time, it is something I feel I must do; it is something I must try, because it is something I have always dreamed of doing and being a part of, and not to even try feels like such an injustice to myself that I’m not sure I could live my life without beating myself up over it for years to come.
This is why it is important to have emotional and moral support. It’s not that I need someone to validate my decisions (though that reassurance is always nice); it is that I need to know that if–and most assuredly, when–I fall down, when I fail, even just a tiny bit, I will have someone to turn to who will not judge me for my failures, but instead comfort me in my struggles, put me back on my feet, and steer me back in the direction of a happy life.
Because, that’s what we all should be pursuing–a happy life. And it doesn’t mean you can’t take that financial security–by all means, you are a smarter being than me if you do–it simply means that you never stop doing the things you love, and you never stop pursing those things. And finding that emotional and moral support is the first part of pursuing that happiness.
So, fear not, fellow graduates, for though the world feels like a large abyss, it is not, and at some point, you will realize that there is much more that goes into seeking happiness and success than simply having a job and financial security. So find your support system, and cling to it like rock in a storm. And always know that I am right there with you, anxieties about money and the future and life, and somehow, we’ll make it through.
Until Next Monday (when I can hopefully be a little more coherent),