Follow Your Bliss, But Watch Out for Speed Bumps

“If you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.”

Joseph Campbell (1904-1987)

As a person stuck in between adolescence and true adulthood, I am bombarded with advice about how I should live my life to the fullest. This includes asking me about what I’m studying in college, do I like what I’m learning, what do you want to do with that degree, do you have the rest of your life planned out down to the second?

There is a problem with this line of questioning.

Follow your bliss, do what you love – but once it turns into a job, doesn’t it become something of a turnoff? Yes, there are exceptions. There are plenty of people who have fallen in love with computer engineering and feel fulfilled working on computers all day, but hold the phone – are they really happy? For one, I don’t think anyone in western society is really happy what with all this business concerning worrying about money and pointless responsibilities like jury duty and voting for the next lesser-of-evils president.

Should we really try to get employed doing something we previously thought was just a nice healthy hobby?

My favorite subject in high school was English. I love reading and I love the pseudo-bullshit analysis that goes into looking at classic literature. Oscar Wilde’s words move me and Dostoevsky’s morality makes me sick with empathy. But would I major in English at the higher ed level? Hell no. By the end of my four year stint – hell, even by the end of the first year, I’d become so disgustingly disenchanted by written language that I likely would have to spend another year recovering before I could pick up another book for pleasure again.

Which is why I’m studying computer science. It pretty much guarantees that I won’t become tired of anything that I actually love and yet, it allows me the opportunity to explore what I might want to do with a CS degree, since it’s a fairly general field. It can be applied to virtually anything. A coworker of mine is currently studying linguistics and wants to study linguistics and computer science in graduate school. I just have to find my bliss.

And it ain’t going to be easy. So stop pressuring me, knowledgeable “true” adults of the world. I’ll figure it out eventually.

What did you want to be when you grew up? What were some “lovely” pieces of advice people gave you as you were growing up? What are your passions?

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4 thoughts on “Follow Your Bliss, But Watch Out for Speed Bumps

  1. I know only what I did not want to become when I grow up, and that was a M.D. I still don’t want to be one. I love architecture. I can do a lot of things with my architecture degree, venture into law, project management, environmental issues, philosophy and so on. I don’t remember a lot of advice I could have been given as I was growing. Maybe I just didn’t pay attention.

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