I’ve decided there are too many ways one can live one’s life. Too many versions of career and lifestyle, non traditional and traditional, close to home and world traveling and cause-focused and family centered and totally moral and complete whore. Just too many choices.
I started thinking about this the first day I couldn’t finish a day’s work and a blog post. By the sixth day I was convinced – life choices are limiting. An obvious fact, but frustrating none the less . It reminds me of that day Senior year when Carly realized she’d never be a Laker Girl. We were watching something on TV – presumably a Lakers game. The girls finished doing their half time thing and a wash of disappointment passed over Carly’s face. “Wow,” she said, “I guess I’ll never be a Laker Girl. I guess I missed that chance, huh? I’ll probably never be an Olympic gymnast either. Huh. Wow.” It’s not that she ever wanted to be a Laker Girl – it’s just the realization that when you choose a road – less traveled or otherwise – you’re headed indefinitely in that one direction, not the other.
I really started thinking about this because I have a job that requires a good deal of commitment. It’s not a j-o-b job, it’s an investment job – the kind of job that consumes your life but you do it because you A. believe in what it accomplishes B. believe in what in will help you accomplish C. believe it’s really worth the money or D. (but this is rare) all of the above. Mine is A. and a little of B. but mostly A. right now because I have no idea what I’m actually trying to B. (HA). C, not so much.
When I think about what choices lead me to this 16-hour-a-day investment opportunity I’m confused – not confused like I was blacked out when I made them, confused like they don’t seem as deliberate as I envisioned my major life choices being.
I left my first job working in PR at TheKnot.com (a wedding website) because I was miserable working in PR and among weddings (but mostly the latter). I ended up in PR because I was miserable in living at my parent’s house and assisting a fashion designer (but mostly the former). I didn’t really have career goals in the traditional sense. I had career likes: to write, to work in a creative environment, to interact with interesting brands doing innovative things. Loose career goals. I had fairly definitive life goals: to live in Manhattan, to work in media, to expertly run along cobble stone streets in heels, to attend events where martinis were free. Tight though bizarre life goals. I wouldn’t say I made choices willy nilly, but I didn’t exactly choose something off the high school guidance counselor pick list (for the record, the multiple choices test pegged me as a librarian – hysterical considering I cannot whisper and do not understand anything involving decibels).
But again, I started thinking about this because right now I’m surrounded by filmmakers. I’m spending my 16-hour-a-day days building an event that’s primary purpose is to help people who’ve made a very specific choice realize the dream which prompted that choice. They don’t have j-o-b jobs either – they have passion work. They don’t make films. They are filmmakers. Like artists and writers. I’m committed to my job because I want to succeed, do well, progress, and feel confident. They’re committed to their work because they can envision no other way to lead the one life they’ve been given. They made a choice. I chose a few things that dropped me in this current place. Sure I’ll eat PB&J for a month if it means living in this city and affording clothes from the vintage shop across the street. Yes I sometimes miss friend’s birthdays because I have to work so late. I sacrifice things for the choices I’ve made – choices that I’m glad I’ve made. But I’m not pursuing a passion. Every step I take is not toward the goal of getting my next film made. I’m guided by my passions, definitely, but I’m not pursuing one passion – one singular goal against which all decisions are evaluated. That’s one very specific way to lead one’s life.
I realized after all this thinking that I’m jealous of the filmmakers. They made a choice and now every choice they make is driven by that thing they believe in more than any other thing. To me, that’s one enviable way to live one’s life.
Me, I’m still looking for my ultimate choice, if there even is one. But in the meantime I figure I may as well help them with theirs, while running down cobble stone streets in my heels – on the way to free martinis.