I just want to be a happy person

There seems to be a lot of talk in my world these days about ambitions and goals and dreaming big and striving. And I feel more than a little removed from it.

So reading what Allysa wrote really hit home in a pleasant way. She quoted from a commencement speech by Bill Watterson (the Calvin and Hobbes guy), and it’s a pretty great speech:

“But having an enviable career is one thing, and being a happy person is another.

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.”

I have a good job that I’m very good at, but it’s certainly not a career.  My husband is an engineer, which sounds very career-ish, but he treats it like an interesting enough well paying job that he happens to be very good at.  I treat them both like the path to lots of travel and keeping me in oil paints and mortgage money and cds.

In tangential but related news, I called my doctor’s office yesterday, and asked about IUD removal.  I’m going to wait a week or two, and then go in.  So.  Yes.

*spell check doesn’t recognize this as a word.  What does THAT tell you?


2 responses to “I just want to be a happy person

  1. “But having an enviable career is one thing, and being a happy person is another.”

    Oh my gosh–yes. Thank you so much for posting the links on my blog post. I check out “Kind of a Mess” weekly, but had somehow missed that particular post, and it’s exactly what I needed to read today. “I just want to be happy” has been my answer to, “But what do you want to DO?” for a long time. When my dad passed away a few years ago, it brought home to me even more how very brief life is, and it shook up my priorities re: career and family and health and how much stress is worth ____ end goal.

    There is so much talk (online and off, but particularly among the blogs I frequent) about striving. It often makes me feel as if there’s something wrong with me because my “big dreams” look a lot, well, smaller than the ones to which others aspire. I’m not very entrepreneurial, I don’t want to write a best seller or be interviewed by a famous newspaper or TV host. I’m pretty sure that I’d be happy with a job vs. a career, and I’m beginning to think it might even be nicer if it ISN’T also “my passion.”

    There are some very interesting links (with conflicting opinions) I’ve gathered from AskMetaFilter (great website) that touch on this same topic (haven’t read every inch of them, but some good food for thought). In case you’re interested: 🙂


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