Being Happy or Just Being There

I was in a colleague’s office and saw two things that gave me reason to pause and think. The first was a sign on his credenza that read “You probably wanted to do something cool with your life, but you never got that job.” The sign made me sad, well not sad as much as distressed, so that during the meeting I kept staring at it and reading the words.

I asked him about it, and he laughed. This is a fellow of very good humor that always seems happy and quick to smile. He said, “That about sums up my life. Now I work in insurance.”

The phrase was uttered by his son when discussing career choices at a school function. He seemed to have come to terms with his fate. I have not done so, yet. I’d like to think there is a cool job out there for me. But how to find it?

I should first consider why I haven’t found it by now, because I’m certainly doing something wrong. When I was about to graduate from high school, I wanted to be a writer, or to work in television, or to be an actor, but mostly to be a writer. I think I’ve always enjoyed the way my brain feels when I think about words, and stringing them together to tell stories.

My father used all of his persuasion to convince me to get a degree in engineering, reasoning that it’d be nice to have a job while I learned to write, and that writing was something that I could always do, but which was hard to use as a source of income. Most of that is correct, in that I have always turned to writing in some form, resulting in these blog entries right here.

I like to imagine myself making a living as a writer, but that is quite a long shot. Still, the ultimate for me would be to rise early and exhaust my thoughts working on stories of some kind. Then spend a few hours on the business of writing. Finally, I’d spend the afternoon boating, swimming, or otherwise playing with family around the house. The evening would be spent in quiet repose, again with the family, discussing life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I would drink coffee all day and wine at night.

It was the other thing I saw in his office that makes me wonder. That will have to wait until tomorrow.