You know when you’re sitting in class in high school and you’re bored out of your skull? Everything the teacher says is white noise and sounds something along the lines of his/her parallel from the Charlie Brown universe. The class is almost over but not quite: seven minutes to go. You can’t wait to leave.
How many times have you gotten a grade in a class or even on an assignment that wasn’t deemed satisfactory and resulted in the age old verbal defense, “It’s just not my thing”?
But then “your thing” does come. A different class that you actually like; a sport that you play after the final bell; a student job that tickles your fancy; working on fixing up a clunker of a car with your old man.
Your thing. The thing that when you’re doing it, it makes you wish that you could be doing it for the rest of your life. That you could bury yourself in it; forget time and space and all of the distractions of the outside world and do the one thing you love until the hourglass runs out.
Lots of people get pushed away or–even worse–push themselves away from what they love to do. Why on earth would anyone do that? Simple. Money is often the main culprit, with circumstance (family, health, etc.) quickly closing in for second. For a generation like ours, one that many describe as being pervasively entitled, living life the way we’ve become accustomed to it is an essential.
I live minutes from a financially well-off beach town that does well because it hosts many residents who work at the nearby power plants. A large portion of my graduating high school class are aiming to work there as well someday. The majority of them went off to postsecondary education in order to become mechanics, engineers, or something like this.
True, when you ask them what they really want to do (in this context, presumably forever, as fools are often wont to ask), they’ll tell you nothing new; it’s still to be that engineer. Yet, when you ask them why that is, the answer often comes back in a grinning corporate mug shot: money.
From there, the next most important thing becomes a “hobby” and labeling it as such seems to bloom desperate justification. Suddenly the thing you truly love to do has been thrust to the side and left for moments of free time because the prospect of making as much green as possible has been just too powerful.
Now, don’t get me wrong. There are those who all they want in life is to make money–to be rich. This line of thinking is sound in theory, for cascading wealth no longer means living in fear of poverty, social denigration due to second-hand possessions, etc. And for all those whom money makes that happy, I am glad for you. For the goal here is to find your “It” and thusly what makes you happy, and if that’s it for you then who am I to judge?
It is an ever-nagging thought in my mind, however, that those who are satisfied to the brim with purely the cold embrace of money are also those who have imagination only to speak about the weather when attempting to spark conversation.
As for the rest, it becomes abundantly plain that your “It” has been left to mold in the most unbecoming of ways. And along with it, that same euphoria you had in school when you finally entered that class you liked.
So you know what your “It” is, or at least the general direction in which it lies. For everyone it’s different. It is that which you can always surround yourself with and feel at peace; something that you can always turn to no matter the circumstance. It is that which makes you blissfully, intransigently happy.
I am, of course, writing this with a mind toward my own generation (who are, at this point in our lives, searching for our precise “Its’”), but I hope I am not limiting my word to only them; for no matter what age you are, your “It” is always accessible. The only difference shall be how difficult it is to resurrect it as a staple of life.
It is onerous to speak of this next portion while I myself am, admittedly, in the process (but perhaps the final stages?) of pinpointing my “It”, but I feel that it is a critical piece of the overarching puzzle. That being why your “It” can be so elusive, even after you’ve identified it.
Many complications can (and will) inevitably arise even if you’ve decided to take it upon yourself to follow your “It” to wherever it shall lead you. For example, I know that my “It” lies somewhere within the uncertain waters of writing. I don’t know yet specifically what kind of writing, only that that’s the category under which my “It” makes its home.
That complication alone is a rather minor one. An early one. But it sets in motion many others. Continuing with the example of writing, finding a method to do “It” becomes a separate, uncharted sea. Finding a way to make money with your skill set is one thing, but being allowed to simply do “It” is entirely another.
Say your “It” is specifically creative writing: poetry, fiction, etc. You get a job working for a newspaper stressing that you remain within certain formal boundaries. You have still been able to find and acquire a position that pays you for a variation of your “It”, but by that token your “It” again becomes a less important side piece to your daily life.
Indeed, the way our society works makes for a panoply of difficulties with varying levels of elusiveness concerning your “It”.
So then, the BIG question: how do I make money doing “It”? For that, I have trepidation that I am too young to answer. If it all, certainly indecisively. But I do, as I have elucidated, believe that following your “It” is a path that is filled with endless promise and can only open doors withholding pleasant aromas.
Eventually, doing what makes you happy and believing in your “It” will be worth it.
I urge all of you to find your “It”. I wish all of you eternal happiness. And know that no matter what your “It” is, it is something that is worth having.