Wednesday, March 21, 2012

On meaning and purpose

Last night I went for coffee with an old uni. mate. We haven't seen each other in over 5 years. Talk of university, work, pension plans, injuries, happiness, regrets and relationships were laid out on the table.
* * *

It's no secret I'm struggling right now. With my work. With my school. My relationship. But today was a good day. Today was my first session with my counsellor (thanks commenter's, that advice was priceless). I left her office with a feeling of passion. That passion that I buried away for so long. The one that hid between the long work hours and mindless internet surfing. That passion that got stomped out by negative voices and self-doubt.

* * *

"Are you finished with all that travelling stuff?" he (my coffee friend) asked when discussing possible career paths. His words intended no harm. I know. But they transported me back years earlier when I remember someone close to me saying (loosely translated) "yah, those travellers, who can't live in the real world and have to go gallivanting to other places".

You see the thing with travelling (and perhaps also vacationing) is that you've got to be prepared for the unintended consequences. And once you get to that point, there is no rewinding. You've changed and you cannot press undo. Doesn't that sound cliche?

Korea changed me. I feel it in the way I live my life in Canada. The school, the condo, the responsibility, the full-time job. The REAL life. I'm living it!

The pension, the job benefits. This should be making me happy. It's not.

The counsellor asked me why I was taking my Masters of Education and I didn't have an answer for her. I haven't really thought that much about it. It's what I figure I should be doing. She wanted to know what I want to do. I didn't have an answer. "You can go out there and get a job with a nice salary and play that game. A bigger house a newer car. Or you can find out what makes you excited".

In one sense, playing that game is what I've pre-programmed myself to do. So I'm torn between what (I think) everyone else is doing and what I think I want. And they don't match up very nicely. And the second one is not safe like the first.

The pension, the security, the house doesn't fill my heart. I'd give it all away in a heart beat if I found something that actually made my heart beat.

So I'm struggling. I'll be struggling for a bit as I sway between choices and options and decisions. But that's enough for now. It won't be solved over night.

The quote that inspired this post:

Travel has a way of stretching the mind. The stretch comes not from travel’s immediate rewards, the inevitable myriad of new sights, smells and sounds, but with experiencing firsthand how others do differently what we believed to be the right and only way.


Foreigner Joy said...

I dunno you can choose not to have a house, job and education but then you got bills to pay.

I think living life in one place and settling isn't a problem for the traveling heart. I would think this kind of person is curious and can find ways to shed it locally. hmm

Amyable said...

Just FYI Jen. Traveler and traveling are spelled with one L. Counselor aind couseling are also spelled with one L.

Why am I here??? said...

That's true Joy. I need to make time for myself so I can do that! I'm just not cut out for the 9-5 kind of work life at the moment.

Thanks Amy. A double L works too (in British English)

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

Sorry to hear that you are struggling :-( Big decisions, big life moves ... they are tough. I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up!

Diana E. Sung said...


I'm proud of you for exploring this. Really, really proud. :-)


Anonymous said...

Joy, where did she say she wants to be homeless and jobless and uneducated?

I think you missed the entire point of this post.

Jen, glad you got the first session of counsel(l)ing under your belt.

asiangarden said...

Have a baby Jenn, that'll get your heart beating! :P Only kidding! You have all my support for whatever you do, adventure or not to adventure, I am sure you will succeed at whatever it is.

Annie-Me said...

I agree with the spelling thing Jen. but that is coming from a lady who uses the archaic "boughten"... so I don't know how trustworthy my language system is.

That being said, you are're not expected to have everything figured out. I'm a traveller too. I enjoy it and I will do it again. You are doing your travelling wisely. You aren't going to "not" travel. You don't have to think of it as an all or nothing thing. So you have boughten a place, doesn't mean at some point it can't be rented out. So your going to school, it's a two year program and then you get to start a new adventure. I go through school week by week, and I know how hard it is to balance life and school and how easy it was to have the lives we had in Korea. It truely can't be compared. But when I look at you, I see a responsible, happily married (even if there are occasional spats) and young. I love the decisions you've made in life and it makes me very proud to have you as a friend (even if you are better at school than I am).

Remember that your life is a masterpiece and we all know, the great ones take a while to come into their own. Embrace the difficult times for what they are, keep talking to your counsellor and act upon the things that you feel are most important to you. Only you really know what you need, and while your needs get bogged down with all the stresses of life, I hope that your COUNSELLOR will be able to help you shake of the layers of stress and be a truly happy you :)

I luv ya friend :)