Is it possible to work your life’s passion and remain responsible to your current commitments?
Revolutionary Road was the movie of choice last night and without giving away too much of the plot, it examines the idea of doing what you want to do versus doing what you need to do. The movie portrays a young couple during the early 1950s. They seem to be living the mythological suburban dream of that time period. But from both spouse’s points of view, their world is a nightmare. A decision is made to follow their dreams instead of living under societal expectations and the drama that unfolds brought up many questions in my mind about my own professional path.
“Follow your bliss” is a quote from Joseph Campbell, a writer and lecturer of comparative mythology and religion. I first encountered this idea while watching Bill Moyer’s interview of Campbell in the PBS series “The Power of Myth”. I have twisted this phrase with my mind for years, trying to apply it to both my professional and personal lives, and it always seems to run smack into conflict with a deep sense of obligation I have to my family and work. But does it have to?
Revolutionary Road examines this conflict between being who you want to be and doing what needs to be done. The movie illustrates this conflict well and the characters were true to the struggle of balancing both bliss and commitment. It is a movie worth watching because it can raise questions regarding the motivations in your own life.
But back to the initial question posed – “Is it possible to work your life’s passion and remain responsible?” As I am leading this currently under-employed life of mine, I realize that it doesn’t have to be one or the other. But what you DO have to be is balanced, creative, and open.
Currently, I am working on a marketing campaign for a burgeoning sports supplement company. Let me note that I am NOT being paid for the work I am doing. I have accepted the assignment as an intern. I want to break into marketing and writing and I felt this was one way to strengthen my skillset. Writing is my passion, my bliss, but since I don’t have a solid background in the craft – I have had to create my own opportunities.
I am also working on the creation of training curriculum teaching the use of social media for a local non-profit. I hope to pitch these sessions sometime this month. Neither of these projects are producing revenue – yet. But I know that I am building my skills and hopefully credibility as a writer.
Then comes the punch – do I take the temporary 40 hour a week job that I might be offered next week? How will this position continue encourage my writing? It WILL stretch the household budget and help us weather the financial crisis known as my bank account. Maybe sometimes survival is enough. But it doesn’t feel enough. Once again, balance is the key.
It is probably not realistic for me to leave the job market/job search completely to hole up in a studio in the woods and write for 6 months. Nor is it any longer realistic for me to close the laptop and cease writing. But I can be creative in my search for projects that establish me as a writer in my community. And I can continue to look for work the combines a paycheck with a creative outlet. Am I travelling down a Revolutionary Road? Probably not, it feels like more of an Evolutionary one.