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The dream

April 13th, 2009

I have met a handful of vagabonds on my journey and all of them share the same story – they have chosen this path.  Indeed, they have chosen wisely.  In the words of Georgia O’Keefe:

I always felt as though I walked the edge of a knife, afraid to fall off. So what? What if you do fall? I would rather be doing something I really wanted to do.

In the high pressures of Silicon Valley and beyond, one chooses his own vocation, whether that is one with the highest pay, one with the most prestige, or one that supports the family.  It is unfortunate when one works at a job that he loathes merely to maintain a high standard of living.  It is equally unfortunate, where, when one hears of a colleague or neighbor who makes more, desires himself to be at least on equal footing so that he can “get ahead” of the game only to sadly find out that the cycle repeats itself in a more furious fashion.  By then, the person is headstrong in his ways and finds it extremely hard to let go of his grandiloquent lifestyle and even continues on the unsatisfactory job that has left him in a state of inanition, convincing himself that one day, the problem will solve itself and that in the interim, the weekend will dissolve all worries.  For him, the work week is too long, the weekend is too short, and Monday seems to always come too quickly, but all is okay because better linens can be afforded, faster cars can be driven, and finer foods can be consumed.  Why should one submit to the feet of societal pressures only to be chewed, mangled, and spit out?  Thoreau elucidates this well:

… but as he began with tea, and coffee, and butter, and milk, and beef, he had to work hard to pay for them, and when he had worked hard he had to eat hard again to repair the waste of his system – and so it was broad as it was long, indeed it was broader than it was long, for he was discontented and wasted his life into the bargain; and yet he had rated it as a gain in coming to America, that here you could get tea, and coffee, and meat every day.  But the only true America is that country where you are at liberty to pursue such a mode of life as may enable you to do without these, and where the state does not endeavor to compel you to sustain the slavery and war and other superfluous expenses which directly or indirectly result from the use of such things.

There’s a commonly used ice breaker called “The dream job”.  In the past four years that I have played this game, I have met only one who is living his dream.  All others mention of jobs that they wish they could be doing, and I suspect that four years down the line, few will have taken steps to make this dream job a reality.  The majority of the conscious weekday hours are spent working.  Don’t succumb to a mediocre existence and lull in misery over a paycheck.  Follow your dreams.

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  1. Dana
    April 14th, 2009 at 10:41 | #1

    You’re right, life is too short to live to work to live to work. We are designed for more than mere existence. The hum drum of work really squashes that notion sometimes. I often forget to ask God for real food – the work of doing his will each day. Like an open road trip, you never know where you might be led to go and do.

    peace out, bro!

  2. Elaine
    April 20th, 2009 at 11:15 | #2

    Yes, I agree w/ you Andrew, follow your dream(s). I don’t think there is a dream job, but we do need to havea job in order to have some income. I think it’s good to do a job that you enjoy doing, and it should one of your passions.
    Also we should live simple lives and don’t let society “push” you on doing/buying something you don’t want to do/buy. Enjoy life but don’t let it control you. A Bible verse that helped me when I was growing up (and now) it is Philipians 4:11-13, “…for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances… I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.”
    I am happy that you’re living your dream by exploring the world. You are brave to on your own; not a lot of ppl have the time, money and courage to do what you’re doing. From Joshua 1:9, “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid for the Lord is with you where ever you go”. Praying for ya Andrew!=)

  3. April 30th, 2009 at 01:54 | #3

    I have discovered progressive layers of self-deception involved with understanding the choice to spend time in a job. At first, I lied to myself that the money was worth my time. Then, when I lost 90% of what I had saved after 20 years of sitting in a cube without windows, I lied in the other direction — that there is something more “effective” I could be doing, if only I didn’t choose to work.

    Lately, another layer has revealed itself. I see that because I do what I do, which is not what I REALLY want to do, I am able to pursue the thing I REALLY want without a lot of stress over basic needs and without much fear of failure, which will ultimately ENABLE me to do the more effective, creative, life affirming thing I was born to do.

    I guess I’m saying that when you’re being a rebel, conformity looks evil,
    and when you’re conforming, rebellion looks like a slacker’s excuse. In the end, a modicum of both — an honest balance — is where my soul is least tormented. I admire and am inpsired by your soul searching, Andrew. Keep pushing.

  4. January 30th, 2011 at 23:39 | #4


    You have inspired me. I’ve recently began following this blog and I’m reading from the bottom up. When I got to this post I was literally brought to tears. You’ve reminded me of what living is. I’ve been searching, couldn’t find the words. Perhaps there are no words, because it is a feeling. You know you’re living when you feel alive. I’m not going to be a gear in the machine, wood for the fire. Thank you, you’ve contributed a large step to my finding myself.

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