Creating a Thoughtful and Fulfilling Life

Now that I’m home, I’m figuring out that I had a blast in Bhutan. Most every day I could walk down from my dorm room and instantly find my friends, family, and community hanging out. I knew that they were going to be there and for much of the day I could laugh and chat with people I wanted to be around.

That’s what I want outside of Bhutan too. And now, one semester away from finishing my Bachelor of Art in Journalism, I’m searching for how to create a life not so far from the one I just left behind.

Many have told me not to think so hard. Not to think much about planning out life… but part of what has given me a fantastic array of past experiences so far is a foundation of planning and forethought. You don’t just find the money to go somewhere, you don’t just find the time. While in many ways things can work out by merely “going with the flow”, many other things simply don’t. Studying abroad takes planning, communication, and commitment, as does thru-hiking.

So while I’m trying not to rigidly define my future, I’m going to attempt to take time and figure out a way to route myself to a good future. I want to find a future life filled with opportunities to travel, to relax, to be fulfilled, and to have a nice community right outside my door.

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And the question instantly manifests. How do I do that?

How to build something with that kind of balance? That kind of ideal isn’t easy to achieve. I’m grateful to have been born into a generously furnished life. Thankfully, my family is loving and they’ve provided for me an environment where I have access to planning time, resources in the form of friends, and money to cushion the paths I choose.

This is something that I’m realizing is a fundamental difference between those who can figure out how to navigate the modern world and those who struggle to find a path. The ability to have time without distraction to plan, work, and make decisions is immensely valuable. Think about it. Whether it be mental, medical, or financial ability… there’s a certain amount of luck necessary to avoid being strained by thoughts, habits, and other problems. Situations such as having anxiety or working excessive overtime to make rent could easily dissolve any will to plan for a better/different life.

Thankfully I’ve been lucky enough to be born in a wonderful environment with very few struggles to overcome.

So job searching, location searching, subject searching I go! The foundation of having a good environment means an ideal place, with an ideal occupation, and an ideal social environment.

To me, that means a place with sun, a place where I have access to open spaces, and a place with interesting small businesses I can help and support. It means a job that can engage my creative faculties and translate my energy into a better world. It means an array of coffee shops that are affordable and sunny, a bustling creative scene, and friendly people engaged in their communities.

That’s what I’m looking for. And I’m hoping to find it.

But it seems, from the economic and social observations I’ve made (in the U.S. at least), that there isn’t much of that out there… it’s less of a job search and more of a treasure hunt.

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A phrase once used to describe this was the “American Dream” and surely everyone reading will know of this. While unnecessarily excluding non-American’s from this phrase, the “American Dream”, or really just the dream most of us have, is this idyllic living situation. And though this dream was pumping through the United State’s veins for the past two centuries, it’s starting to look naive and impossible to really achieve.

Because not only is a very real, monstrous level of inequality putting a strain on the wish-granting of employment searching but the current environment of technology, politics, and lifestyles is leading to a level of incongruence with the usual way things are done.

I’m talking about social media and attention spans. I’m pointing at the love of experiences and the desire for an atypical life. The millennials and the generations following are no doubt trying to create a something entirely new. I feel it within myself whenever someone mentions a typical nine to five office job. When I say feel, I mean feeling a scream all over my body about sitting in an office working on spreadsheets.

And of course, these typical jobs still exist and are important. There’s little doubt that most of them are quite fruitful too… but that doesn’t mean there aren’t millions of people wishing the reality was flipped on its head.

This doesn’t mean that individuals such as myself can’t find the perfect jobs, nor does it mean that the typical office job is inherently opposed to a wonderful life. I’m looking at job sites and I’m seeing that there are indeed options for me to be a content writer, a reporter, a designer, or an artist. There are also a plethora of new opportunities such as eCommerce and online content production that can be taken advantage of. And while I haven’t put my hat in the ring just yet, when I step foot into the economic wilderness I’m hopeful those opportunities still exist.

While a poor employment environment (for many of those who can’t stand the typical work cycle or office experience) may exist, it can also be true that there must be a strengthening of initiative for millennials such as myself if we want something more fulfilling.

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I’m looking to build a life, one that is fulfilling socially, financially, and creatively. And while I am excited about the future it’s just as stressful to think about the work necessary to reach the future I want.

I am prepping to navigate the gauntlet ahead. It’s not clear how I might reach the finish line, nor is it clear what the path ahead necessitates… but I am trying to establish a portfolio, resumé, and lifestyle that’ll lead me to a treasure hidden somewhere just below the soil.

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If you have opinions on the subject or thoughts on my take let me know below by posting a comment! Feedback, arguments, and ideas are, of course, welcome and appreciated!

Thanks for reading.

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