Yesterday, in a tiny car heading north, my mother and I argued.
“It is imperative to stay at a job long enough to make the experience count for your resume and for the possible future.”
“You have a responsibility to pay back your student loans and to do your duty to your school.”
“You’re not happy with your job? No one is happy with their job! You can’t be happy all the time. Sometimes life is just okay.”
“You are impatient. You’re too idealistic. The universe and the stars won’t take care of you.”
Is it imperative? Do I have a responsibility?
No one likes working at all? Am I too impatient?
At one point in the discussion, I barked forth, “I want to be happy every day,” the last word bouncing off of the dashboard and around the car, surprising me with its volume.
Am I crazy for wanting more?
I believe, when my mother was my age, her first point was correct. For her, a perfectly-brimming-with-experience-but-spacious-enough-for-this-new-job resume did matter and turning in a direction that was not forward did confuse people, and in the confusion, they deemed the unboxable applicant unworthy of work. If she could not be someone they could figure out on paper, she could not be sensible or hardworking or successful.
Now, though? Now, it is the opposite. It is the unboxable, three-dimensional people who start companies, have ideas, change the world. Resumes help, but do you know what really helps?
How we say hello.
Vulnerability. Fear. If we’re going after our dreams. How hard we love. What we have to say. Experience counts, but the fire within us counts more.
Money, though. We need money to live, don’t we? I owe more money than I can imagine in student loans. Sometimes, if I think about it too much, I start to panic and feel guilty and imagine the rest of my life in snapshots of imagined poverty.
A giant coat full of newspaper clippings.
My guitar on a street corner.
But then I remember my sculpted and tattooed yoga mentor telling me that money is energy, an exchangeable for an exchanged. Dimes for a banana. Dollars for a hat. A smile for a smile. Why should I feel ashamed because of something I may or may not have? There will always be money I owe.
There will always be money I make. Energy for energy. Light for light.
To the point that no one likes their job, maybe no one does. Maybe we start out liking our jobs, and then the act of having to perform a task that we used to do with freedom makes it horrible. Maybe the point is to find the tire swing in the rows and rows of tires. Or maybe it’s supposed to be something easy and mindless so we can go home and explode into color.
But if that’s true, then I want a hundred jobs. The minute it becomes work, I want another. I want to feel free all the time. I want the tire swing and the explosions and the giddiness and I want to wake up every day and think I get to go to work today!
I don’t want an okay life. I want a vibrant, challenging, radiant one.
I want to be fully here, fully awake. I want to jump into fear and shout what I feel and chase what I want and abandon what I don’t want.
I am impatient. I am idealistic. I do believe that the universe and the stars will lead me, because somehow, some wonderful being fought for me to be here, and so isn’t it my job to fight for myself? No matter what I should do or what responsibilities I might have or what anyone expects of me, I will not stop chasing the things that enchant me.
I will not wait to live.
I will not wait.