If you ask my family and friends, they will tell you I have done well for myself. I currently have checked off many boxes that make up a wholesome life: well-paying job, nice house, accomplished and beautiful wife, healthy 1-year old son, healthy lifestyle, no debt other than 1 car and mortgage payment, and the list can go on. Even when I lay out this list, I ask myself, what more do I need? Or where do I go from here?
I used to be a practicing musician. I fancy myself a bit of a writer. I like to be handy around the house and value DIY over calling a professional. Each one of these has sparked some sort of independent career admiration, and many other pop-up ideas, as well. The idea of working towards a self-made career with full control over my work-life balance sounds appealing, but the multiple directions I can take only cause me to ponder, and never act.
I guess never acting is not 100% true. With all the different directions I can go I shift focus towards one goal, make minimal progress, then shift to another once I get bored or feel my other goals have been neglected too long. I envy those who appear to focus and sacrifice. I always seem like I lack the necessary conviction.
Recently, I was walking out of work. My boss thinks I am good at my job but truthfully, I know how much effort I put towards each day. At times it is nice to make gains while doing little, but it is depressing not knowing what I may be capable of with 100% or even just 50% or 25% more effort. The other depressing thing is I know I’d be happier pursuing something else as I lack any passion for my daily professional responsibilities. I bet I might even be happy putting more effort towards my current job. Of course, paying the bills and providing for my son is important but so is showing him not to be satisfied with just paying the bills. There is taking care of the important things, and then, there is striving for more.
My compass is still spinning, looking for a direction to head. Maybe I won’t fully commit to something that will bring me and my family amazing success. Maybe, I need to alter the definition of success.
I may spend my entire life going from project to project, but that’s okay. An image that always brings me peace is that of Albert Einstein’s desk on the day he died. It is full of papers and books. It shows that even though he already accomplished so much in his life he still had projects and goals he was working towards. I might always have this struggle of a directionless mind but as long as I still have the constant ideas, I can accept that.
In retrospect, I am proud and grateful for everything that has led me to the position I am in. I am not struggling to simply, do good, because I already have so much. Instead, I am struggling to do even better.
I look up from my spinning compass and find myself standing at the edge of a cliff. Looking down, I see a beautiful view of my past accomplishments. Looking out towards the horizon, I see my most likely course. Predictable, yes, but remarkably beautiful and exciting. And finally, looking up, I see a wide-open sky, full of potential and dreams. I am not a spinning compass, but, simply, a man indecisive, about where to gaze.