Anonymous: Hi Susanna,I'ma recent and avid follower of your blog! What you write inspires me and really brightens up my day! I feel like anything is possible :) My passion is photography and culinary! However I am going to school for a business degree-I wish I could be as free as you!My family is so pro-academia and wouldn't understand!I was wondering that I have a passion for these things but maybe I'm not good enough!I feel like I need to be emplyed to sustain myself! Any advice? dreams vs reality?
Thanks for following, and I’m happy I can brighten your days!
The thing is, does it really matter whether your family understands? I think it’s of immense importance that your decisions feel right and make sense to you, and if they love you, they’ll want you to do what makes you happy more than what makes them happy. Most the decisions I’ve made and make are not understood by my family, but it doesn’t matter because I refuse to let them live or dictate my life for me, I’m the one who must live with my decisions every day. You don’t have to wish to be as free as me, you can be, and I’m not saying it’s easy, or that your family may not be upset with you for a while if you choose to study something you’re passionate about instead of abiding by their desires for you, but I’m pretty certain they’ll simmer down soon enough.
I mean, we’re talking about four years at least of studying, and almost the rest of your life in a career, if you stick with it, and to me, it seems crazy not to choose something you love. All the employment and money in the world isn’t worth making yourself miserable, and that feeling that you need to be employed, may be in part due to society conditioning us to feel we need these things, not because it’s the truth.
To just go study business, without first pursuing your true passions, is like giving up before you’ve even tried. At least take a chance on photography and/or the culinary arts, let passion be your guide. Besides, seeing as we only have one life to live, and it is, in many ways, brief, it makes more sense to me to do what you love, and do it now, then live half-heartedly or like you’re already dead. After all, dreamers are the sane ones.
Sometimes being at your lowest is a blessing. When things are falling apart, and the days are arduous and painful, it propels me to create a better future. It was, after all, an unbelievably bleak job that one day finally broke me, flung me from that cliff, that leap of faith I’d been too afraid to take. I wasn’t going to sit at a desk anymore, daydreaming of leaving it all and wandering the world. Enough! It stuck me that I had nothing to lose but unhappiness, so I quit, and applied for a passport, and bought a one-way ticket overseas, and I told no one, because I couldn’t take the chance of someone talking me out of it. My heart knew what it wanted, and this was how I begun traveling three years ago. If it wasn’t for that deplorable job, had I been even semi-satisfied somewhere else, I don’t know if I would have ever done it. There are nine countries, thus far, I wouldn’t have seen, and a whole galaxy of incredible experiences I would have never had. Sometimes being “just okay” is the most threatening thing to fulfillment, because if you’re instead, miserable, then what do you have to lose but your misery? I’d sooner gamble death for dreams and happiness, than lead a lifeless existence, the days stale and brittle. I believe we must look at deep struggles as great opportunities we’ve been given to strengthen ourselves, to grow, and go forward, to take risks for that which we love, and be better than we once were.
I’m in that place again, of utter dissatisfaction, and I can’t wait to see where this will take me, because I know I must change my circumstances, I refuse to become a victim of passiveness.
aytsan-deactivated20130416: ♥ to you susanna. just a week ago, you appeared in my dreams. quiet tall blonde creature you kept to yourself and swaying through art books drinking tea. you are welcome to stay with me should the day come. in the meanwhile, I wish you well with your book discoveries and possible collating / whatever else it is that fills your days.
Who is this? Do we know each other? I think it’s lovely when people dream of me. I wish it was tea season again. Almost. I can’t drink hot tea in summer, it’s sweltering enough. Thank you for your well wishes!
The last days of summer are a dreamlike haze, ghosted by fragments of lost things, dust lacing my sandals, the cradle sway of trains creeping across Indian landscapes, mangos with flesh soft enough to peel bare-handed, crouching at night markets, slithering through cities on motorbikes, iced fruit hosing the desert sands from lungs, the perfumes of the Himalayas, lazily swimming between limestone islands as the sun is swallowed into the larynx of night … (Read more)
In addition to my writing, this entry features the artwork of Colette Saint Yves, Edward Gorey, and Aëla Labbé.
Did you know, you can quit your job, you can leave university? You aren’t legally required to have a degree, it’s a social pressure and expectation, not the law, and no one is holding a gun to your head. You can sell your house, you can give up your apartment, you can even sell your vehicle, and your things that are mostly unnecessary. You can see the world on a minimum wage salary, despite the persisting myth, you do not need a high paying job. You can leave your friends (if they’re true friends they’ll forgive you, and you’ll still be friends) and make new ones on the road. You can leave your family. You can depart from your hometown, your country, your culture, and everything you know. You can sacrifice. You can give up your $5.00 a cup morning coffee, you can give up air conditioning, frequent consumption of new products. You can give up eating out at restaurants and prepare affordable meals at home, and eat the leftovers too, instead of throwing them away. You can give up cable TV, Internet even. This list is endless. You can sacrifice climbing up in the hierarchy of careers. You can buck tradition and others’ expectations of you. You can triumph over your fears, by conquering your mind. You can take risks. And most of all, you can travel. You just don’t want it enough. You want a degree or a well-paying job or to stay in your comfort zone more. This is fine, if it’s what your heart desires most, but please don’t envy me and tell me you can’t travel. You’re not in a famine, in a desert, in a third world country, with five malnourished children to feed. You probably live in a first world country. You have a roof over your head, and food on your plate. You probably own luxuries like a cellphone and a computer. You can afford the $3.00 a night guest houses of India, the $0.10 fresh baked breakfasts of Morocco, because if you can afford to live in a first world country, you can certainly afford to travel in third world countries, you can probably even afford to travel in a first world country. So please say to me, “I want to travel, but other things are more important to me and I’m putting them first”, not, “I’m dying to travel, but I can’t”, because I have yet to have someone say they can’t, who truly can’t. You can, however, only live once, and for me, the enrichment of the soul that comes from seeing the world is worth more than a degree that could bring me in a bigger paycheck, or material wealth, or pleasing society. Of course, you must choose for yourself, follow your heart’s truest desires, but know that you can travel, you’re only making excuses for why you can’t. And if it makes any difference, I have never met anyone who has quit their job, left school, given up their life at home, to see the world, and regretted it. None. Only people who have grown old and regretted never traveling, who have regretted focusing too much on money and superficial success, who have realized too late that there is so much more to living than this.
(I wrote this on Facebook, but was asked to post it here, as well. Edit: I wrote an expanded version on my blog here.)