"If there's one thing I've learned about all my years watching Earth, is that people aren't what they may seem. There are shop boys, and there are boys who just happen to work in a shop for the time being. And trust me Tristan, you're no shop boy." ~ Yvaine, Stardust
Unlike my very successful "live-your-dream" friends, I never had a specific destination in mind, nor a specific career. Looking back in fact, I really just stumbled into everything I've done, as my father before me did. But when you're seeking happiness, defining it with specificity is a gold-bricked road paved directly to unfathomable bewildering disappointment.
When I graduated high school, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I went to DeVry for awhile, but programming wasn't what I was looking for - something I did not know until I was there. I was working at Wal-Mart part time completely aware it wasn't what I was going to do for the rest of my life despite not knowing what I was. I was not callous toward those who chose it as a career despite pursing a different career myself - I never thought myself better than my coworkers, I just knew what I was doing was temporary. In fact every job I held for many years after that I saw as temporary, but never with a 'get quick rich' attitude, only a 'get eventual happiness through hard work' mindset.
Later, I joined the Air Force. Again, I knew I wasn't going to be doing this for the rest of my life, and I had no idea whether or not it would net a career (it didn't) but that didn't stop me from having a joyous time. I embraced everything about the life, immersing myself in the lifestyle up until I didn't. Many were surprised I left.
My first job outside the Air Force was in the Intelligence field. I was getting good at what I did and enjoyed it, but knew I was not going to sped the rest of my days working in Philadelphia. Despite this knowledge, I lived as if I were going to be there forever, attempting to advance my career and enjoy the hell out of my job.
Then I changed careers. Rather abruptly. It was a steep learning curve but I was riding the wave at the top of the dot.com bubble! Looking back over the past twelve years with my current employer (14-years with my client) its unimaginable that I've been here this long - I was planning for a year, two tops. Yet here I remain. What was I looking for? Fuck if I know. But I found it. At least for the time being.
Many regurgitate journey over destination because they think they know what it means, or think it makes them sound edgy and hip. Living it is an entirely different beast; one who's sinewy tendrils of adaptation and availability I seek to ensnare myself into. Nothing is forever, and those who lash themselves to the mast of that sinking ship will surely get what they deserve for their folly. As a hiring manager I once told a young man the most important thing he could exude at an interview was a magnificent attitude. His reply? "If I walk into John Hopkins off the street with no experience but a great attitude they're not going to hire me as a surgeon." You know what? He's exactly right! Bravo to him.
Why do I do any of the things I do? Its the next logical step. Or the next empirical stage. It is, simply put, the next available opportunity to either enrich my life, find enlightenment, or move on. How do I know? I neither seek it, nor am suspicious of it. But I can guarantee it works. It may be a salty whore-lick of a circuitous route at time, but I'm living proof. Just like my buddies who are living their dream, so am I. I was just seeking something different - happiness.