Recently I have found myself thinking about (and being asked about) what I plan to do with my Arts degree (and in a larger sense my life). Now while this is a totally valid question I have to keep taking a step back and remembering that I didn’t start this degree (and journey) for the goal, I started it for the process. I am doing things because I want to fill my days with interesting, stimulating thought not to be something specific when I graduate; just that the journey will bring me somewhere awesome for the next leg of the journey.
Additionally I have been thinking a bit about how long it will take me to complete the degree at my current rate and forgetting that this wasn’t the point of starting it. I don’t want it to be something that I try to get out of the way as quickly as possible, but something I want to enjoy while I’m doing it, something that will teach me about the world I live in and about myself.
When I decided I didn’t want to engage in the ‘real world’ by having a ‘real job’ and wanted to focus on developing myself, my creativity, my journey, my relationships etc I had assumed that it would be one decision; just decide not to engage and then live my life happily ever after. The further I get into the decision, the more I realise that everyday I have to consciously decide to disengage, I have to make an effort to be present at all times. As a friend said to me recently: it doesn’t matter what you do as long as you know why you’re doing it and are choosing it consciously (he was talking about my writing but it’s applicable more widely).
The system is designed to make you think that it’s The (Only) Way to live; it is designed to stop you questioning it, to subtly wriggle into your unconscious and sit there quietly but constantly whispering in your ear, making it a constant process to try to live outside of the system.
I grew up believing in the classic goal oriented system; you do something (e.g. study) to get something (e.g. a ‘good’ job). The means is only to achieve the end and there is almost no focus on choosing means that make you happy only goals that you think will make you happy.
I guess this post is as much directed at me as it is to you readers out there; remember that the journey is the most important thing; remember that living is more important than planning to live; remember that you have your whole life ahead of you, there are no time limits or deadlines for living; remember that nothing is a waste of time if you enjoy doing it; remember you don’t have to be good at something to continue doing it; remember to think about why you’re doing something, and if you forget why, or whatever it is no longer achieves what you want that you can change anything at any time; remember being happy is a state of mind, not a list of possessions or achievements or friends; remember that being alive means living in the present, not in the past or the future.
I wonder if the decision gets easier with time, I have a feeling that it doesn’t. The further away from the mainstream one gets, the harder that distance is to maintain; perhaps while you get better at making the decisions that you had to make at the start the more you have to focus on the new decisions that come up. I guess I just have to keep saying to myself ‘What are you doing?’ and ‘Why are you doing it?’ and if I don’t have a good answer for those two questions then maybe I’m not doing the right thing for me and need to change something to get back on track.