Thanks for responding Sally,
I agree whole-heartedly:
A) Most people don’t know what they want. Or rather they probably do, but don’t spend the time to be mindful enough to clear the clutter of the world and clarify truly what they want.
As someone who did the vagabond thing, I can tell you that many vagabonds don’t know what they want either. Many simply responded to different stimuli and are doing what they’re doing because it’s not “working for the man.”
Until you can be happy in yourself, whatever the circumstance, you’ll be seeking happiness through extrinsic means. And failing to find it. Whether Mercenary, Missionary, or Millionaire.
B) What you want changes. Everything changes. Your body ages, your relationships change, often the geography, your skills, technology, the economy, the political situation… …everything changes, and so your desires change too. Many, many people are stuck wishing for things of an earlier time and place. Nostalgic. Without realising that, well, they’ve changed. Grown. Aged.
When I met Lucy we got engaged on our first date. I’d just spent two years as an itinerant sailor, diver, bar tender, traveller. Then I met a woman who had 2 kids and a mortgage, and committed to love her. That choice changed my desires, or elicited deeper desires if you like. For family, home.
Then there’s a roadmap. I wanted children of my own. When they were born I wanted the very best life for them. To share travel and curiosity and learning. But also that they would have access to a safe, happy, home. To education, to healthcare. I met many families sailing the world with kids. Great, independent kids, with fantastic capabilities.
That entailed getting work (back in IT) so I could afford the larger mortgage. Then we wanted a bigger house for the bigger family. I wanted to succeed in my career. We wanted to move from the UK to another country and ended up in Australia.
I met many families sailing the world with kids. Great, independent kids, with fantastic capabilities. But my desires are not the only ones in play anymore. I committed to my wife who is a public school teacher. She get’s seasick, and loving her, wanting the best for her, means that sailing is not an option
None of that has changed who I am. I’m still a traveller, and have a career that I can do anywhere in the world, and often do. I’m still an adventurer and get away to discover new thresholds. But I’m also a father, husband, lover, friend, technologist. None of which I’d be if I didn’t get engaged.
And the world would not progress if we didn’t have developers, sales people, scientists, engineers, teachers, nurses, pilots, accountants. Well maybe not accountants and lawyers :-) but you get my drift.
In conclusion, I loved the article (I said that didn’t I). I love the idea of following your dreams and constantly tell young people not to follow the ‘script’ of good grades, university, good job, earn lots of money.
But, everything changes, and supporting a family, and progressing a career is a good thing, for the species.