What’s Behind Door Number One, Two, Three…

What we really want to do is what we are really meant to do. When we do what we are meant to do, money comes to us, doors open for us, we feel useful, and the work we do feels like play to us.

- Julia Cameron

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Sometimes, it’s difficult to choose which direction is right. It’s fine to say follow your dreams and the money will follow, but for most of us who have in the past or who may be currently struggling with how to pay for basics such food and shelter…dream seeking may seem like a luxury right now.

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Others, may find themselves financially able to seek, but they find they’re not sure where to look.

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Some of us may find ourselves standing in front of doors we never thought would be before us.

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These days are perfect in some ways for leaping off into directions we might have been afraid to venture until recently. With the economic downturn, some people have no choice. We are reminded every day now that nothing is secure. Many people I know have been laid off from companies that they gave almost all of their time and energy to…often missing important times with family and friends or working themselves sick. They traded moments they can never get back. I’ve done that myself and no award or salary increase can alter the regret I feel for the times I missed. I have to say it wasn’t ego that drove me, but fear. Like most people, I worried about keeping my job so I could pay my bills and take care of my daughter. I wish I’d worked as hard achieving my own goals as I did for the different companies who bought my time, but wanted my whole life.

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dsc_0295In early 1982, I was scheduled to complete my military tour of duty and begin to work on a University degree. It was a terrible time to be leaving the security of a military paycheck during peace time. After getting out, I was so worried about finding a job that I almost reenlisted. The economy was much like it is today in terms of unemployment with 7.4 % of the nation out of work in November of 1982. Still I managed, I rented a room in the home of a local teacher for $25 a week. I had kitchen privileges and I shared a bathroom down the hall with two other people in the house. It wasn’t a perfect situation, but one I could afford.

Enrolling at S.U.N.Y. Oswego in upstate New York, I declared a major and managed to get a job on campus in the Sweet Shop, one of several jobs I would have during my time there. I eventually shifted south to the University of Georgia where I changed my major and graduated with a Theatre degree in 1987. By the time I graduated in June, I was married and six months pregnant with my only child.

Now, 27 years after I left the army, my daughter has entered the workforce in a similar economic situation. Actually, I think it’s much worse. As stressful as these times are for her, I wish it were possible for her to see something that took me years to really believe…that real happiness and security will not be found in the job that pays the most money or wields the most power, but in finding and doing the work she was meant to do. That’s a lot to ask of a 21 year old. I’ve not alway lived fearlessly in the ways I wish she could and I’m 27 years older. There are so many doors out there…so many choices. I wish she would take a little time to see what’s behind as many as possible so she can build a life with few regrets when looking back in 27 years.

 

9 thoughts on “What’s Behind Door Number One, Two, Three…

  1. Wow. Beautiful photo essay. I can see what you mean about hoping to transfer to your daughter some of your hard-earned knowledge. But it seems to be one of those things that each one of us has to learn for ourselves.

    Especially in our twenties and thirties, and I imagine most intensely so upon just having finished university, like your daughter, most of us *do* feel that need to start on the beginning of the correct ‘upward’ path — not knowing that in fact, it’s most likely to be a meandering roundabout, with essays to the side and even backwards at times.

    But it’s still a lovely and profound thought to wish for that insight and openness to a different path for your daughter.

  2. beautiful post. i love all of the door photos.
    i can’t imagine trying to find a job right now – it must be very stressful and hard to understand at her age that, like you say, real happiness doesn’t come from the high paying job. I’m sure she will make the right choices and I hope for her a joyful life as she finds it.

  3. What a wonderful post! The door images were perfect! And I’m a big Julia Cameron fan!!

    Thanks for stopping by!! And thank you for letting me believe there are men out there who understand & value the need for personal space & autonomy!! The men I’ve met so far have not cared for that!! So glad you found that wonderful combination!!

  4. Beautifully said and photographed! Doors say so much, without even getting the opportunity to peek inside. I, too, with that I had thakeen the opportunity to actually “choose” a door, instead of opening the first door I came to and assuming that’s the room i’m supposed to be inside.

  5. Sorry I’ve been away so long. I haven’t found much Internet time lately…or maybe it’s just spring fever. I love your post and all your door photos.

    I used to believe in Cameron’s statement, but now I’ve grown weary of statements like that because I have tried to follow my heart in what I want to do, and it hasn’t gotten me very far. I made some mistakes along the way. Perhaps I didn’t work hard enough or think long enough about what I wanted. Still, I do believe we should strive to do what we want to do. We should never give up. We’ve got to hang onto hope.

  6. This is a powerful post. The images you choose are a perfect metaphor for your message. These words resonated so much with me I wish I’d worked as hard achieving my own goals as I did for the different companies who bought my time, but wanted my whole life.

    I”m a teacher, and I believe I have been called by God to be one. I love what I do and how I spend my days. Still. The work is like a black hole. It will take all the time and energy I can give it, and still ask for more. I don’t want or need to leave this profession, but I did have to make some changes. I’ve finally learned that I have to be my own gatekeeper. I have to say, “This much and no more.” My daughter and my husband are my priorities. I am still learning to make my time choices reflect this.

    • It is sad to me how much time and focus I gave to a big company’s bottom line to the exclusion of time with family and friends as well as pursuing my own goals. Hard lessons that I wish I could spare my daughter now that she’s grown. I did what I needed to do to pay the bills, but I do wish now I had done things differently. I’m really glad to hear that you’ve figured out how to do it in a way that gives first to your family.

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