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.