Hello? Who’s Calling?
I am reading this book that Debbie bought for me. It’s Po Bronson’s What Should I Do With My Life? I’m only about half-way through it, but this book has really asked some interesting and thought-provoking questions. Not just your basic “what do I want to be when I grow up” type deal, but more of a “what is my calling in this life” or “what is my purpose“? I have always dreamed of being Indiana Jones. Since I was a kid. I wanted to travel the world, finding old artifacts and treasures, and bring them back to be seen by all. “Yep. I found it in the jungles of Belize where it’s believed the ancient Mayans practiced human sacrifice. Yes, it is made of solid gold and emeralds.” That was what I wanted my life to look like since as far back as fifth grade. But, is that what I’m supposed to do with my life? Is that my calling? I don’t know. In recent years, I have worked for an irrigation and landscaping company here in Austin. I have been able to learn so much about gardening, planting things, growing things, soil, etcetera. I have also, just simply by living in such a hippie town, been able to go to farmers markets and learn about locally grown and organic food from environmentally conscious farms. I spawned this idea that I was going to move to Tyler, Texas, where my folks live, and start a landscaping company and family farm that are maybe not necessarily certified “organic”, but are environmentally conscious and responsible. Locally grown food with no chemicals. Native plants in our garden designs. Low-water requirements for maintenance. Natural, self-made soil amendments. Free-range chickens. All of this got me so excited, and I really felt like this was not just something I could make money with, but I could be a responsible human being, citizen, and steward of this earth. I could make a living, and do good! But is that my calling? I don’t know. My wife has been telling me since my first years in college that she thinks I should be a writer. I’ve always loved writing. I took a creative writing course in high school and loved it. Was even good at it. I’ve always loved literature. It’s something I think I have a natural knack for. Even in writing this blog, I could see myself being a writer. Being able to produce something that other people will read, understand, and connect with. “Hey, aren’t you the guy that wrote…” fill in the blank. And, “Yes, I am. It’s great to see that my writing doesn’t just get printed and shelved like all the books you pass up in the bookstore on your way to the Starbucks.” That would be amazing. I could make money doing it, and connect with people. But is that my calling? I don’t know. This book that I’m reading outlines a number of stories about people just like me who ask themselves this question, knowingly or not, and attempt to take action, whether successful or not. Some people get pigeon-held into their current state of stagnancy by their fears, character flaws, pride, you name it. Some people release everything that might hold them back, materially and internally, and dive head-long into what they have found their calling to be…and sometimes it works. The common thing I found though, is that most people in this book, and, according to Po Bronson, most people he spoke to that aren’t in this book, didn’t even find their calling until after a number of stints in jobs that were just jobs. Just paychecks. Mid-thirties. Even later. And those that were held back from pursuing their calling were held back by those very paychecks that they just couldn’t seem to let go of. I have a picture in my head: me at thirty five, a few kids, decent little house, cars, still working at the irrigation company because my monthly paycheck has become too comfortable to risk losing by doing anything rash. “I can’t quit my job, I’ve been here for ten years! I’ve invested too much.” I don’t want to be that. I don’t think that I know what my calling is right now. Maybe it is archaeology. Maybe it is working with plants. Maybe it is writing. Maybe it’s something completely different that I haven’t even come across yet. I don’t know. But what I do know is that I don’t want to come to my senses, realizing what it is that I really want to do with my life, but find out that I lack the material and mental wherewithal to make it happen. Or even worse, that I lack the rocks to do it. Either way, when I do finally figure it out, I want there to be no doubt and no reservation. I want to be ready. So, Destiny, take this as an open invitation. Let’s make it happen sooner than later. In the meantime, I guess I’ll just have to keep my ends out and eyes open. Wish me luck.