(Don’t?) Follow Your Bliss?

 

It’s an age-old question: to follow your bliss or not? Surely the only thing standing in between us and ultimate HAPPINESS! is finding the courage required to chase down the dream, to live the life we’ve always imagined ourselves living, and to be content knowing that we are parrt of the 0.0000001 percent of society who pulled the real-life Hollywood ending out of a hat.

Then I had this arrive in my inbox from a reader minutes before reciving the post I’ve linked to below:

“The hype ‘follow your bliss’ seems to have permeated everything in our life. The advice, ‘pursue your passion,’ is enticing, as it is what most of us want to hear, because it is simply in line with our ego’s sentiments. But I think it is irresponsible to dispense advice like this. It easily exhausts our energy and consumes us in the end and, above all, it is likely to lead us to a stage where we feel we are not good enough when our goal/dream/passion is not realized. As a result, we get depressed. However, we need to accept the truth/reality that not all desires/dreams of human beings can be and should be fulfilled.”

I had a conversation recently with a friend. Let’s her call Narnia. Narnia Love. Anyway, Narnia moved to Mexico a bunch of years ago and now she was thinking of  leaving. In a roundabout way she asked me, When is the right time to pull the chute on your dream and leave your adopted home?

Abbr. ver. of the lead-up to this: She had three degrees, spoke three languages, and worked for one of the Seven Sisters law firms as a high-powered attorney. She made bank and it showed. Her clothes oozed style, mucho dinero, and tags that may have come directly from the Champs-Élysées. A few years into her pole position in the rat race, she got sick – real sick – went on extended leave, got down, fell apart, lost her man, etc. And so on. It was raining. Then, suddenly, it was pouring. Something about Murphy and his dumbass “Law.”

However, she’s a fighter that one. Narnia got her second wind during the 7th inning stretch and realized she might be down, but she was far from out. So she did the smart thing. She quit the six-figure job, cashed in her billions of won worth of North Korean gold mine stocks, bought a jeep, purchased a house in Mexico, and drove down to start her new life…as a vegan chef. In a country of carnivores. In a region that gets rocked by hurricanes every year. In a city that is now the drug cartels’ beach of choice to shoot people in the streets.

Now, five years on, she’s selling the house, packing her bags, and moving back to the Great White North. Why?

I’m going to let a friend of hers, Alexa Torontow, answer that question through her blog post titled “Why I Sold My Yoga Studio, Left Paradise and Moved Home.

In case you don’t have the time to read through Ms. Torontow’s poignant, heartfelt, and eye-opening piece, here are four life lessons she shares.

  • 1. We’ll never know what fits until we try it on.
  • 2. Having a passion be your full-time gig isn’t always the right choice.
  • 3. Being your own boss is not all it’s cracked up to be.
  • 4. Our time, energy and amount of cares we can give is limited.

However, what sums up this post of Ms. Torontow’s best, I think, is the following:

“Our time is limited. Our energy is limited. Our attention is very limited. I think getting crystal clear on our values and what we care about and what we are willing to spend our precious time and energy on in this life is one of the most important keys to living a soul-satisfying life. Forget talks about blindly following our bliss. I think a better focus is asking ourselves questions such as what are you willing to sacrifice your time for? What do you care about so deeply that it gets you out of bed and makes you want to do something about it? What do you want to learn more about and get involved with? We can’t do it all, so where do we want to make an impact? What kind of legacy do we want to live and leave behind?”

For me, I followed my bliss 10 long years ago when I upped and left a comfortable life, a burgeoning career, financial security – the whole kit and caboodle. I bought a round-the-world plane ticket and spent two years fulfilling my wildest travel dreams, from the beaches of Vietnam and Fiji to the vineyards of California and Australia to the museums of Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, and New York. I went on jeep safaris, walking safaris, and saw the Big Five up close and personal. Man alive! I even shelled out the big bucks to hang out with the silverbacks of Central Africa in the last place on this planet they call home.

The trip bankrupted me. Unfiguratively speaking. (I had to make up a new word because I’m tired of hearing how “literally literal” we’ve become.) But not for one day do I regret it, and I think that Ms. Torontow will, once she’s had time to readjust to “civilian life” again, not regret her choice to follow her bliss. At the time she made that life-altering decision, it was the right one. More than that, it was the only one to be made. Fate and destiny and the stars aligning, and all.

Sometimes you’ve got to hold on to that kite string and let it take you where the wind blows. You know, for good or for bad, in sickness and in health. I think that the sole hashtag which can sum up experiences like that is #noregrets. Live hard, play hard. Love fiercely, treat others with dignity. And along the way, don’t forget to think about what we call No. 1. Just as surely as “there” is no better than “here,” there are no mistakes in life. There are only lessons. And, of course, memories.

I’ll close out this post with some final sentiments, the same way Alexa Torontow did in her own piece.

So, here’s to quitting a job and moving to paradise.

Here’s to leaving paradise and returning home.

Here’s to taking chances and leaning into uncertainty.

Here’s to honouring our values, knowing when to say yes and when it’s time to say no.

Here’s to this fascinating, unexpected and wild ride. And to all the people we get to experience it with.

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One response to “(Don’t?) Follow Your Bliss?

  1. Pingback: Quote of the Day | Richard H. Harris

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