A few years ago, I believed that I always had to have a plan, and a set goal to get anywhere in life.
Of course, these goals are important: they give you something to work for, and a way to find purpose in the world. But the plan is not everything.
I thought I understood the meaning of the quote that Chong tells Sokka in Avatar the Last Aribender: "I hope you learned a little something about not letting the plans get in the way of the journey."
But I think I understand his quote better now than a few years ago.
Of course, a plan isn't a bad thing, but it can't be concrete. Life is confusing and crazy. Nothing is set in stone. It's a constant flowing current moving from one moment to the next. Things change. People change. Plans change.
I learned this through the situations that much of my friends and family went through because of the economy. I even had a deep conversation of that never ending debate money over happiness with my best friend.
Yes, it is important to be responsible, and it is important to make a living, but it is also important to do the things that replenish our souls. Things that we create, and that we can be proud of when we look back on our accomplishments.
Because I think way too much, and because I'm way too hard on myself. I focused on the goal, and forgot about the path to get there.
There will be failures. There will be places you feel like you don't belong. There will be people who don't like you, or who judge you negatively about your dreams. There will be people who say you can't do the thing you've set your heart on. People will be out there, and they will tell you that you can't, but it is up to you to listen to them or continue pursuing what you love to do.
To be honest, I still don't have it figured out. I'm currently in South Korea teaching English, and I'm torn between going back to the USA to pursue my dream of publishing a novel, and becoming a script writer, or staying here one more year, moving to a different city and allowing myself to try again.
It's not that I've failed, but it's difficult for me, where I am currently, and while I'm grateful that things have gotten better, I still don't feel like I belong.
Happiness, according to every book I've rea and every movie I've seen is the key to a healthy and meaningful life.
No, it doesn't buy you anything, pay off your student loans, or even set up your retirement fund, but it does give you the satisfaction that you did your best at the end of the day. The feeling that life offers you just a little more than you were expecting.
Happiness is the key.
And, to be honest, I have a few more months to decide what my next step will be, but I have been so stressed out about this that I've asked everyone around me for advice.
Sometimes I forget. Life is not a straight path. There are forks in the road, hills to climb, giant boulders that you have to learn how to walk around or over. There are even ruts, and sticky patches of mud and tar that you have to push through at a snail's pace.
Life in a word is unpredictable.
But if I choose one path, it doesn't mean I can never choose the other later, or even a better path that could be waiting around the corner.
As long as you balance your responsibility and your happiness, you will be successful. It is one of the mysterious truths of life.
So both elements are important. Taking responsibility and finding happiness. But they're not as easy as they seem.
Because we change, what we want can change too, and those wants can leads us down different paths. But regardless of what we choose, it is very important to think of our own health and happiness.
For me, if I can write, and if I can make a difference (even a small one) then I'll be happy. Disney is the environment I loved in the working world, and the bookstore that I worked at echoed that atmosphere. I like helping others, but I also like the ability and freedom to express myself through writing and using the imagination.
This is more of a personal entry than a public one, but I wanted to share what I have learned from weighing the options.
Happiness is very important. So while the months roll by, I will try to decide which path to take, but this time, unlike a lot of decisions I have made, I will focus on what makes me happy.