A friend once told me a story about his father. According to the story, his father had been a successful accountant. He had everything: a house, a pool, money in the bank and a great family. Those things were not enough. He killed himself. My friend’s father’s famous last words were “Son, never become an accountant.”
It’s a good story, though it may not be true. I don’t think we should avoid becoming accountants. I think what he was trying to say was that we should follow our passions and find a way to earn a living through them, that we should be happy. That is the core of my belief.
This story haunted me when I heard it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. In truth, I had no idea what I was good at or what my passion was All I knew for sure was that I would be miserable if I was locked up in a cubicle every day.
My true passion was revealed on a frigid night, as I ignored the cold to watch the moon rise over the mountains. It was a breathtaking. To this day, I remember the feel of the cold on my skin, the sharp smell of the air, and the glow of the moon as it chased the mountain’s shadow across the lake.
It came to me in that moment. I love to be outside. It is the place I have always gone to relax, to think things over, to learn and to play. The outdoors was my passion.
From that moment, I was determined to find a job where I could be outside, and share those amazing moments.
I have earned my living as a naturalist ever since. My job involves teaching children and adults about nature and taking them out to where they can feel those magical moments. My passion and my profession are one and the same. My play and my work intermingle. Sometimes it is hard for me to tell where one stops and the other begins, though my wife has become adept at reminding me where the line is. I have the good fortune to wake up in the morning and look forward to going to work.
I believe that we all have the right to follow our passion. I believe much of the anger and disillusionment in our society is caused by people spending their lives doing things they hate. I believe too many people live zombie lives during the week, boiling over with anger as they wait for the weekend to blow off steam. I believe the world would be a better place if more people followed the advice of Joseph Campbell. “Follow your Bliss”
I believe those three words have the power to change the world for the better, one person and one life at a time.
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