I’m probably writing this slightly due to the frustration of finals but the story goes back to a few weeks ago when I was driving to school. Looking at the clouds in the sky I found myself wondering why it was that I was on my way to class and not somewhere else I would be enjoying much more. Why am I going to school? The obvious answer is because I am trying to earn a degree. A degree that will take years to accomplish through our school system. Not to mention it will also cost a fortune, add an XL amount of stress to my life, and reduce my availability to live life. I tell myself it will be worth it one day, as many college students do. Because then, I will qualify for a job that cost
ed me a fortune, a job that will add an XL amount of stress to my life and reduce my availability to live life.
What would happen if people went to school because they wanted to be properly trained to help people, or educate people, or to simply gain knowledge? If there was no earning involved -no degree, no large salary- would you still go to school? What would happen to our society, if this were the case? Here is my hypothesis:
People would be more generous, more independent, more easy going due to the massive stress reduction, more hands on, more simple, more hardworking, and they would live a much much much more meaningful life.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt tempted to lie about the “small” degree that I have chosen or the fact that I have chosen to complete a degree from a community college rather than from a University. The temptation to lie to them is there because they could be one of the many individuals who will lecture me for hours on how a community college looks low or how my chosen degree isn’t good enough because it isn’t a Doctor or an Engineer degree. While these are two admiring degrees that are held by amazing people, it is not my interest and I should not be looked down upon for not choosing one of the two.
Society looks down upon those whom are Artists or Writers, simply because they do not get paid as much as a doctor would. I should never be made felt that I am not good enough because of the degree that I chose, and neither should anyone else. Artists and Writers are just as amazing as Doctors and Engineers. The only difference is, who is happier? Here is my experience:
I was always told that being an artist would not pay the bills and that always seemed true, until I traveled to Spain and witnessed those whom paid their bills and lived off of the living that they earned from their paintings. This was so shocking to me, yet so beautiful. And here is the beautiful part; each of these people lived in homes that were just big enough for their simple needs. These homes were two of the most gorgeous homes that I have ever seen mostly because each aspect of the home was meaningful. They lived in these homes with their loved ones and raised their children in the same environment… At that point, I asked myself “could it be that all along, artists could live off their income as long as they lived simply and other people just understood it as if they were poor?”
Now, please understand that I am not being irresponsible. I understand that living a simple lifestyle can be
extremely challenging, and that living off of a higher earning can make life much easier. But I also understand that a high salary involves long days away from your family and away from life in general. Then, when you get paid your big wage you find yourself with no time to enjoy the money that you have worked so hard for. It’s just a endless circle in the treadmill of consumption which results in a unhappy life.
Recently I have began selling things that I sew or crochet, and paintings that I paint. Let me tell you, the feeling is outstanding! When I sold my first painting, I made sure to set the $20 aside for something special. I waited, remembering the hard work that the $20 came from. I ended up using the money to buy yarn to make a blanket for someone that I love. Forever when I see that blanket, I can know exactly where it came from and the hard work that it took to produce it. This gave me a sense of thankfulness that I haven’t found elsewhere. Seeing my hard work pay off while being independent and doing what I love, it made me grateful and gave me such a huge amount of appreciation for those who are self employed. I wish more people tried this, even just as an experiment. Maybe then, we can begin to learn the reality of life and what it has to offer us.
And, all of that, is why I’d rather be an Artist than earn a degree.