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Bumper Sticker Philosophy

(c) 2002 by Cheryl Williams Levey,

Have you ever seen those bumper stickers that read "I'd rather be fishing" or dancing, or whatever? I once read something somewhere (sorry about the vagueness!) in which the author asserted that if these people would really rather be doing something else, they would be. I don't remember the whole thing, but the basic jist of what the author was trying to say was that what we think we want, we don't.

I disagree. Frankly, I'd rather be lying on some beach somewhere sipping margaritas and listening to reggae music. But I have to admit that after a few days (or months!) of that, I'd get a little bored. Most of us want to feel like we are contributing something of value to the world, even if it's a small thing. Hey, small things really add up!

So, sure, I would rather be on a beach, but where I am is pretty sweet too. If we are doing something we love, something that makes us happy and gives us joy, it becomes more than just a job. It becomes a labor of love. It becomes something that we invest our hearts heavily in, and we really care about the outcome.

There are things we all must do that are more important than what we want at the moment. Even those lucky enough to be in the job of their dreams have times when what they have to get done just isn't thrilling. It's part of life. Yen and yang, take the good with the bad. You know the mantra.

But the point is that we should all try to do what we love for a living. If it means we have to do other stuff to make ends meet, then that's what it means, but we should never give up our source of joy and happiness simply because we have responsibilities.

The sad thing is that too many of us do exactly that. We would rather be fishing, but instead we worry about what will happen to us if we lose the job we hate so much. And we set aside our childhood dreams in an effort to impress the boss and get ahead, whatever that means, in hopes of avoiding the next round of pink slips and downsizing.

But we don't really care about the outcome, the big picture, and we don't really put our hearts into the work. It's just a job! How many people say that? And too many of us spend better than 1/3 of our lives doing "just a job," and that doesn't even count the commute, business trips away from the family, and other hassles of that job.

We should not spend our lives on "just a job!" We should spend our lives on LIFE, on being happy, and bringing happiness to other people! We should all go fishing!

But wait a minute, we have to be realistic, right? If we are off fishing, who pays the mortgage or rent and other "bills of survivial"? Therein lies the classic dilemma, and why so many of us do give up our lives in exchange for survival.

There is a better way. There are alternatives, and the key is, do we have enough gumption, guts, and courage to grasp them? Lots of people don't. Do you? There is more to it than simply wanting to do something else. It takes a great deal of personal conviction and belief in oneself to step out of the familiarity of what we have (even if we don't like it) into the great unknown.

But given the choice, it's worth the try! Take fishing, for example: Become a fisherman (person?), create a "personalized fishing expedition" company, write a book on how to fish for which kinds of fish, what bait is best, the best fishing holes in your neck of the woods, make a company out of taking "city slickers" to fish for a weekend, give seminars on the difference between fresh water and deep sea fishing, create a cookbook on favorite ways to prepare different kinds of fish.. . it really does go on and on. You may not get rich, and you may not be able to quit that job right away, but it's an income stream derived from what you love to do, and that's a start.

So, going fishing this weekend?


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