paradox of choice- the life we choose

i have been so fortunate to be able to continue doing what i love from adolescence to present day. even better, what i love to do just so happens to be quite fruitful, which doesn’t seem to be commonplace. it leaves us in a pickle, whether to do with our lives something that brings fulfillment, and possibly not financial freedom, or do what pays the bills and affords a comfortable life, even if its something that we are not passionate about. i have had lengthy conversations with friends i love and care about on this topic several times, some of which are living a life they never expected to and aren’t particularly enthusiastic about. it’s easy to speak freely and give advice from my position – albeit, one that i earned – encouraging them to say fuck unfulfilling work, do what you love and don’t worry about the rest. and i have done just that. but i haven’t had to make that life choice yet so what the hell do i know? life doesn’t work that way. i get it. but why doesn’t life work that way? the whole reason i’m writing this is cause i’m actively pondering what i will do once i am put in this situation and have to choose.

i have gone back and forth with myself trying to figure out what i want out of life after football is over (hopefully no time soon). i’ve had days where i want to work big business ventures filled with long days and longer nights, motivated by the possibility of endless wealth. other days i want lead a really simple life as a ninth grade english teacher and part time personal trainer motivated by the prospect of improving the lives of everyday people, even though it might not yield the wealth i may otherwise earn. the life i favor changes by the day, usually because of some book i read or some experience i had, but those two choices are worldly different and have their own set of pros and cons. to pick one and stick with it seems like such a tough thing to do but i have to believe it is possible to curate the life you want for the most part. obviously something is always going to have to give but i believe you can minimize that through perspective.

let’s say fulfillment in life is based on one’s reference point. if my idea of success and fulfillment is based on the luxurious life of my favorite celebrity or rich friend, then no matter the strides i make and the success i have, if i’m always one step behind my point of comparison, then i will perpetually feel unsuccessful.  on the other hand, if the standard for evaluating my success comes inherently, is solely based on being better than i was when i started and not comparing my life to someone else’s, then life can become much more gratifying. i’m not suggesting setting low expectations for yourself just to have the satisfaction of consistently achieving your goal. i’m also not suggesting that fulfillment and financial freedom can’t coexist. that would be silly. i’m just suggesting that we make our standard of success and fulfillment come from self and not others.

treating the idea of a fulfilling life as a perspective and not a universal standard based on status quo makes choosing the life i want to live seem way more plausible. let’s hold on to one of the few things in life we get to have a say in by keeping a clear perspective on what it means to us to seek fulfillment.


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