As someone who has decided to dedicate my career to health services– to helping others and wanting to play a role in creating fuller lives– I feel like life just gets harder. And I think that people who want their lives to be of service to others in general–whether it’s the drive to work for nonprofits, the aspiration to use your skills for those in need, the ambition to save lives in a multitude of ways– have to struggle a lot more than the typical, Average Joe (e.g., those who want to work in these areas have to pursue graduate school, obtain advanced degrees and specialties, earn titles that gain them some momentum in administration, etc). Not to say that these sufferings and burdens are greater than those that others experience, but it seems almost unnecessary (or even unfair) for those with a burning passion to make direct improvements in society to be put through so many hoops and hurdles to get there.
Let me unleash my nerdy side for a moment. The 10th Doctor, who dedicates centuries of his lives towards making the universe a better, more peaceful place, is still morally forced to relinquish the being he is and loves in order to continue saving people, species, and worlds. Granted, this was self-motivated, in this case, to save Wilfred, but regardless, he continues to sacrifice himself over and over for the sake of others. Other than to tickle the fantasy of being comparable to the brilliant David Tennant’s Doctor, I can really sympathize with him. I feel like I’m expending more of my emotional, mental, physical, social energy when compared to those around me who have not needed to go to grad school. if I didn’t have to go through all of these burdensome processes, I probably could do so much more and accomplish so much more. I’ve been struggling a lot with understanding what it means to be so passionate to want to put yourself through the madness and stress that encompasses “becoming who you want to be.” Does it make me less passionate to consider these hardships in such a negative light? I should be willing to push through anything for my dreams, right? Or is it mere envy speaking when looking at those who were able to polish off 4 years of college and live in their immediate fulfillment?
Love is kind of like this, right? It’s the other face of passion. We love to fall in love so much that we’re willing to let it hurt us in the process of loving. But with that logic, how much do we let love continue to hurt us until love is not worth loving anymore? What is the extent of our passion? I know that I still want to become a speech-pathologist and pursue the things that drive me towards that success, but at the same time, I can’t help but look at those who have already sought satisfaction in their 9 to 5 jobs and don’t need to have that fire in their bellies to drive them forward towards what they want out of their careers. And this makes me wonder: How do I know that this is all I can/want to do? Is feeling only satisfied the antithesis to this suffering for success and fulfillment? ‘Cause I don’t want to be only satisfied either. Once again, I’m sure they go through their own kinds of suffering, and it’s easy to say that I’ve got it worse than most other people when I’m not in their shoes, but come on. They get to go to happy hours with their friends and take up hobbies that they never had a chance to try before while I’m doing homework and thinking far too often about how I’m going to pay off my student loans. I want to help people with neurodegenerative conditions and am going through all of these tests of life to get there while Joe Shmoe gets by without dreaming of a day when he can start changing lives.
I know I must sound like some whiny millennial here, but these are just thoughts that have become more and more present in my mind as finals and projects have started to kick up. I would love to make this an open discussion though. Does anyone else ever feel this way? I know there is an end to this stress and anxiety ahead, and there’s really no other careers I would/want to take on at this point, but I’m really struggling with the ideas of delayed and immediate gratification in relation to jobs and, to be honest, life overall.