“Always pay yourself first.”

Robert Kiyosaki, Rich Dad, Poor Dad

It seems that I am not alone when it comes to the sentiments I expressed in my last entry (but I knew that already). I find similar musings all over the place; in particular, one of my closest friends recently came across this entry from a former Real World cast member:

I mean, do most people feel completely empty when they think of what they do? Do they just do it because it�s a job, because you need a job in this world, because we�re supposed to be happy with whatever job we can get because of the job market these days? Are we supposed to ignore the fact that we all have SOME sort of calling, some skill that we were born with, some passion that is inherent that we are MEANT to utilize for the betterment of the world?? Okay, I know how dramatic this sounds, but let�s look at it seriously � we�re all different for a reason….

Yes, Lori’s writing style makes me look like Hemingway (which isn’t a bad place to be, in my opinion), and yes, she is dramatic almost to the point of maudlin. Our sentiments, though, are most certainly in line…and, by the way, she’s beautiful. Quite the hottie. 🙂

Lori realizes, as I do, that there comes a point where fulfilling one’s own ambitions takes a back seat to the realities of life. Perhaps the key to happiness is to find one’s way BEFORE those realities take hold and strap down the dreamer inside of us forever. You won’t know it’s coming until it’s too late, and the change is very subtle; those straps are tightened imperceptibly but all too quickly for the ignorant. I am somewhat alarmed to see that the intensity of my words and the conviction with which I say them are not nearly as strong as Lori’s…and I’m only a couple of years older!

For me, the problem lies in finding a direction. I suspect this is a common problem, resulting not only from indecision but also from the pressures of real-world responsibility. In my case, I think it’s also due to a chronic case of selflessness. It’s very difficult to focus on what I’d like to do with myself when I see two things about myself: First, I am doing rather well when it comes to capitalist, objective “success.” Second, I am constantly surrounded by immediate needs, like bills, trips to the vet, and obligations to my family and friends, that take precedence over my own selfish thoughts (mostly because of Thing #1).

The solution is simple enough. I need to find a way to be totally selfish and totally free of the “real world” for a brief period of time. It shouldn’t take long. I need to really delve into one question: What must I do so that I can be proud of my life when I’m 80? The first things that come to mind always have to do with raising children, being a good father, and being a good husband. That’s great, but that’s not very selfish. I need to learn what I must do for myself. Once I’m comfortable with my personal goals and my personal direction in life, I think the rest of the world will be a piece of cake. I’ve always been good to others, but I think I’ve forgotten about being good to myself first.

Sooo…how do I do this?

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