Is there a sweet spot between values and money? Can one feel financially secure and also feel like they are living a life that is true to their values?
In last week’s posts several writers addressed a range of issues that can be brought together under the umbrella of making tough decisions. Whether we call it idealism, balance, or compromise – each of is searching for a way to live a meaningful and fulfilling life while continuing to earn enough money to pay the bills.
Meaning and fulfillment are derived from an endless array of sources. For some of us, it is the joy of teaching and having intense, life-changing interactions with students. For others, it is having the power to make decisions that impact people’s lives in positive ways. For some, it is the freedom of autonomy, spontaneity, and the thrill of new experiences. For others, it is the security and comfort of a partner and/or children and connections to a local community. In life, I have found that none of these are mutually exclusive and that they morph and blur over time.
We desire meaningful and creative work in an environment where we are encouraged to strive for intellectual and artistic breakthroughs.
Too often, this type of work does not pay the bills, does not get published, does not earn funding, is not commercially successful. So, we are forced to strike a compromise, find a sweet spot – or a bittersweet spot – between what we want to do, what we are able to do, and what we need to do.
Personally, I find that resistance is crucial to living with compromise. Resistance in our day-to-day lives takes many forms, ranging from leading formal protests like sit-ins and marches to a daily refusal to let your family be negatively impacted by your job to a life-time of refusing to create art that may be commercially successfully but soulless.
I am inspired by the protests of March 4, by the Edupunk movement, by the increased use of social networking (blogs, facebook, twitter, etc.) to share dissatisfaction, unrest, and desire for change while simultaneously creating new communities and new types of social contracts.
Along with Itir, I feel that I have moved from realism to idealism. In my 40s, I have gained a sense of responsibility for taking risks, for giving back, for making change happen, for making fewer compromises. And as Meg reminded us, making a compromise is doing what we know is wrong. I don’t know about you but I can only do that so many times a day before it begins to have a negative impact on my soul, my creativity, my sense of self.
I believe that a rapidly increasing globalization has forced a change that looks like a crisis to some and a brighter future to others. I believe that our most radical and creative solutions can be found amidst the upheaval of chaos.
I believe we can move from a bittersweet spot to a sweet spot.