Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Follow Your Bliss

     The Mythologist Joseph Campbell advised one to "follow your bliss".    I heard that advice from one of his tapes many years ago and thought that he was truly on target about how one should live your life.   Today I read column by Froma Harrop that support that approach to life.  She was reporting that people who follow their passion will have longer and happier lives.   No matter what the activity might be.  Being wealthy and having worldly recognition do not seem to guarantee longevity or satisfaction with life.   However if you find a life work that brings you satisfaction on a daily basis, you can expect to be more content.
   The two examples that Harrop wrote about were persons who were willing to ride out their calling in spite of the changes over the years.  One person was a typewriter repairman with a business that survived in spite of the demise of the typewriter in the last twenty or thirty years.   His business declined from employment of eight persons to only himself.   But he continued in to his eighties and until he died repairing typewriters as they became retro devices.   Another personal had a business selling vinyl records.  As we know vinyl disappeared as tape and Cd's replaced that technology.  However he held on until his demise following his passion.   Fortunately there is retro interest in the tonal quality of the vinyl record.
   At lunch today I was in conversation with several of my professor emeritus friends about various elements of the university life.   I think in our assemblage we agreed that all of us had the chance to "follow our bliss".   Our employment as university faculty allowed us to engage a life work of following our passion.   At least for the most part.  And note we ranged age from the late seventies and into the early eighties.   Perhaps it is an overstatement to say at all times in our academic careers that we were always following our passion.  In our emeritus status, however, we have very few constraints.
    As I reflect on my academic career, I can truly say I was pursuing my interests and curiosity in engineering because it was my pleasure more than it was my work assignment.  Indeed I have been fortunate to have followed my bliss.   And in retirement it is a pleasure to follow my recreational bliss of skiing.

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