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Experience of Life


"Recently a young 17 year old 'old' friend of mine living in Tasmania asked me what profession she should follow after she gets out of school. She provided me with a list of five and asked me to tell her which ones I'd recommend.

[For those of you who already know or knew your passion this will not apply!]

Here's part of her letter to me:

"Next year my plans are to go to Belgium for a year as an "Au Pair", as it is one of the cheapest European countries to live in. The careers I am looking at thus far are:

Medical Research
Environmental Science,
Criminal Psychology.

Any thoughts? "

Here's my response:

"Any thoughts?" - You bet I have! :)

Kel - you need to experience life first before deciding if there is something that 'pulls' you to pursue one course of study over another. One of the errors in y opinion that our societies make is to put pressure on our young people to decide what they want to do with their lives before they have lived. How do you know if there is a particular area that 'pulls' you before you have 'lived' a little.
  My father did it to me  Most parents do, as well as the educational system in the schools. It's what we are 'taught' other wise we'll be "waisting" our lives, etc.. What a bunch of crock!

Life is for living - to experience - to explore things your heart is pulling you to explore - not to be based on "Earning your living" but because something excites you to experience. To travel like I did - working on a Dutch cargo boat - renting out deck chairs on an island beach - [Guernsey in the Channel Islands] - trying ballet [my girlfriend at the time was a ballet dancer] - LIVING ! Having FUN! Oh I know about the disapproval looks I would likely get from some on giving you this advice.Tough - this is YOUR life and you need to LIVE it YOUR way. Sure you'll make mistakes - that's part of life's experience but in the end it's YOURS to live and it belongs to NO ONE ELSE!  As a teacher once said in my hearing "There's no such thing as a mistake - There is only unrealised wisdom"

As I think you know I opened the "door" for my son by getting him out of the school system when he was in grade 9 as he was so unhappy I was afraid he might commit suicide and I was a single parent at the time. I also realised I was doing to him what my father did to me - pushing me to decide what I was going to "do with my life" while I was still in school.

That decision was the best I ever made for my son. As I think you know he found his 'passion' in T'ai Chi and went to China to be with his Master where he spent 5 years. He taught English while he was there, believe it or not, in order to have money to follow his 'passion'. After 5 years he came back to Canada and ended up going to University to take a course in Asian studies. He is bilingual in Mandarin. He gets A+s in all his exams and he has found his purpose because he 'Lived' first to find out. No body knows he never finished his "education". His professors think he's brilliant ! For god's sake LIVING LIFE IS - I repeat IS - your education!! That's where you find your passion. Life IS your passion - or should be!!

You first saw me in your Salemenca market in Hobart when you were 7 years old sitting on a side walk opposite your parents stall with Jasmina  who played her flute. This was HER passion. I was in my '60s - So ? During the week on Bruny Island where we were living we would make her flutes out of clay and then 'fire' them in a fire pit. Sell them sitting on the sidewalk in the Market on Saturdays opposite your parents stall.. It was fun - it was living an experience I'll never forget. To do this I had left my real estate business in Yukon to fulfill a passion I had always had to go to your land of Tasmania. Everyone in Canada thoughtt I was crazy to give up my profession, where I was at the top of it, and do what I did. Now they all envy me. Some of them tell me they wish they had the courage to live their life as I have - but they are 'imprisoned' by their society's conditioning to earn money so they have enough to retire on. They have already "retired" but they don't know it - they have "retired" from living LIFE!

Two years ago I stopped selling real estate and took a job looking after a campground in a beautiful area in the Rockies. I met so many interesting people doing that. I lived in a cabin with no electricity nor running water but I had a ball - and I was paid to do it !

This is probably the most important letter I have ever sent you ! Yes - Go to Belgium as an 'Au Pair" which has been offered you and experience another culture - learn French - and EXPERIENCE LIFE! Do it and see where that will take you. Follow your heart. No one else can - or will live your life for you - only you - and it's YOURS to live as you choose.

As a wise teacher once said - "If you live your life for others - will they die for you when your hour comes?"

Now, I'm out of here! "

Thank you. Michael.

Previous columns by this writer may be accessed at click on “Beyond the Box”


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