I just graduated from college, and I don’t know what to do to begin the next step in my life. I enjoy talking to people, travel and photography. If I keep saving money, I could have $6,000 by August. I want to use this money to travel to Europe, but I worry that I should be practical and spend it on creating a new professional life in San Francisco. I have asked a lot of people what to do, because I want to make the most educated decision possible. What’s your advice?
Live an uncompromised modern life. After 16 years in the U.S. education system where you studied what other people think, and how other people have seen, shaped or merchandised the world, it’s your turn. Re-enter the childhood experience of wonder, curiosity, creativity and grace by allowing the world to be your playground. Go to Europe or any other continent or country that requires you to push yourself beyond the familiar. Listen to the soul’s small voice (it’s small, so we must be still and quiet to hear). Trust its wisdom. The call to your vocation is alive in you. Follow that call.
When you do, doubt may arise occasionally to test your commitment. The choice to value freedom, self-awareness, personal experience and the call to a creative life means you will meet resistance. People you love dearly may express their disappointment or anger when you do not align yourself with their expectations or advice. Do not buckle. Honor your backbone. Most often, these friends and family members are reacting to the tattered threads of their own ruined dreams. Your courage to pursue a creative life threatens their choice to continue lockstep with whatever they imagine will ensure approval and safety. The truth is, safety cannot be bought or guaranteed, not by wealth, not by conservative choices, not by faith and not by practicality.
I wrote recently on the Ask Joey Facebook page about thought leader Daniel H. Pink. He has clarified society’s progression from farmers to factory workers to knowledge workers to creators. He says that as we move out of the information age and into the “conceptual age,” new capabilities are required. People who have artistry and empathy, who are capable of seeing the big picture, and pursuing the transcendent will lead and innovate. Following your call to travel can open your eyes, heart and mind so that you are poised to lead. Here’s how to prepare: Before you leave for Europe, read Daniel Pink’s website at www.danpink.com. Watch author Byron Katie’s videos at www.thework.org. Read Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Creative Battles, and Timothy Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich. Read Anita Barrows and Joanna Marie Macy’s Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God. Read any book of poetry by Mary Oliver. When you pack for your adventure, take only blank journals, pens and a small packet of crayons or watercolor pastels. While traveling, empty your mind and record what you feel, see and believe. Grow into the person you were created to be.
P.S. Send me a postcard!
My boyfriend and I broke up after he fell for someone else. Each time we talk he says, “The heart wants what the heart wants.” It hurts so much to hear these words. What does he mean?
He is justifying his unkindness by hiding it beneath a cloak of romanticism. But here’s the spiritual translation of his words: “The ego wants what the ego wants and will employ words like ’heart’ to justify manipulating others to win its way.” So it’s not that he doesn’t want you, it’s that he doesn’t deserve you. You’ve been saved. Rejoice and be glad.