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Teen Voice - 10/22/2012

Monetary Passion
updated: Oct 21, 2012, 3:30 PM

By Kelsey Abkin

"Do what makes you happy." That's what I was told growing up. It was a concept that brought comfort to my existence, ease to adversity. It was a reassuring thought that it was up to me, my decision, to do what I want and be happy and that was all there was to it. But as I got older that candid statement became complicated. It was now, "Do what makes you happy... and makes you a living... and is reasonable."

As teenagers, we grow up in a world of contradictions. We're urged to find our passion and pursue it, however, it is this urging that takes the true passion out of passions. Parents, life coaches, counselors, they all say we should do what we love, but it is clear this is loaded advice. If you're unfortunate enough to find a passion in the arts, writing, acting, painting etc., then chances are you're going to need a Plan B. Yet, unjustly those who find science and math to be in their realm of happiness are welcomed into the working field with arms wide open. Growing up I wanted to be a dancer, then an actress, followed by a writer. It seems I have the affliction of being one of those whose passion wouldn't quite pay the bills. It is this pragmatism that saddens me as for most people; the inclination to love the arts will most likely remain a side job, never quite enough to make a living. I guess, as true for most things in life, people must find a balance because in the end all we really want is happiness. It is an inconsistent society we are growing up in but one thing is clear, the "passion" is on the verge of losing its' meaning.

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 333975 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-21 03:59 PM

Welcome to the real world where dreams die hard and compromises are often necessary.

So, marry for money and then indulge your passion.

(Just kidding from an adult who is in the autumn of her years.)


 COMMENT 333986 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-21 04:23 PM

The advise to follow your 'passion' or 'love' is correct. Without a driving desire to accomplish something that takes awhile, say, years, you won't get far and/or it won't be any fun whatsoever.

Following your passion, and living your life, is different than paid employment. The latter is what you have to do to pay the bills. When choosing what to do for paid employment, choose the highest skill set you possess for the most remuneration per hour regardless of your passion. Limit the hours you do it so you have some time to follow your passion. Surfers surf before and after work.

Your passion you don't have to choose, it chooses you. Follow it always as it is your inner light, your guide in life, like a radar. And whatever you do, don't die with your music still in you.


 COMMENT 333999 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-21 04:54 PM

975...I didnt marry for money, but over the years, his job has prospered nicely...mine on the other hand, no, but it is my dream job. I married a very smart person, and if you plan on following your dreams....hook up with an engineer. I am not kidding either.


 COMMENT 334010 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-21 05:14 PM

So few people have the guts to follow their dreams. The ones who became legendary had the courage to do so. PLEASE follow your dreams no matter what they are, trust me. Too many people don't, and they end up in ordinary lives. It's much better to try boldly and fail, than to give up and settle for being ordinary.

"Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it."
~ Goethe


 COMMENT 334011 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-21 05:17 PM

Read Kerouac, and Salinger, and Vonnegut. And a little Bukowski.


 COMMENT 334025 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-21 06:33 PM

Happy to see a Bukowski fan! I'm not in the arts for money and have had to adapt my lifestyle to accommodate following my passion and paying my bills. While it would be great to be rich, that's not my aspiration. A good budget goes a long way!


 COMMENT 334029 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-21 06:51 PM

You're smart, creative and passionate...that's a triple whammy that cannot be denied...you'll be a 'success' in whatever you choose. I wouldn't advise 'hooking up' with anyone for the sake of future stability, be your own person, but especially be your own strong, independent person.

Here's a favorite quote of mine:

'Whatever you choose, however many roads you travel, I hope that you choose not to be a lady. I hope you will find some way to break the rules and make a little trouble out there. And I also hope that you will choose to make some of that trouble on behalf of women.'

-Nora Ephron


 COMMENT 334030 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-21 06:52 PM

Kelsey: Specifically: Jack Kerouac - Dharma Bums. JD Salinger - Raise High The Roofbeam Carpenters and Franny & Zooey. Kurt Vonnegut - Cat's Cradle. Charles Bukowski - Post Office and Women. They'll change your life.


 COMMENT 334035 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-21 07:16 PM

Money won't make you happy and happiness doesn't pay the bills. But why is it one must choose between one and the other? Take a job you can do well and meets your needs but pursue that which lights your fires and your passions. The moment your creativity can earn you a living you will no longer have to work for a living.

In a culture of get rich quick schemes and paradigms we are too often distracted by the easy way out, the short cut, the instant gratification. However if it comes easy it doesn't mean much and we all too often undervalue it and squander it.

Life is full of contradictions and juxtapositions. It's what makes it interesting and infuriating at the same time.


 COMMENT 334037P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-21 07:18 PM

I think that the goal is to have your career be based upon something you enjoy. If you like art then maybe being an art dealer or get learn what you would need to get a degree or experience in so that you could manage an art museum or something. If it's writing then a degree in journalism or professional writing so that you can work for a big magazine, etc.

As a parent I want my kids to determine what they enjoy and where their skills are and then try to combine the 2 to find a career that will hopefully support themselves and bring them a sense of accomplishment and pride. Do that for yourself. You are young enough to find a way to create goals and then go for them.


 COMMENT 334043 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-21 07:37 PM

And i URGE you to read, please read, Salinger's "Raise High The Roof Beam, Carpenters" from beginning to end. It will inspire you to write about your life, more than anything else.


 COMMENT 334044 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-21 07:38 PM

You have to love the whole package. If following your love also includes being poor, you have to also love being poor.

Depends on what order you want to take things - find money first and then find something that makes money you like to do -- which may surprise you.

Or love being poor if this is what is part of your package of choices.

Good advice would be to be more general about what you love to do - maybe acting is because you like working in front of people and there are other ways to enjoy this in a public relations setting or even teaching that gives you both your pleasure as well as an income.

There are plenty of part-time jobs in the para-professional health field that can leave you time for your own personal artistic expression or maybe you might want to look into being a medical illustrator or technical illustrator for income as well as a degree of artistic satisfaction.


 COMMENT 334081P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-21 09:13 PM

Oh funny, 3333999...

Actually, I did the same thing! Not on purpose and not premeditated. I married an engineer because I truly loved him, and still do (we met as students) But, yes, marrying an engineer turned out to be fortuitous because I majored in English and philosophy. Frankly, if it wasn't for his eventual income, I probably couldn't have even paid off my student loans!


 COMMENT 334086 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-21 10:34 PM

Kelsey.... I love your articles and how you make us all think and reflect! Love you! Nana


 COMMENT 334111 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-22 06:10 AM

At least you're not a mediocre college engineering student who hates science and your parents are making your go to college for engineering even though you hate it. Imagine being made to study something you don't enjoy and aren't good at. Imagine being with people who love engineering and are good at it, but your mother wants you to have an engineering degree so it will reflect well on her. Try that bs.


 COMMENT 334131 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-22 07:25 AM

The problem with wanting a career as a young creative is that the fruits of your creativity will be used by others for little pay. Not only must you be able to produce good work but it has to be marketed and sold. Mediocre creatives who are really good at selling themselves do a lot better than the brilliantly talented artist who shuns business or marketing.

The most counterintuitive part of making a living as an artist/creative is the need to create a brand for yourself. What will you be known as? What can potential clients expect from you? It's your brand that sells, the consistency of your work, not your talent.


 COMMENT 334329 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-22 01:14 PM

When you love what you do, you are better at it - plain and simple. You have to decide what's important to you...really important. You will be judged by others but pay them no mind. They don't matter. Use your head, use your heart and stay on the path. I wish you well - if you are the voice of your generation, there may be some hope after all.


 COMMENT 334330 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-22 01:17 PM

111 - I know it feels like your parents are making you do this, but at some point please for your sake, do what YOU WANT. You are an adult now. That said, also think hard and long because after all, they are your parents and they most likely just want what's best for you.


 COMMENT 334421 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-22 04:22 PM

@Kelsey, @111 @Aquaholic - Many artistic women struggled pursuing their passion (Georgia O'Keefe for one). Here are 2 quotes from Martha Graham who was my dance teacher and whom I greatly feared but also admired for her work in dance: "I have spent all my life with dance and being a dancer. It's permitting life to use you in a very intense way. Sometimes it is not pleasant. Sometimes it is fearful. But nevertheless it is inevitable."


 COMMENT 334508 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-22 08:59 PM

2nd quote from Martha Graham for teen writer OP Kelsey: Agnes de Mille confessed to Graham a burning desire to be excellent, but had no faith that she ever could be. Graham quietly told de Mille: "...no artist is pleased. [There is] no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others."


 COMMENT 334725 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-23 01:57 PM

Someone who is studying to be a professional writer needs to go back and study what a "contradiction" truly is.

I'm a writer, I love to write, and I'm a professional - so I get paid. No contradictions here!


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