By Dawn Onley
What should I do with my life?
That is both the name of the book and the million-dollar question best-selling author Po Bronson posed to more than 900 ordinary Americans who had one thing in common: the desire to dust off their hidden passions long stored away in the china cabinets of their lives so that their true love could shine for all to see.
Bronson scoured the country in search of people of all ages and professions who pondered this very question and struggled to answer it. The struggle was intense because the answers involved deep soul searching. What was their calling in life? And, what were they willing to sacrifice to pursue their dreams?
Many quit lucrative jobs: as doctors, lawyers, stock brokers, to answer the question that poet and short story writer Raymond Carver uttered in his last words:
And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.
The introspection wasn’t easy. Then again, nothing worth anything ever is.
But it was absolutely paramount; it meant the difference in living a lie or being true to what we are all called to do.
In many cases, people told Bronson they had to find what it was that brought them joy. Some spent time unemployed in search of their passion. In other cases, people knew all along but were fearful to take the leap, to leave years of hard work and fat salaries for the unknown.
Dreams are gambles. Many business owners have dreamed of being self-sufficient and opened up shop only to see that dream wash away under mounds of debt.
But at least they tried. At least they were true to themselves. Bronson has more respect for those willing to pursue their love than people who slave away at a job to earn a paycheck without any love for what they do.
But isn’t that life? Who says work has to be blissful? What’s love got to do with it when there are bills to pay and mouths to feed?
Turns out, love has a lot to do with it.
I read the book years ago and still draw from its wisdom today. I’ve always loved the allure, the excitement — and as weird as it may sound — even the stress of journalism, and have ever since I walked into my college newsroom and felt the adrenaline rush of rookies chasing breaking news stories. In fact, I love all forms of writing. Writing is my lifeline.
But I’m still plagued with the idealism of my college years. I want to make the world a better place. I want to use my time, my resources and whatever little influence I have putting out as much positivity into the universe as I possibly can.
That’s what I’m trying to do with my life. The most good.