Decisions, decisions, decisions...
Some of which are what i like to call more 'life-defining' compared to others.
One in particular which seems to be the common topic among adolescents and budding young adults... CAREER.
i come from a 'big' family. 'Big' because i've got all these cousins whom i'm very close to... who are more like my own brothers and sisters really rather than cousins. And they're mostly in the age-range that is either embarking on their life defining journey of career choices or at least considering it. Not to mention my aunts and uncles (their moms and dads) who are evermore concern (and rightfully so) with the possible future outcomes of their children respectively.
And so, i generally am a part of or ever so often hear discussions pertaining to the issue of career path. All the more so since i happen to be in the field of medicine as a practising doctor.
You see, when it comes to career i think we as a society (at least in Malaysia) have yet to widen our horizons and extend our ideas beyond the very typical traditional choices - Lawyer, Engineer, Doctor... and maybe Accountant (i think this is more of a recent thing in comparison..anyways). That's all that comes to mind everytime some concern parent or family member or even adolescent venture into the whole issue of career choice... afterwhich the subsequent discussions only have to do with how to make that choice a reality. How to finance it... which university to go to.. where to eventually work...etc... etc...
Now i may be an idealist but i think that we need to relook and rethink the whole notion of career paths. i mean it is a life-defining choice and as such i think it's important to ask ourselves the right 'life-questions' before we proceed full steam ahead into something that can very likely make or break our lives and the lives of those we love.
Questions like (in no particular order):
1. What do i really want out of life? What kind of lifestyle would i like to lead?
2. How important is the 'money' factor? How much is enough? How much am i willing to sacrifice for it?
3. What do i hope to achieve eventually?
4. On my 'death bed' what would matter most to me?
5. How important is family? How important are relationships?
6. Where do i intend to live and build my home/family?
i mean we all know these questions are critical and essential to ask... and those of us who work or who've had our own experiences with work-related life issues (e.g. spending too much time at work, no time for family, no opportunity to explore dreams, marital strain, health deterioration, etc.)... we know that in retrospect especially (well, at least most of us) that some things that we thought were important at the start of our careers turned out to be not so important... that some things are just not worth sacrificing for the sake of that 'extra'. We know, that life is more than just what we do... our vocation... our title... our salary bracket... the car we drive... the bank account balance. We know, that at the end of the day little much is going to matter except for family, friendships, love, health and peace.
And yet, when we talk to our younger ones... we somehow put it across to them that the contrary is true.
Suddenly, money is top priority.
Prestige is of utmost importance (if we are honest enough to admit it).
Worst of all many a time we give our opinions as if we really know what we're talking about. And these vulnerable, impressionable minds believe us!
Let me qualify...
i see a lot of people (parents, uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters etc.) who've had no personal experience whatsoever in a particular field of expertise give their opinions on them as if they were the gospel truth. Now, i'm not saying we can't give our opinions and even infer from our general understanding and from what we've either heard or seen. Maybe extrapolate a little here and there... but really, i think it's more than appropriate that somewhere along the line the input of someone trustworthy who is actually in the field should be sought... so that a far more informed decision can be made. Especially a decision of such magnitude.
i mean if i wanted to know what it would be like to be a doctor, i should ask a doctor.
Sure, some people may say that those who are in the profession may have a tendency to be biased, have their judgements clouded by their own grapplings with their career. But hey, isn't it far les objective to get counsel from someone who has no clue at all what it's like. i think THAT is terribly biased! Cos' all the person can go on is simply imagination and hearsay.
C'mon people. Let's be sensible. For the sake of the younger generation and the lives ahead of them. For the sake of the future families that they're gonna build.
Let's open up our minds a bit more...
Think of more possibilities...
Cos' in the end i think all we want is what's best for them. And that 'best' has to translate to what we know to be true. Peace, Joy, Love, Happiness and Satisfaction. We've had our experiences in life that have taught us (perhaps even the hard-way) that there are some things that are just not worth sacrificing.
i mean, i personally know of persons who've had everything going for them so to speak. Escalating in their career, earning the salary that they dreamed of (finally) and living in that dream house, driving that dream car only to be grappling at the end of the day with broken marriages, wayward children, debilitating disease and even in worst case scenarios death.
Life is short. With the time we have surely all that we wish for our children and loved ones is that those days be their best. Filled with all the goodness that life has to offer and God has in store. Not with materialism and empty earthly temporal pursuits.
Surely, we wish for ourselves and those we love something 'better'.
So let's open our eyes. Let's not blind ourselves to what we know in our hearts of hearts to be true. And let's take heart and have courage in helping these younger ones lead braver, bolder, and happier lives than we have ever lived.