Creating a life

It took me seven years to finish my second masters degree, in theology. I was working full time and already had a credential (a masters in music), so there wasn’t much of a hurry.

masters regaliaI found that most of the people in my classes fit into one of two camps. One was young, not long out of college, eager to learn more in order to enter the working world. The other was “I worked as a corporate banker for 20 years and I just wasn’t fulfilled.”

Every time I heard that last trope I had to bite my tongue to keep from asking “What did you expect?” (although one time I said “I’ve got enough fulfillment for both of us…but can I borrow twenty bucks?”)

So there I was in the middle of these two groups, aware of the sacrifices that come with following your bliss, but also very aware of the rewards.

There’s a comic making the rounds that illustrates the words of Bill Watterson, about creating a life that “reflects your values and satisfies your soul”.


I wake up every morning excited to face the day, because I have had success in creating such a life. I’m not destitute (and I never was, and that’s why I had the privilege of constructing such a life), but I look at people who take vacations and have multiple homes and who don’t have to walk through the kitchen in their apartment to go to the bathroom, and I realize that those might be out of my reach, forever. It’s hard not to want what the world wants me to want.

But I’m happy, and proud of my life filled with music and God words and people. I have to remind myself it’s worth the sacrifice. The benefits far outweigh the promises of a big house or a yearly tropical vacation. May God guard me against covetousness and allow me to maintain the blessing of such a life.

Are you fulfilled by the life you (and your world) have created? What’s still standing in your way? 

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8 Responses to Creating a life

  1. Leigh Kramer says:

    Love this. Such a good reminder. Comparison/envy is my greatest struggle.

  2. Val says:

    No. I’d be happy for even an apartment. It’s hard to move in any positive direction when getting paid to do something is a challenge. I can’t build credit until I find a job (the job classifacation for which I was qualified disappeared in 2008), can’t finish school until I build enough credit that lenders will talk to me (this despite paying down $20,000 debt — my score is close to 700, but since I haven’t been using credit, lenders don’t care). They don’t think I will pay them back because I was too focused on paying back and living within my means to use credit I couldn’t pay back. Don’t think about this too hard, it will give you a headache. Probably the only thing is I’ve kept serving and kept up the ministry side of things, though not a paid job.

  3. Kevin Nolan says:

    One can lend and borrow money but not fulfillment. Although one receives fulfillment, I believe it actually comes from the act of doing without being paid, not from the experience of getting (like a new car) as a result of being paid.

  4. Margaret you are so BEAUTIFUL and inspiring. Thank you for such a great post.

  5. YIKES ! The “Are you fulfilled by the life you (and your world) have created? What’s still standing in your way?” question mirrors some of the questions my love and I have been addressing in our pre-cana “homework” My answers would be 1) Still working on fulfillment. 2) NOTHING standing in my way !!!! So I guess I had better just continue with the simplistic philosophy of a 68 year old retired guy getting married in a couple of month….. Simply: “Be good; Do good.” Is that too simplistic ?

  6. laparadiddle says:

    I hear you on this! The last year has been a struggle for me to find a new job after being laid off twice, but I also know there are jobs out there that would not leave me fulfilled. Working and being creative is extremely important to me. I’d rather live in my cozy little apartment and have a job I love, and a creative life, than make big bucks at a job that leaves my mind itching and my imagination running on empty.

  7. Yeah- I’m fulfilled and nothing stands in my way. My job is always interesting, if not lucrative. My wife is the best woman in the world. I have great kids and grandkids. And I get to teach catechism. Oddly enough my life is also touched by ongoing tragedy and sadness- but that doesn’t detract from its fulfillment.

  8. Mark Allman says:

    I am convinced that relationships are what make life worthwhile. If we are working on those and treasuring them then it will not matter if your house is 500 square feet or 5000; if your bank account is help in a piggy bank or Switzerland; if you are a laborer or CEO.

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