Jeff O'Handley

The Doubting Writer Finds His Voice

A Quote

From Bill Watterson, the man behind Calvin and Hobbes, which may be the greatest comic strip ever:

Creating a life that reflects your values and satisfies your soul is a rare achievement. In a culture that relentlessly promotes avarice and excess as the good life, a person happy doing his own work is usually considered an eccentric, if not a subversive. Ambition is only understood if it’s to rise to the top of some imaginary ladder of success. Someone who takes an undemanding job because it affords him the time to pursue other interests and activities is considered a flake. A person who abandons a career in order to stay home and raise children is considered not to be living up to his potential-as if a job title and salary are the sole measure of human worth.

You’ll be told in a hundred ways, some subtle and some not, to keep climbing, and never be satisfied with where you are, who you are, and what you’re doing. There are a million ways to sell yourself out, and I guarantee you’ll hear about them.

To invent your own life’s meaning is not easy, but it’s still allowed, and I think you’ll be happier for the trouble.

Have a pleasant weekend, all.

6 Responses

  1. I read this before and agree that measuring your worth just by society's definition of success isn't the way to go. If you achieve it and are miserable what was the point? Many people are less successful but are able to take care of themselves and/or their families and are happy with that accomplishment.

  2. Elizabeth–I'm glad you stopped by, too. It's funny, there was a time not all that long ago when it wasn't seen as odd at all for a parent (well, okay, the mom, usually) to stay home with the kids. I'm not sure why it changed.

    -Sheena-kay: We've become quite hung up on success as determined by the size of our paychecks. Granted, a bigger paycheck generally means providing better, but not all the time.

    Donna: you're welcome! There's actually also a great comic strip version of this done in the style of Calvin and Hobbes here: http://zenpencils.com/comic/128-bill-watterson-a-cartoonists-advice/

  3. Awh, thanks for sharing this Jeff.

    "-as if a job title and salary are the sole measure of human worth." I couldn't agree more! There are definitely more and other ways to measure human worth.

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