#52essays: One’s Life Path

When you write the beginnings of a post and you think you know where it’s going and then the save button doesn’t work. Yes, that’s me tonight. Some might say it wasn’t what I was meant to post. Some might say I was silly not to write in Word first or email it to myself or or or. But I think maybe I didn’t have a clear vision yet where that piece was going and it has gone to all pieces heaven to rest.

I met a guy over the weekend who said something profound to me. He said, and I paraphrase, once you’ve tasted making good money why would you go back to school, incur student debt, and come out with a degree you probably won’t use or enter a job where you’ll get paid less than what you were being paid without a degree. He delivers gas for a living. 12 hour days. I wondered but didn’t inquire whether it was dangerous. Whether fumes were a health hazard. But none of it probably mattered because he boldly informed me that he made over 90 grand last year. Imagine that, he said! And I thought, yes imagine that! I am incapable of imagining such an amount of money. My credit card at it’s max is but a tenth of this and this is not even money in hand.

As he spoke I thought to myself, maybe that is why some of us choose the path of just making it. I never had the fortune of tasting big money. I’ve been in academia my whole life. The only time I made 50 grand I didn’t survive the job. Maybe because hustling and piecing it together has been all I’ve known, it doesn’t bother me as much. Sure the stress levels of knowing you might be evicted or your electricity will be cut off in a few days is no way to live, but he gave me pause to consider this very real fact that perhaps never having tasted money to the point where it allowed me luxury items made it easier for me to follow my heart and heed the call to help and nurture people. To hone a skill. To broaden my horizons. The flip side of this money-making was that he also proclaimed proudly that he had only read one book in his life outside of his high school curriculum work. I’m sure this doesn’t apply to everyone but I sensed a certain disdain for higher education. A certain those fools don’t know what they’re missing studying so darn hard and long. Of course I hadn’t shared with him that I held 4 degrees.

Why do I share this encounter? Because it made me sad. Sure education doesn’t help you climb out of poverty immediately, and looking at me, folks would say I am silly for getting all these degrees, but the critical writing and thinking skills can. And reading will broaden your horizons, and sitting in classrooms with people from all parts of the world will give you a different perspective. What education does and what it can do rivals anything money can do for me, I think. I’m not saying I wouldn’t like to be self-sufficient. I’m just saying I wouldn’t trade education for making mad money. But to each his own, I guess.

#week5

One Comment Add yours

  1. satsumaart says:

    Wow. Different strokes, for sure. Thank you for sharing this conversation and your reflections on it.

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