I’ve been at my new workplace for a few weeks now and there isn’t much more I could ask for in a job. The culture is continuously supportive, trustworthy, and open to new insights and ideas. The work is invigorating and the organization’s growth is wildly evident. The room for professional and personal growth is limitless thanks to the independence of my work, my lack of knowledge, and the continuously evolving field of education.
Compared to my old job as an analyst, the benefits and salary are less, my hours are longer, and long-term job security is up in the air. Of course, this is the old-school triad of what I’m supposed to want in a job; rather, it’s what I need. The amount of personal joy I gain or positive societal impact I make are worthless pursuits and they should not be priority.
However, I have never been one to follow tradition. I don’t follow pop-culture, I don’t drink alcohol, I attended a grand total of one party while in college, I have yet to meet anyone with similar music interests, I don’t find much worth in federally recognized holidays, I’m an economics major with a writing job in education, and the list goes on.
The one “normal” interest I do have is sports. Although, the more time goes by, the less I seem to pay attention. I won’t be watching the events in Rio, Saint Louis sports are relatively inaccessible thanks to the hour bump on the east coast, and my book queue is so large, I’d rather dive into those at this stage in my life. I will always have an affinity for baseball and soccer, but over time, I have grown more disconnected.
With all of this being said, and intentionally painted in a negative light, I have still managed to develop many unconditional friendships that will last a lifetime. Friendships that I would have never imagined cultivating as a high-schooler. Through the opening of my mind and selfishly pursuing my own interests, my individuality is my biggest connecting point with others.
Most of my friends share an interest in no more than one or two things that I find interest in, but it is the appreciation we have in the excited way we discuss our interests that draws us close. Watching others pursue life on their terms, independent from societal pressure to fit inside a box, is invigorating. I have yet to find a more organic form of true happiness.
True happiness. A pretty typical thing to look for in life, yet not so typical to find. I’m three days away from my 25th birthday, and I can’t help but be optimistic that I’m starting to look in the right places.
I have a partner that loves me, truly loves me. I have a job where my failures are celebrated, experimentation is encouraged, and my coworkers are “all-in” on the group’s vision for education transformation. I have a roof over my head, a paycheck lining my pockets, and a dog providing endless joy. I have parents and siblings willing to stay connected regardless of distance and I live in a city that lives and breathes “staying in the know” in what I consider the more important things in life.
With all of these ingredients thrown together, I can’t help but think I’m cooking up a pretty fantastic future. The staples of loving relationships, food on the table, and building my life passions are all I need to continue to grow and prosper. Sometime down the road, the place I call home, the job I love, and the things I consider to be top priority will change. But, as long as I replace these ingredients with equal (or better) substitutes, the final product will always make my heart content.
A quarter of a century has come and gone, and the world has graciously allowed me to spread the Paul Haluszczak contagion during this time. All I can wish for is that my influence has leaned heavily on the positive side and will continue to do so until my time to leave this place has come.
Looking at the next 25 years, I will simply keep on keepin’ on, trusting the journey and all of the unexpected opportunities and roadblocks that come from it.
Why? Because very little has resulted from any obsessive planning or confidence thinking I know what’s around the corner. The vast majority—like 99%—of positive life happenings have all resulted in sticking to a few moral principles and many leaps of faith, so I’m going to keep my legs loose, my mind open, and my heart full. It seems to be working quite alright thus far.