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Success

It is 11pm, I sit on front of my house, leaning my back against the door, slowly sipping a beer. The moon in its waxing gibbonous hangs above the treetops to the south. The oak in my yard forms a barely visible silhouette against the moonlight. All I can hear is an occasional call of a bird, and my horses chewing a bale of hay. The autumn air is crisp and clean, there is a faint odour of everything ripe and full. And, for this and that reasons, I find myself thinking about success.

What does it mean to success in life? Is it to make a good career? To become a famous artist, or to gain publicity and respect in some other area like science or journalism? Well, I'd guess different people and different traditions have their own views and values about success. For me, 'success' has always been mostly about fulfilling ones inner calling. To feel whole and complete in some fundamental sense. I remember back in the school years, when I told a teacher that I'm not so interested in getting good grades - for I'm mostly concerned with inner peace and happiness. The teacher cynically responded that there is no such thing as happiness. In my mind I thought that I don't want to become an adult like that =) So, what did I want, then?

I dreamed about a small house in the woods, where there won't be a constant man-made background noise. Where it will be naturally dark in the night, not too much artificial lights. Where it won't be so crowded, where the forest is near and where the air is fresh. I dreamed about finding inner peace - to soothe my inner pain and angst, not being torn by constant dilemmas, not to struggle with seemingly unresolvable contradictions. To be free to learn arts and crafts. Not being a mere consumer buying ready-made goods, but being physically involved in the bare basics of living. Maybe to have a small family. Or even a small loose group of like-minded people to socialize with.

Oh well. As I came indoors to write this, I checked the internet and it says that in Finland people at my age and with my level of education, on average they earn four times more than I do. But I don't care, as at the moment I don't want to be anywhere else. Just to lean my back against my front door, watching the moon hiding behind the branches of the oak, listening to the silence of the autumn night, it feels like success in life. This is the world the teacher told me doesn't exists.

The moon and the oak
The moon and the oak
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Comments

I think you are very successful. To be able to live the way you do, and to have a friend like Sami to write UrW with, it makes you a very lucky man. :)

I enjoy the way I live for the most part, but I wish I had a friend to work on game projects with. When I work on such projects alone, I always lose motivation once the "interesting" parts are finished, and never actually complete the overall project.... I think if I had a like-minded programmer friend to work with and provide positive feedback, I'd probably have more follow-through....

Success is always a comparison. And even if I think I found happiness, in some deeper spaces and thoughts I'd always know that it isn't so. It's, basically, just the thing about life.

I'm thinking of this too lately. I'm at a fork of my life. Do I pursue a Software Development career and risk a lifestyle I despise or pursue a career that offers much less but provides me the integrity and joy that helps me heal (like you). I wish I could share my journal with you.

About sharing ones personal journal; well but I do read and reply to personal messages from people. Of course sometimes it takes me time to reply, but so far the amount and frequency of personal feedback has been nice and manageable. What comes to the technical side, for example creating an user account on this site allows sending personal messages.

Oh well. I'd guess it would be rather easy to find a lot of advice telling 'listen to your heart, always choose what your inner soul desires, no matter if it pays less'- But then, on the other hand, I'm also a realist =) Personally, I've been lucky to manage with my low-budget life, and finding an affordable house was a game-changer, a bit of a gamble which turned out good. I mean, I'm not going to recklessly encourage everybody to do the same - no no, I can imagine thousand ways to use the money if I had a higher paying work. And in a way, it would be very wise to first go with a secure income, saving some money, and only then go adventurous if the high-paying work really starts to feel emotinally unrewarding.

Finally, for those who want to read more; this blog post wast mostly sparked by reading Clementine's recent blog post, which touches these same themes.

I don't know about you, but I tried going to the university and studying something I was good at (Computer Engineering) and paid a lot more, instead of studying what I love (Arts). It was very depressing. So I gave up on Computer Engineering and started studying Licentiate in Visual Arts, and I'm loving it. But, as Erkka said, it's not a good idea to recklessly encourage people to just listen to their heart and follow their dreams, there's a realistic part too. But the decision is up to you, in the end no one can tell you what to do. You have to try, you'll put yourself at risk in both choices, and if one option fails, you can try another one, it's okay to do that.

Also, I think we are not made of 'careers'. Our jobs are not something hardwired into us, something that we can only choose once and it will be our work for the rest of our lives. No no, we humans are capable of doing many different things and learning new things too. I'm studying Arts, and my dream is to live somewhat like Erkka, work in a farm or a shop at the countryside, or something that I'm yet to discover.

Thank you for your kind words, both of you. I really appreciate it.

I come back to this thread after spending an evening talking with my partner who was encouraging, she said things like -- "you show so much more passion elsewhere" -- and "perhaps you can find work elsewhere" and "perhaps software isn't your thing."

I then sat down with craftsman. Two chimed in and said they were former software developers until of late. Another said he gave up his craft to be a software developer. We live in such an interesting times.

I'll go read Clementine's blog post.

Erkka, if you want, I can send you a link to my public journal on PM on Unreal forums. I try to post regularly, and I've added pictures of my life. It's becoming a positive thinking medium for me and friends.

Best.

Ah, so you have a public journal! OK, if you don't feel comfortable with posting a link here in the comments, a PM on UrW forums is fine!

(hehe, I really don't know how wide audience there is reading my blog. I mean, if one posts a link here, how much traffic will it generate, I have no idea. I think site visitor stats can't reliably distinguish between bots and human visitors. Then, on the other hand, My Summer Paradise post included a link to Maria Mono's piece Superkuu (paratiisi 2.0). Several weeks after that post the artist posted to facebook a link to that blog post of mine, saying that according to youtube stats, a lot of listeners came via a link on my blog. So, apparently, there is someone reading and following the links. Thank you for that, everyone! I mean, if I post a link to promote a small indie musician, and then it really brings some new listeners, I think we are all happy about that.)

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