Watts: You Do That
May 7, 2013 § Leave a comment
It’s been a couple of years since I graduated from my Alma Mater and I’ve tried reflecting what has happened since the good old days in UP Mindanao. I miss the place. The last time I was there in the time of writing this was on my Graduation Day. It would be nice to drop by the place one of these days.
I never thought of becoming a coordinator of sorts in a corporate company with my Creative Writing background. There has been a plethora of instances wherein people don’t necessarily practice their profession. I’ve interviewed a lot of nursing students who want to be Virtual Assistants, education majors that want to answer emails for a living, software programmers that would settle to a copy-paste clerical job, and many more.
I find it a sort of fascination when someone prepares for something and ends up doing something else. I remember when I joined the 14th Iligan National Writers Workshop when the keynote speaker Rebecca Añonuevo shares a simple way of deciding on something to do when we were hanging out after the afternoon bloodbath of workshop.
“It’s easy to choose what you want to do,” said Ma’am Becky (as we called her). “You go to wherever you’re good at (or at least think you’re good at) and to wherever you’ll be happy.”
Later in life I stumbled on this amazing website called Zen Pencils by cartoonist Gavin Aung Than. The website takes on quotes from famous people and he creates his own interpretation through his cartoons which I found to be a really fun way in reading quotable quotes.
In one of his works he featured philosopher Alan Watts with a quote titled: “What If Money Was No Object?”
You can click on the above link to see the actual picture but basically the comic depicts a professor being asked by students about their plans in the future and that they don’t know what they want to do. The professor answered the questions by asking, “What would you like to do if money were no object? How would you really enjoy spending your life?”
Students would answer they want to be painters, poets, writers or a horse-back rider. But later on they’d add that they can’t make money out of it. On this part of the comic, I realized that I was one of those students. I, too, feel that way even until now. I’ve always wanted to be a writer. Just to write my thoughts and my heart away. But it’s not really practical.
Then the professor said to us after we answered his question: “YOU DO THAT. AND FORGET THE MONEY.”
I don’t always get shocked by cartoon characters but somehow this two-dimensional drawing managed to shake me up with Allan Watt’s words.
Watts explained that if we say that getting money is the most important thing, we get to spend our lives wasting our time. We begin to continue doing things we don’t like to do to go on doing those things. And the cycle goes on and on (Than actually drew a picture of a person running on a hamster wheel).
For the longest time and even when I’m writing this, I’ve kept on reflecting on the idea behind this quote. It has always been human nature to want to do what you want. I want to do what I want. But the way I see it, there’s still a lot to consider. Right now, I’m trying to do what I want but sometimes I lose focus with what I want in general. I want to write, yes. But I also want to ensure my family’s future. If only I could infuse those two things. Of course, that’s not impossible. Only a bit difficult.
There’s a challenge.
I recently spoke with one of my underclassmen. They were excited to do this and do that, focused on what they want and what they can do. I can see myself in them. Sure they’ll feel the disappointment in one form or the other not being able to land in their dream jobs or do what they want. But hopefully they can maintain the excitement and the gusto to go for what they want anyways despite the setbacks.
“Better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing than a long life spent in a miserable way.” –Allan Watts