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Filly
10-07-2011, 09:07 AM
I think I'm getting to the point that I want to quickly finish off/be done with my non-writing related degree and zoom off to America.

Here's a question, when you guys finally realize what you want to do/achieve in life, how far do you go for it?

Do you take on a part-time job or a less-intense job so you can focus more on your writing? What are you priorities and where do you put writing in your life?

I'm slogging along at college and I thought the thing I wanted to do in life turned out to be something I don't want to do at all. And now I think I finally have found my passion; I'm willing to go through a life of no or little income as a literary agent/editor/something in the publishing industry than being at a point where I don't like what I'm learning/doing.

Steve Jobs passed away recently and I read a quote from him that really struck a cord: "Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life."

I'm willing to go against my family norm of being business tycoons and lawyers.

I want to spend my life doing something I love.

But I guess the odds is like someone trying to be a movie star.

How crazy am I getting?

Does anyone have any life stories or advice to share?

Just clarifying: I have no dependents and no real financial responsibilities.

Libbie
10-07-2011, 09:23 AM
You only get one life. Better live it the way you want to live it.

Of course, there are practicalities to consider. If you're at a point now where you don't have dependents and few financial responsibilities, do your best to keep things that way until you've established your career and set it on the path you want it to take. It's much harder to live life on your terms when you've got kids to take care of, tons of debt, etc. Then you pretty much have to take a job that pays the right amount of money and be as dedicated to it as it requires. Survival needs to be a priority, practically speaking.

Myself, I've kept away from getting too closely tied to any particular career so I can have the freedom to quit my day job and write full-time if I ever am able to sell a book and establish the kind of start I want to have. I've stayed pretty open with my employment options and have had some really enjoyable jobs, but have never gotten too deeply committed to them. Writing is my ultimate end goal. Work is just the stuff I do along the way to keep myself writing. When I'm lucky, I like my work. But it's all temporary in the end.

Even the writing.

So make the most of it.

Nymtoc
10-07-2011, 09:53 AM
Steve Jobs was right.

The late Joseph Campbell expressed something similar, summed up in his well-known words "Follow your bliss."

More fully:
“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls....If you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living....Follow your bliss and don't be afraid, and doors will open where you didn't know they were going to be."

It's your life, not somebody else's.

blacbird
10-07-2011, 10:33 AM
I'm working pretty hard on being broke. And doing quite well at it, actually.

caw

shaldna
10-07-2011, 01:05 PM
Here's a question, when you guys finally realize what you want to do/achieve in life, how far do you go for it?

I'm kind of known for acting first and thinking later - I do stupid things like decide to quit my job and do it there and then, or decide to get married and do it after 6 weeks or dating. I generally just go for it if it feels right.



Do you take on a part-time job or a less-intense job so you can focus more on your writing? What are you priorities and where do you put writing in your life?

My priority first and foremost my daughter, everyone and everything else can go to hell. If she's okay then I'll work around that. I don't like part time jobs, they are usually sucky hours that actually make things like childcare etc more awkward than a full time job. I fit writing around my job and still manage to get as much done as other writer friends without it impacting on my family life - I generally write on my lunch and tea breaks at work, or after the little ones have gone to bed. I don't let writing interrupt time I could spend with my family or friends.



I'm slogging along at college and I thought the thing I wanted to do in life turned out to be something I don't want to do at all.

Same here. It happens to all of us at some stage.]


And now I think I finally have found my passion; I'm willing to go through a life of no or little income as a literary agent/editor/something in the publishing industry than being at a point where I don't like what I'm learning/doing.

That's cool. But don't sell yourself short. Little or no money sounds fine now, but later you are gonna want a mortgage or a car, or a holiday, a family maybe, and suddenyl that little or no income isn't so great. If you really want to go for it, then do, but you should aim to do it as well as you possibly can.



Steve Jobs passed away recently and I read a quote from him that really struck a cord: "Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life."

And I agree. I used to tell something similar to my students when they were planning their courses and careers, I would tell them to choose for themselves, not for what other people, especially thier parents, wanted for them.



I want to spend my life doing something I love.

Once you know what you want to do, you just need to find someone who's willing to pay you to do it.



But I guess the odds is like someone trying to be a movie star.

You said you wanted to work in publishing, that's definately more attainable than being a movie star. But hey, SOMEONE has to be a movie star. Don't limit yourself.



Does anyone have any life stories or advice to share?

In Jurassic Park Michael Crichton wrote two very good pieces of advice:

1. For the rest of your life other people will try to take your achievements away from you, so don't take them away from yourself.

2. Most of what people tell you will be wrong.

Undercover
10-07-2011, 04:05 PM
What Libbie said. If you don't have any dependents or major financial issues, then you're ahead of the game, so if you can try to stay that way and establish a job and a place and write on the side for a while. Making money off of a book can take quite a bit of time until you actually get paid for it.

Filigree
10-07-2011, 04:09 PM
Dreams sustain your mind, but a steady paycheck lifts you above the subsistence level. I've been a poor American and I've been a middle-class American, and I've always written better when I'm feeling more financially secure. I can carve out writing time from my various jobs. It's much harder to write when I'm paralyzed by fears about creditors and looming bankruptcy. For a very long time, I was afraid my writing was only a useless, time-wasting hobby. It took some validation in other parts of my life to show me writing's value, as well.

Also, bluntly, America is no place to be poor, with any kind of health problem. You need to be physically healthy. Or have a fair amount of money socked away (I'd say at least 20K), just in case you have a health emergency. Many bankruptcies are initially triggered by high health-care costs, even with insurance.

If you're young, healthy, and fearless, I'd say go for it. As Neil Peart said in the lyrics to 'Dreamline', 'We're only immortal for a limited time.'

But have a fallback position to make money, because for most of us, writing is not it!

Namatu
10-07-2011, 05:12 PM
I'm slogging along at college and I thought the thing I wanted to do in life turned out to be something I don't want to do at all. And now I think I finally have found my passion; I'm willing to go through a life of no or little income as a literary agent/editor/something in the publishing industry than being at a point where I don't like what I'm learning/doing. Hey now. Editors make more than no money or I'd be typing this from my cardboard box home. :D

I didn't study English or publishing or anything at all related, yet my first job out of college was as an assistant editor at a publishing house. So it can be done, and you can, eventually ;), live off of that income. Your degree could come in handy depending on what area of publishing you want to get into. Mine applies to the subject matter I work with.

Soccer Mom
10-07-2011, 05:33 PM
Shaldna has some excellent advice. My family comes first with me. Everything else, including the writing, is secondary.

You can have a real job and be a writer too. They aren't mutually exclusive. I'm a lawyer and still manage four books a year. That doesn't come without trade-offs. If I worked at a prestigious, large firm then I probably wouldn't be able to do this. By building a career and not just a job, I've given myself a lot of flexibility. I won't get filthy rich with the way I limit my law practice, but I can live well and still have time for a full life outside of my work. Also, there are times my job is very satisfying.

But you have to decide what you want and make it happen. Now is the time to really go after what you want. You'll never be young and unencumbered with mortgage and family again. These are happy obligations that I willingly accepted, but they do shape my current choices.

If you want to try and build yourself a future in the publishing industry, go after it. There will never be a better time in your life to try. College and everything else will still be there if you want it later.

seun
10-07-2011, 05:45 PM
I don't let writing interrupt time I could spend with my family or friends.


That's the complete opposite of me.

NeuroFizz
10-07-2011, 05:59 PM
With all due respect for Mr. Jobs, being philosophical like that is easy when one is a bazillionaire. Someone who has to worry about "frills" like food, shelter, and health care, might just have to supplement the search for that chance at nirvana. HOWEVER, youth is one of the great times to find one's niche, one's passion. Adjustments are usually necessary, but there is time to make those adjustments. And one lesson learned by the OP is an important one--anytime we try something and say, "I'll never do that again" we have made a positive step forward because we've just narrowed our career path.

I'll jump in with Mom (above) because I've also found a passion in my day job that rivals the joys of writing, and it has led to a career instead of a job. And there is plenty of time to write, even with a family and all of the associated responsibilities.

The most important things are to be happy, to be safe, and to be healthy. In the U.S. (unfortunately) these things, for the most part, require a decent income.

Writing for a living doesn't require placement on the Best-Sellers lists, but it does require the self-discipline for a constant "hustle." It also requires a knowledge of the business side of publishing so all of that creativity can be put to best use. For some, it also requires a diverse approach to writing--doing different kinds of paying writing jobs. This all means it can be hard work. But that hard work can be among the most rewarding if it's viewed as a challenge rather than a chore.

Give it a try. See what shakes out. You'll regret it forever if you pass on the opportunity.

NeuroFizz
10-07-2011, 06:04 PM
My priority first and foremost my daughter, everyone and everything else can go to hell. If she's okay then I'll work around that. I don't like part time jobs, they are usually sucky hours that actually make things like childcare etc more awkward than a full time job. I fit writing around my job and still manage to get as much done as other writer friends without it impacting on my family life - I generally write on my lunch and tea breaks at work, or after the little ones have gone to bed. I don't let writing interrupt time I could spend with my family or friends.

Agree. My children first. Always.
My paying job second because they pay me to uphold certain responsibilities.
Writing when time and energy allows. This is not as much of a limitation as it may seem, but that depends on the individual.

Bubastes
10-07-2011, 06:21 PM
I'll jump in with Mom (above) because I've also found a passion in my day job that rivals the joys of writing, and it has led to a career instead of a job. And there is plenty of time to write, even with a family and all of the associated responsibilities.


One clarification on this point: despite what many people say, it's possible to build a decent career in something you don't have a passion for. My day job is a horrendously poor fit for me. Even now, many years later, it's like writing with my non-dominant hand, but I've managed to muddle through it with some success because I like money and hate failure even more than I hate my job. Last year, I leveraged that success into a writing-friendly schedule.

There are endless ways to juggle the money/time/passion/interest equation. Don't think of it as either-or because it never is. Best of luck.

ETA: I personally don't believe in expecting passion in your day job, but that may be because of how I was raised. "Do what you love" rubs me the wrong way even as much as I want to believe it. I tend to advise "do what you like" or, at a minimum, "do what you don't hate." And even that's negotiable if the price is right. I'm mercenary (practical?) that way.

quicklime
10-07-2011, 06:43 PM
You only get one life. Better live it the way you want to live it.

Of course, there are practicalities to consider..



this.

wanna write? Write. Want to eat? Maybe still focus on a fallback career instead of putting all your eggs into a longshot basket like becoming commercially successful. There's certainly nothing wrong with trying to write, but you should have a fallback that's a "real job", not using your degree to become a gas station attendant just so you can make sure you only have to work part-time, only to find out in five years that you're giving up on writing, hate the gas station, and have a suspiciously long dead-end spot on your resume if you WANT to find a different job....


as for following your bliss, a few years eating ramen noodles in a shitty apartment where you can hear the nasty trailer-trash below you playing sex-games and putting up with a dead-end job to chase said bliss can make the bliss pretty damn elusive, also

RemusShepherd
10-07-2011, 07:03 PM
Here's a question, when you guys finally realize what you want to do/achieve in life, how far do you go for it?
...
Steve Jobs passed away recently and I read a quote from him that really struck a cord: "Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life."
...
Does anyone have any life stories or advice to share?

Hmmn.

My dream as a youth was to be the next Albert Einstein. I immersed myself in physics, went to school and had little life outside of it...although I was distracted by a woman. That distraction was enough. I failed, and only got a Master's degree out of my education.

Could I have done better? I'm not sure. I'm smart but I'm not a supergenius, and those were the people with whom I would have competed. Could I have avoided that woman and focused more? Yes, certainly, but that means I would have lived far less.

After school I got a job that made me feel good about myself, and I took on a hobby that I thought was helping people. I reinvented myself as an altruist doing good work. I thought that would be my new purpose, and I focused on it to the exclusion of almost everything else.

I failed. I lost the job, and the people I thought I was helping turned on me and drove me away. I don't think any of that could have been avoided; it was a house of cards from the start and was destined to eventually fall.

So now I have a comfortable if not exciting job, and I'm building a life with a good woman. I'm also telling stories -- I have a unique viewpoint and I'd like to share it, and maybe I can help and/or entertain people along the way.

Steve Jobs was lucky. He encouraged people to go for their dream no matter what. But that's not always good advice. It worked for him, but life often takes unexpected detours that can wreck a person's dream.

That's not to say you shouldn't chase your dreams. But my advice is that you should be ready to alter them, reinvent them, and reinvent yourself if you find your initial goals unattainable. Don't become bitter about how your childhood dreams were dashed. Dream new dreams and chase them.

Whatever you do, never give up. Never stop striving for some goal. If you find you can't reach one goal, choose another and keep on fighting.

Phaeal
10-07-2011, 07:14 PM
You should marry a rich man or woman who doesn't want children, who just needs you on occasion to buttress his/her respectable-married-person facade, and who is happy that you have a silly little hobby like writing to distract you from your loveless life. Once you make a fortune with your first book, you can divorce this loser.

shaldna
10-07-2011, 08:02 PM
this.

wanna write? Write. Want to eat? Maybe still focus on a fallback career instead of putting all your eggs into a longshot basket like becoming commercially successful. There's certainly nothing wrong with trying to write, but you should have a fallback that's a "real job", not using your degree to become a gas station attendant just so you can make sure you only have to work part-time, only to find out in five years that you're giving up on writing, hate the gas station, and have a suspiciously long dead-end spot on your resume if you WANT to find a different job....

This.

The thing is, it can take a long time to make money writing. Quite aside from the time it takes to write a book, which for some people can be several years, then there is the time it takes to get it published, which can take years to find a publisher, and then maybe another two years after that to see it in print.

And what are you going to eat in that time?

This is something that people don't seem to realise - in any industry - it can take a long time to get established.

swvaughn
10-07-2011, 08:29 PM
And what are you going to eat in that time?

Ramen.

Sooooo much ramen.

Adding a couple of scrambled eggs makes it a meal!

/derail

Namatu
10-07-2011, 08:38 PM
You should marry a rich man or woman who doesn't want children, who just needs you on occasion to buttress his/her respectable-married-person facade, and who is happy that you have a silly little hobby like writing to distract you from your loveless life. Once you make a fortune with your first book, you can divorce this loser.:eek: Who told you my plan?

Jamesaritchie
10-07-2011, 09:07 PM
Also, bluntly, America is no place to be poor, with any kind of health problem. You need to be physically healthy. Or have a fair amount of money socked away (I'd say at least 20K), just in case you have a health emergency. Many bankruptcies are initially triggered by high health-care costs, even with insurance.



It's as good a place as any. If you're poor enough, dead broke, there's always health care available. For health care you are, in fact, better off broke than with twenty thousand stuck in the bank.

But it amazes me how much the poor in health, the broken in body, managed to accomplish before there was such a thing as health care. History is full of such people. Today, not so much.

IceCreamEmpress
10-07-2011, 09:57 PM
But it amazes me how much the poor in health, the broken in body, managed to accomplish before there was such a thing as health care. History is full of such people. Today, not so much.

How dare you? This is possibly the most hateful comment I have ever seen on this site.

As someone with a life-limiting chronic illness who works hard to get through every day, accomplish my goals, and be of service to others--and I know I am not the only person on this site in this situation, and probably nowhere near the person who is in the most challenging health situation--I find this callous beyond belief.

People who are experiencing health challenges need health care. Not getting health care doesn't make them morally stronger, it just makes them dead sooner.

Phaeal
10-07-2011, 10:01 PM
:eek: Who told you my plan?

I mean, it's so obvious. We ALL do it.

Phaeal
10-07-2011, 10:05 PM
How dare you? This is possibly the most hateful comment I have ever seen on this site.

As someone with a life-limiting chronic illness who works hard to get through every day, accomplish my goals, and be of service to others--and I know I am not the only person on this site in this situation, and probably nowhere near the person who is in the most challenging health situation--I find this callous beyond belief.

People who are experiencing health challenges need health care. Not getting health care doesn't make them morally stronger, it just makes them dead sooner.

I, for one, wish that Jane Austen and Beethoven, to mention just two of thousands I could come up with, had had better health care.

Undercover
10-07-2011, 10:07 PM
How dare you? This is possibly the most hateful comment I have ever seen on this site.

As someone with a life-limiting chronic illness who works hard to get through every day, accomplish my goals, and be of service to others--and I know I am not the only person on this site in this situation, and probably nowhere near the person who is in the most challenging health situation--I find this callous beyond belief.

People who are experiencing health challenges need health care. Not getting health care doesn't make them morally stronger, it just makes them dead sooner.


I dunno. That's not how I read James' comment. What I'm thinking he meant was that people back then didn't have that kind of healthcare, that some were still able to accomplish things, which was great. That they still trekked through it all.

But Ice Cream you bring up a good point, that's why people back then died at an earlier age. They didn't have the drugs out there that we have today. I don't think he meant it as mean.

(Like I said, that's how I'm reading it, but I could be wrong)

Ton Lew Lepsnaci
10-07-2011, 10:38 PM
Follow your heart and let your mind do the driving ;)

CaroGirl
10-07-2011, 10:47 PM
Again with all due respect to Mr. Jobs, an eminent person I follow on Twitter had this to say (with which I agree, to a certain extent):

Everyone is lauding Steve Jobs' exhortation to do what you love. But guess what happens to a society in which we all do that?

We become organic patchouli farmers and documentary film makers for the two weeks it takes society to collapse. Then we starve and die.

So let's have a big round of applause for everyone who is NOT doing what he loves. Thanks, people. We need you. Keep not doing it.

As for me, I have a family and a day job and writing falls smack, dab in between those two priorities in my life. I need the job to help the family and my family is everything to me. Everything. I'd give up the job in a heartbeat if I could, but, until then, I have to work around it to get the writing done.

virtue_summer
10-07-2011, 11:29 PM
Again with all due respect to Mr. Jobs, an eminent person I follow on Twitter had this to say (to which I agree, to a certain extent):

Everyone is lauding Steve Jobs' exhortation to do what you love. But guess what happens to a society in which we all do that?

We become organic patchouli farmers and documentary film makers for the two weeks it takes society to collapse. Then we starve and die.

So let's have a big round of applause for everyone who is NOT doing what he loves. Thanks, people. We need you. Keep not doing it.

As for me, I have a family and a day job and writing falls smack, dab in between those two priorities in my life. I need the job to help the family and my family is everything to me. Everything. I'd give up the job in a heartbeat if I could, but, until then, I have to work around it to get the writing done.

I disagree, actually. Not everyone wants to be an artist or something that's considered equally unpractical. Lots of people like working so called regular jobs. And lots of people like having hobbies that are separate from their work. It doesn't mean people shouldn't do what they love, but doing what you love doesn't just apply to your job. It's about your life. That's where I think the disconnect comes. As long as you're doing what you love in your life, that's what matters.

It is best to aim at doing something you enjoy for work as well, though, if it's something you're going to spend a lot of time doing. That's just common sense. I only have so many hours a day and so many days in a lifetime. If I choose to spend the majority of them doing something I dislike, what sense does that make? My mother was a daycare teacher at a center for low income families. Did she make a lot of money? Nope, but I'm glad she did what she did because it made her happy, it made the kids happy, and it made me happy to grow up seeing her happy despite having to worry about money sometimes.

The fact is a lot of people think certain things are what they'd love doing for a living because they're glamorizing them, but would actually end up going back to whatever they're doing now if they actually tried spending their lives pursuing things like acting or being artists in Paris or whatnot. For instance, there are wannabe writers who don't actually love writing but want to be Stephen King. For them being a writer wouldn't be doing what they love at all.

Personally I think when you find what you actually love that is what you should do, whether it's your profession or not. Okay. That was a bit of a ramble. Sorry.

quicklime
10-07-2011, 11:38 PM
Personally I think when you find what you actually love that is what you should do, whether it's your profession or not. Okay. That was a bit of a ramble. Sorry.


depends on the person. I get asked all the time why I am not a chef, brewmaster, or winemaker.

Because I enjoy all three. And as soon as I turn them into work, that will likely stop.


sometimes you do what you can tolerate, because what you love would be less loveable if you had to pull your ass out of bed every day at 6am to do it and you had to do it five days a week.

sometimes you do what you can tolerate because what you love pays about as well as being the creepy guy who sorts aluminum cans out of the trash at the park and drives a pickup apparently held together mostly by determination and baling wire.


If you can love what you do and it pays a living wage and everything else, more power to you and that is unquestionably a good thing. but it doesn't always work that way, and yes, sometimes you do what is practical as a career, and what you love as a sideline.

gothicangel
10-07-2011, 11:40 PM
Again with all due respect to Mr. Jobs, an eminent person I follow on Twitter had this to say (with which I agree, to a certain extent):

Everyone is lauding Steve Jobs' exhortation to do what you love. But guess what happens to a society in which we all do that?

We become organic patchouli farmers and documentary film makers for the two weeks it takes society to collapse. Then we starve and die.

So let's have a big round of applause for everyone who is NOT doing what he loves. Thanks, people. We need you. Keep not doing it.



The thing is, Steve Jobs was Steve Jobs. A creative genius.

If people are going to live by Jobs' motto, are they prepared for the possibility that they are not Steve Jobs, Martin Scorcese or JK Rowling? What if their real life is the one where they aren't rich and famous? What if you never achieve a publishing deal?

Also life is -as they say - in the cracks, our dreams change. This time last year I was trying to be a crime fiction writer, expecting to pursue an academic career in English Literature. Twelve months later I'm writing historical thrillers, I'm taking a second degree in Classical Studies so I can take an MA in the Roman Epic. I would love to be the boss for the Hadrian's Wall Trust, as much as I want my Roman thrillers to be published.

Don't be inflexible to life. Life is what happens when you're not expecting it. :)

blacbird
10-09-2011, 12:29 AM
Christopher McCandless famously adhered with body and soul to Steve Jobs' espoused ideal.

He wound up starving to death in the Alaska wilderness in 1992, alone, trapped, leaving behind a desperate note pleading for rescue.

He also treated his parents and a lot of other people like crap in his egomaniacal narcissistic pursuit of his ideal.

(See Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild for details.)

caw

Filigree
10-09-2011, 04:47 AM
Hence, our plea for the lovers and the dreamers to have a fallback plan. Oh, yeah, and understand their true limitations.

Susan Littlefield
10-09-2011, 06:42 AM
How dare you? This is possibly the most hateful comment I have ever seen on this site.

As someone with a life-limiting chronic illness who works hard to get through every day, accomplish my goals, and be of service to others--and I know I am not the only person on this site in this situation, and probably nowhere near the person who is in the most challenging health situation--I find this callous beyond belief.

People who are experiencing health challenges need health care. Not getting health care doesn't make them morally stronger, it just makes them dead sooner.

I don't think James meant his comment as you took it. I see nowhere where he implied that having or not having health care has to do with moral strength. But, things were very different many years ago.

In the 60's and 70's, I can remember my dad being in poor health due to alcoholism and work accidents and us not having extra money for health care, thus he did not go to the doctor when he should have. Yet, he never called in sick and pushed himself way beyond what he should of. Shoot, even when he had a bleeding ulcer and had to have an operation, he didn't want to go through with it due to having to pay the big bill. When mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer at 42 (died nine months later), they had no health insurance. Yet, anytime us kids or mom had to go to the doctor, he made sure we got there.

I think the thing is that back before people got healthcare benefits from work or bought their own insurance, that people would just "bite the bullet" and make themselves work through the health problems, no matter how severe they are. Not good.

Susan Littlefield
10-09-2011, 06:52 AM
Follow your intuition and your heart and become who you want to become. :)

DancingMaenid
10-09-2011, 08:14 AM
I think when it comes down to it, it's very difficult, if not downright impossible, to have everything. So you have to decide where your priorities lie, and what will make you happy.

I realized a while ago that while writing is one of the most important things to me, that doesn't necessarily mean it's what I should do as a career. In fact, some of what I love about it, like how it's a great reward and stress-reliever for when I'm done studying or working, would sort of be ruined by making it a career. Realizing that helped me realize that I can have different areas of my life that I'm passionate about.

On the other hand, I'm studying engineering, and I find it fascinating. I really do, and I feel like I could be reasonably happy working in that field. But honestly? I don't have a great amount of passion for it. And I know that, probably more than lack of ability (though I'm certainly not a genius, either), will keep me from ever becoming the next Steve Jobs. But I'm at a point now where I'm not sure that's a bad thing, if the trade-off is that I'll be able to devote energy to the things I love.

But I'm also keeping my options open, too. Like others have mentioned, it pays to be flexible in life. Maybe you can't have everything exactly like you want it, but I think you can usually find ways to live out your dreams, regardless.

Susan Littlefield
10-09-2011, 08:23 AM
Maybe you can't have everything exactly like you want it, but I think you can usually find ways to live out your dreams, regardless.

So well said.

mlhernandez
10-09-2011, 08:45 AM
Also, bluntly, America is no place to be poor, with any kind of health problem. You need to be physically healthy. Or have a fair amount of money socked away (I'd say at least 20K), just in case you have a health emergency. Many bankruptcies are initially triggered by high health-care costs, even with insurance.

!

Or even middle class. Our daughter was born in September of 2009 with six undetected heart defects, all of them very severe. She had her first heart surgery at 15 days old and the second at 6 months. We had "good" insurance but we still had nearly $30K of medical bills (high deductible, out of pocket max, uncovered Rx costs, etc) that we had to pay.

Let me tell you. Being middle class and having health problems is almost worse than being poor in some ways. No Medicaid. No CHIP. No WIC to help with food costs. No Rx grants. It was an awful, awful time for us and we're still recovering.

Thankfully we're Dave Ramsey followers and had only one student loan and a mortgage when kiddo was born. We were able to raid my retirement money, the second car fund we'd been piling up and cut back big time on expenses (thank you couponing stockpile of razors and shampoo and soap!). Breastfeeding and cloth diapering brought our baby costs down too.

I wrote like a fiend in hospital waiting rooms and next to the kiddo's isolette. I sold a crap ton of my erotica and erotic romance. DH worked so much overtime we saw him maybe 5 days in a month.

So...anywho. Follow your bliss but be aware there are some big drawbacks to living hand-to-mouth. We live a very comfortable middle class existence but one sick baby nearly put us in the poor house. Only our frugal lifestyle saved our asses. If you don't have savings to fall back on in an emergency, you're really screwed.

Amadan
10-09-2011, 07:44 PM
I don't think James meant his comment as you took it. I see nowhere where he implied that having or not having health care has to do with moral strength. But, things were very different many years ago.

In the 60's and 70's, I can remember my dad being in poor health due to alcoholism and work accidents and us not having extra money for health care, thus he did not go to the doctor when he should have. Yet, he never called in sick and pushed himself way beyond what he should of. Shoot, even when he had a bleeding ulcer and had to have an operation, he didn't want to go through with it due to having to pay the big bill. When mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer at 42 (died nine months later), they had no health insurance. Yet, anytime us kids or mom had to go to the doctor, he made sure we got there.

I think the thing is that back before people got healthcare benefits from work or bought their own insurance, that people would just "bite the bullet" and make themselves work through the health problems, no matter how severe they are. Not good.

Yes, before health care, if you were sick and not wealthy you just bit the bullet and worked until you dropped because there was no other choice. There is a certain smarmy sentiment, expressed by folks like James, that this was a more ennobling and virtuous age.

It's a crap sentiment, this glossing of those marvelous times when there was no social safety net so everyone just worked, darn it, and look at the great works produced by starving artists and people "poor in health" and "broken in body."

Reality: Most of those people just died, still poor, still broken, and completely unremembered. Yes, there were a few exceptions whom we remember because they were exceptions. (Most of them still lived pretty miserable and relatively short lives.)

James's insinuation was that poor, unhealthy people accomplished more back when there was no public assistance than the lazy loafers do now.

Disabled people, sick people, broken people, are not lazier and less accomplished now that they have a slightly better chance of living lives that aren't nasty, brutish, and short. But there are always people working hard to go back to the good old days of poorhouses or ice floes.

Susan Littlefield
10-09-2011, 10:01 PM
Yes, before health care, if you were sick and not wealthy you just bit the bullet and worked until you dropped because there was no other choice. There is a certain smarmy sentiment, expressed by folks like James, that this was a more ennobling and virtuous age.

It's a crap sentiment, this glossing of those marvelous times when there was no social safety net so everyone just worked, darn it, and look at the great works produced by starving artists and people "poor in health" and "broken in body."

Reality: Most of those people just died, still poor, still broken, and completely unremembered. Yes, there were a few exceptions whom we remember because they were exceptions. (Most of them still lived pretty miserable and relatively short lives.)

James's insinuation was that poor, unhealthy people accomplished more back when there was no public assistance than the lazy loafers do now.

Disabled people, sick people, broken people, are not lazier and less accomplished now that they have a slightly better chance of living lives that aren't nasty, brutish, and short. But there are always people working hard to go back to the good old days of poorhouses or ice floes.

Having watched my dad go through the stuff he did without healthcare, and as a young adult being poor with no healthcare at all, I read James' statement in a different way. But, I think we're all getting off track too. :)

Bubastes
10-09-2011, 10:09 PM
Maybe you can't have everything exactly like you want it, but I think you can usually find ways to live out your dreams, regardless.

A thousand times this.

Susan Littlefield
10-09-2011, 10:14 PM
Don't be inflexible to life. Life is what happens when you're not expecting it. :)

So very true. And, often we think the grass is so much greener on the other side when it is not. :)