I really enjoyed Professor Jinsuk Byun(BYUN)’s editorial in the Sookmyung Times. I’d like to add a few of my own thoughts to it.
When I’ve talked with my SMU friends about their plans, hopes, and dreams for the future, I’ve been most impressed by what I have NOT heard: I’ve never heard a Sookmyungian say that her 1st priority was to get rich, and I’ve never heard a Sookmyungian say that if she fell in love with the right person and got married, that would be the end of her worries.
I think this is great.
Now, please don’t get me wrong: I think both money and romance are great, and I hope you find both! But I think neither one can be the basis for a satisfying and rewarding life. That must come from inside.
If you’re persistent and lucky, it will come, as Professor Byun says, from finding a vocation or avocation that you love. And in my experience, I think you will be more likely to find such an activity if you keep your eyes and attention on activities in which you are always learning new things. There is nothing like a job or pastime with a regular supply of interesting new challenges to keep you excited about getting up in the morning!
And let’s follow that last idea. Suppose you find yourself wealthy when you graduate from SMU. Maybe you’ll win the lottery, or discover that you’re the long-lost niece of Mr. Hyundai. What will you do?
I’m sure you’ll spend some time celebrating with your friends, as well as doing some shopping and taking some trips. (We’re waiting for you in DC!) But sooner or later, even if the checks keep coming every month, the celebrations will be over. And then you face the same problem that your friends face who did not become wealthy: what to do with your 16 or 18 waking hours each day.
Or maybe you’ll fall in love, marry, and have children. That’s a more realistic goal than winning the lottery! But children grow up. The older they get, the less they need Mommy every hour of every day. And then you’re looking at empty days stretching out in front of you — unless you’ve found this activity that you love. The great American novelist William Faulkner had an interesting perspective on this. He wrote: “It’s a shame that the only thing a man can do for eight hours a day is work. He can’t eat for eight hours; he can’t drink for eight hours; he can’t make love for eight hours. The only thing a man can do for eight hours is work.”
It may be a shame in one perspective, but I think it’s also a blessing. Because it’s another good reason to find something that you love, something that is always teaching you new things and presenting new challenges, to do every day. You have to do something, so make it something great!