Of Vocations, Avocations and Golden Years

In a train of thought that seems to keep chugging along, I have a few more observations to go with my recent four posts which were sort of about finding one’s niche in life. You may recall that it all began with a post about Cuppa using a paper cup to retain water in the sink. From there we progressed or regressed (take your pick) to discussing attitude vs. aptitude. I then used first Althegal and then Thesha as examples — more or less. I add “more or less” because I’m not totally sure what I’m talking about. It’s not as though I began with a thesis to nail to the door; it’s all just jumbled musings piled upon musings.

If you know what I was trying to say, feel free to share. 🙂

I thought I was done with the topic and that I could get back to important blogging such as posting photos of the grandkids, but alas …

It strikes me that at a youthful age as one begins the journey through the working portion of life — i.e. finding gainful employ so one can keep body and soul together — it is exceedingly desirable to follow a path that more or less suits both one’s talents and one’s interests. Presumably, you’re going to spend decades of your life in your job or jobs, so you really want to find a vocation that you both like to do and are good at doing.

I see it as a continuum. At one end, the good end, you find a vocation that aligns with both senses of the word, vocation; it’s a job but also a calling. It’s especially wonderful if your vocation includes your avocation, and it’s a bonus if it makes you rich.


At the other end of the continuum, some poor souls get stuck in menial, monotonous, low-wage jobs that they dread. I suppose it can get even worse, such as not being able to find employment of any kind and becoming one of the truly poor.

Of course, most of us find ourselves at neither end of the continuum, but if we’re lucky we’re at least closer to the desirable end — to the right on my masterful graphic, above. Hopefully, we’ll like our jobs well enough and they’ll pay a decent wage. If they also provide us with enough time and money to purse a few outside interests — i.e. hobbies/avocations — then we should be relatively content with life.

Along this theme, there’s one really nice thing about advancing in age; most of us seem be able to find a reasonable amount time to follow pursuits that interest us (avocations) without the pressure to be good at them. For example: in this past decade or so, I have been able to try my hand at photography, web design, gardening, fiddling and writing, not to mention reading. I am not particularly good at any of these avocations, particularly fiddling, but I have enjoyed dabbling in all of them, especially fiddling. I move on from some — web design, for example — but manage to find sense of satisfaction in each interest at the time.

I guess I am offering this as a sort of thanks to the universe for allowing me to find a vocation that put me towards the right (right, in both senses) of the continuum. Like most, I don’t suppose I was on the extreme right, but I was content enough to be where I was. More recently, I have been fortunate enough to be able to retire at a young enough age and healthy enough to enjoy following several interests, without feeling the pressure of needing to be good at them.

If you’re not yet at a more senior age, for most there is much to look forward to. You really don’t have to have to live your whole life when you’re young. If you have a long bucket list (which I hope is fluid), you can take some pressure of yourselves and leave some items for your later years. That’s why they call them Golden.

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10 Responses to Of Vocations, Avocations and Golden Years

  1. Well, I’m certainly tired of working! I could use a good retirement…Hahaaa….I have buckets Full of things I want to do but they look to be SO far away as I sit pondering and rattling the chains that hold me to this desk!
    I envy you….Enjoy!

  2. Regenia says:

    I’ve always felt so badly for people who must do a job they very much dislike. I’ve been fortunate enough to, for the most part, look forward to work each day. I’ve enjoyed not only the work itself, but also the vast majority of the people with whom I’ve worked over the years. I’ve not been bored. And I’ve felt like lots of time I did accomplish something. Not a bad thing, is it?

  3. Lorna says:

    And your contentment shows. I still can’t get over how lucky I am. Tell Cuppa I’m making her a scarf pin as soon as I get enough sparkly things together—a mini avocation.

  4. QMM says:

    I agree with everything you said, I think. BTW I lost all my followers list. Would you come back and reinlist?

  5. Hilary says:

    So true. I’m thrilled to see both of my boys on the far right of your illustrated continuum. They couldn’t be more different from one another but they both share the passion for what they each do. As a mom, I couldn’t be happier for them.

  6. Ginnie says:

    As I read your words I couldn’t help but relate it to my oldest son. He’s an Architect, is exceedingly talented, has a Master’s Degree and is out of work !! The advent of the Cadd system on the Internet has made paying the big architectural firms a bygone luxury so the group he was working for and so many others have closed down. Now he is trying to get his own drafting business off the ground …it’s what he loves to do and he’s very good at it but that doesn’t always equate with making a living ! It’s all very discouraging.

  7. Beatrice says:

    AC, I was fortunate in my working career to have worked at various, some followed my schooling, i.e. reporting and photography. Others came about because of a need to advance, find steadier work, relocation, etc. Now happily I am retired and dabble in so many things that I am always amazed at how much time work took up!

  8. Linda Fraser says:

    When I volunteer at school, people always ask me if I want to supply teach and I say no. I am retired, I have things I want to do in my life. Getting phone calls at six in the morning to go running off to schools all over Toronto is not one of them. Yes, I would have more money but no, the stress is not worth it. I am happy and managing on what I’ve got. My body needs a “resting/healing/enjoying life” time now and AC, your theory is a perfect fit for me! Thank you for sharing. =D

  9. Jinksy says:

    I think I see where your meanderings lead you. It doesn’t matter where we start, as long as we use the gifts we’re born with it all works out in the end. Many problems stem from parents who try to force children down paths they wish they’d taken themselves. It doesn”t work. Freedom of choice for offspring is a must.
    As for sink thingies – necessity was ever the mother of invention! 🙂

  10. Grenville T Boyd says:

    Thoughts after following the whole thread!!!
    First of firsts, i must compliment you on your writing style. Not everyone is able to sucessfully mix musings, humor, philosophics, satire, and world view. A well turned fragmented sentence is a prose to behold. On this i congratulate you (with some envy).
    On the philosophic side (just having finished listening to that great American philosopher Garrison Keillor i feel up to this), i think as parents we all want ‘better for our children’, what ever that means. We hope that the kids will land on the ‘right’ side of your masterful graphic, but as long as they are able to take care of themselves, are happy, and maybe even find love, then we have done our jobs as parents, guides, mentors (if not we either change the locks or move out in the middle of the night).
    Next: Handymanerisms are not all they are cracked up to be. Sometimes being dangerous with a screwdriver and not fully comprehending the operation of a hammer has saved many a person from serious bodily injuries. AND has let these persons persue their other talents. Personally i have always lacked the Sportliness gene. Yet i know jocks who would rather pee on a sparkplug than run into a burning building. Something i did, and enjoyed, for 27 years.
    I guess what i am getting at (if there is something to get at) is that we should all revel in our apptitudes with a positive attitude. And hopefully those apptitudes have enabled us to live comfortable and dabble in things we have thought about trying, but not making them a ‘lifetime committment’. Dabbling is a good thing. Sort of like just sticking your toe in the water and not diving in head first. If we are good at it, great. If we are an abysmal failure (banjo was mine), who cares. Just move on the the next whimsy.
    Final thoughts on drains and other plumbing mysteries. Murphy rules in this area. If you fix one problem another, much worse, will develop. So cash in some stock and call a plumber, or marvel at Cuppa’s solution and live happily after after.

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