Can money buy happiness?
Published: Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 19:11
When asked the ever so frightening question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” my response was the same from kindergarten until high school: lawyer.
Television talk show host: my response to that same question, from high school to last week.
Even before kindergarten, children are asked what they want to be when they grow up; most respond with jobs like “ballerina” or “astronaut.” When I was five years old, my typical Jewish mother engraved the thought of becoming a lawyer into my head.
Did I know what a lawyer was? Probably not. What I did know was that “lawyer” was the appropriate response when anybody asked me about my future, because entering the field of law means money in the bank. And money in the bank – of course – means happiness.
It was when I got to high school I had the epiphany: money cannot buy happiness. I have never taken a law class so why on earth am I assuming law school is for me?
I love to entertain. I love to write, I love to make uncomfortable jokes, I love people and finding out their stories and I loveattention. Aside from my spontaneous forehead breakouts and the glare from my four-eyed glasses: this face belongs on television.
So for all four years of high school and for my first two years at UB, I was thoroughly convinced the day after college graduation I was moving to L.A. I was mentally preparing to become a starving, struggling waitress and work in the mail room of a company like E! Entertainment until some agent discovered me and agreed there’s no one as qualified as me to be the new Oprah Winfrey or Chelsea Handler.
Problem: I need money to even book a flight to L.A. and do what makes me happy. So now my epiphany is challenged: can money buy happiness?
A week ago, my crazy Jewish mother took me back to kindergarten days and used her screwdriver mechanism to re-drill the thought into my brain: “you are going to be a lawyer. I cannot afford to support you moving to L.A. and let you be jobless.”
According to a survey done at the Kenexa World Conference, hosted by salary.com, only 16 percent of adults are currently living out the dreams they conjured up when they were younger.
People grew up and decided their dreams were unrealistic. Going to med school cost too much money; some fell in love, got married and had no time to go after their dreams while raising a family, or others were simply too scared to stray from the convenient path.
Parents often tell their children to follow their dreams. When we actually attempt to make our own decisions, though, they step in and tell us those decisions are simply not good enough.
There are approximately 30,000 undergraduate goals and dreams lurking around campus. How many of the 30,000 undergrads will be a part of the 16 percent and have what it takes to strive for their true passions? How many will take the easy path – the one that guarantees more money, a stable income and the ability to easily get married and raise a family?
There’s the dream and then there’s reality. If you’re lucky, the two are essentially the same. If you’re not, then let the decision-making process begin.
At this exact moment in time, I have no clue as to what exactly my life’s blueprint looks like and I’m sure most of you don’t either. My mother truly believes that becoming a lawyer and making a lot of money will bring me happiness.
I believe she’s crazy.
I would love more than anything to be on television and share my enthusiasm with the world. I also started taking law classes last year, and I am growing to love that field of study. I will begin to study for the LSATS this year.
Am I caving in and following my mother’s dream instead of my own? Will I regret it if I don’t chase my television host infatuation? Will I graduate and book a spur of the moment ticket to L.A. to follow the road my heart is ever so requesting me to follow?
Life is scary, but I have faith I’ll figure it out and so will you.
Email me your aspirations and whether or not you’re choosing to follow them. I’d love to hear about your #DeepThoughts.