I became convinced years ago that the purpose of life is not to find ultimate fulfillment in one’s job. I believe this to be true even for those who have found the “ideal” job. Regardless, I do have a job (thank God) which takes up a great deal of my time. I am also in school, going after a Masters degree, and I have a family (thank God even more), all of which are “full time” in one way or another. But I am a lover of art as well, not least of which includes cinema. Like many others in similar situations, I ask myself where can art fit into my life so that I get what I need without placing a burden on my relationships, or jeopardizing the rest of my life, or feeling guilty that I am catering to frivolous things.
I don’t have a clear answer and I don’t know if there is one. But I think I can boil it down to some essentials:
- Art is inherently good (self-justifying) and deserves a place in one’s life.
- Life is not about work, but it is also not about art.
- Life is about loving others and seeking wisdom. How that plays out in one’s life is unique to each person.
- Time management is not a bad thing.
- Being content (“sophrosune”) is a good thing to strive after.
- There are too many films to watch and too many books to read in one’s lifetime, and there are more arriving every day. So pace yourself, set appropriate expectations, and take a deep breath.
- People are more important than works of art.
- It’s really a question of life, so you have to figure it out for yourself.
And at the end of my work day, I go home (or to school and then home) and reconnect with my family. Then I try to get things done that need to be done, and I look over at that stack of movies and hope I might fit them in to my life. Invariably I return some films without watching them, only to check them out again (I get most of them from the library) and once again try to fit them in.
So, I make my way through each day, each week, each year, seeking a fuller life. I try to be smarter, wiser, more loving, and more reliable. And, of course, I try to get more art into my life. In short, I am like anyone else, muddling through in my own selfish way trying to be less selfish. I wish you all better success than I.