Bubbles.

“We all need someone to burst the bubbles we all live in”
 
This quote was from an assignment for the friend I have known the longest, Betsy Peterschmidt. It was a caption from one of her watercolor paintings, my personal favorite of all her stunning pieces of work. She is not only an artist, but a real visionary, who can depict qualities about someone or something that normal people don’t even realize exist until they see her art. A huge reason why I relate to this painting of hers is not only does the art itself speak to me in huge volumes, so does the caption that inspired it.

 

What does it mean to live in a bubble?

Certainly, it’s not as cool as it would be to ACTUALLY live in a floating, soapy orb, just sailing above the rest of the world. Living in a bubble is much more serious and problematic. Bubbles are what close us off to uncomfortable realities. Bubbles are what shelter us from the unknowns outside that may assail us. Bubbles are what keep us in an ordered path, and prevent us from questioning why we are always flowing in one direction, a direction that is almost always predetermined for us.  They also keep us from having those difficult conversations with people, for fear of hurting them or revealing too much about ourselves.

Lately, I have struggled with a bubble that society placed me into long before I could even recognize what was happening. Go to school. Get good grades, get into a good college and find a 9-5 job that pays well. Go to grad school if needed. Maybe medical school? It’s the only way to “truly” help people, after all.
While complaining about these stages of life has become extremely common and cliche, there is some merit in discussing what is important in life and what sorts of paths can lead to meaning. In my confusing journey to discover what I want to achieve in my life and what is important to me, it has come to my attention that I need to acknowledge the people who have been in my life to pop the bubble that I live in, allowing me to see beyond its walls.

I am very fortunate to have many people in my life who “pop” my bubbles and keep me from falling into an unhappy dynamic of going through the motions. In this post I just want to mention a few who have been especially influential and helpful over the years.

My good friend John Madison is always puncturing the orb of mainstream college life for me. He constantly reminds me that not wanting to get a real job right after college is more than just okay. We share a love of travel, and both have come to the understanding that an unrelenting travel bug is extremely incompatible with a 9-5 job. This is why I’m not planning on getting one anytime soon. I love the freedom that being in the service industry gives me. To take two weeks off work, I just need to find someone to cover a few shifts, which is typically no problem whatsoever. I don’t have to submit a time off request or be on good terms with my boss. I just get my ass covered and I go. This is why I believe people my age and others who are just emerging from college should think twice before jumping into a serious career. It will tether you down for a good chunk of your life, putting a halt to all travel and adventure outside of a few weeks of the year that you’re given off.

Betsy, the brilliant artist of the painting in this article, is also a huge inspiration to me. She was accepted to various art schools after high school, and was conflicted between choosing Pratt University in New York City or Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. Milwaukee wanted her and she would have gone there for a considerably smaller sum of money than New York, but she knew that Milwaukee was not going to help her artistic talents develop to their full potential. She took a risk and went to New York City, a huge leap for a girl from a safe suburb in Minnesota. Not only has she been extremely successful in her studies, but also in her career, as she is already being offered paid positions, which is huge for young artists.

Art by Betsy

Finally, I really have to be thankful for my parents, who support me in every life decision that I make. They are truly different from many parents of the area that I come from, they don’t demand that I achieve anything outside of what I truly want to do. They are fully supportive of my interest in staying in the service industry for a few years after earning both my bachelors of science in biology and bachelors of arts in Spanish Studies. I feel like this is pretty rare, and I am extremely grateful that I have them.

Money is wasted on the old but youth is wasted on the young. Don’t give up your youth just because you are afraid to pop your own bubble and step into unfamiliar territory.

 

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