Jimbob's Journal
by Jim Harris

Love or worldly success - If you could choose just one, which would it be? Would you rather live on a tropical island with your beloved partner, or be a respected practitioner in your chosen field of endeavor?
When I was twenty, I would have chosen love, no contest, game over. As I often do when I'm not sure how to feel or behave in a certain situation, I looked to my friends in the animal kingdom for guidance. I saw happy penguin couples building nests of pebbles. That looked good to me, a simple existence in the safe, loving company of my mate.

Now quite a bit older, and I realize that there are a few factors that I did not take into consideration; 1) Penguins only live 15 years. 2)They don't have many career options. Another factor I could not have foreseen is the dizzying increase in the pace and complexity of human life. Everyone works outside the home now, and there are more specialized niches to be filled than ever before. There is no doubt that a successful career is a source of self-worth and well-being that rivals love as a basic human need. It does, however, put added stress on personal relationships. One need only watch a few "Oprah" shows to see what a high-maintenance corporation modern marriage has become.

It seems that everyone today has their own master plan or vision of success. In my opinion, anyone who joins the chorus line dreams of being the star, and dreams can be demanding taskmasters. There's not a lot of time for a busy professional to work "Doctor Love's 27 Steps to Marital Bliss".
I know of many couples who have busy careers and are also very much in love, but it's not the kind of love that I dreamt about 30 years ago. Back then, John Lennon told a generation, "All You Need is Love". Of course, he had already accumulated several tons of fame and fortune. Perhaps it was just a case of the grass always being greener. That leads me to wonder if the two prizes at either end of the rainbow can only be had in inversely proportional amounts. Perhaps the drive to possess one is fueled by an underabundance of the other.
After all, aren't most overachievers solitary souls, incapable of close personal relationships (Van Gogh, Howard Hughes), while the great lovers are usually effete aristocrats with no unique creative abilities (Romeo, Edward VIII)? Methinks I may be descending into cynicism and sarcasm here. Not what I intended to do, but the depth of my quandary vexes me. When Mr. Lennon made his aforementioned pronouncement to the world, it was a time of universal hostility and dissension. In such a time, love was the best protest, and I truly believed that it was indeed the answer. I feel that to give up that ideal now would be to abandon the very thing my generation stood.for
My encyclopedia says that humans live for 75 years. A person can learn and a lot and create an impressive body of work in that time. There comes a point, however, when it's time to rest on that massive pile of pebbles, and when I do, I want my loved ones to be there.

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