“Some Thoughts on the Real World….” Bill Watterson’s Kenyon Commencement Speech

People often ask about our unusual lifestyle….owning a fish farm but also tinkering in other endeavors like aquaponics, permaculture, and hosting guests from all over the world.  We have never defined our outlook on life and career, but this speech from Bill Watterson comes close. Below are excerpts from his speech….

Bill Watterson
Kenyon College Commencement
May 20, 1990

You will find your own ethical dilemmas in all parts of your lives, both personal and professional. We all have different desires and needs, but if we don’t discover what we want from ourselves and what we stand for, we will live passively and unfulfilled. Sooner or later, we are all asked to compromise ourselves and the things we care about. We define ourselves by our actions. With each decision, we tell ourselves and the world who we are. Think about what you want out of this life, and recognize that there are many kinds of success.

Having an enviable career is one thing, and being a happy person is another.

Creating a life that reflects your values and satisfies your soul is a rare achievement. In a culture that relentlessly promotes avarice and excess as the good life, a person happy doing his own work is usually considered an eccentric, if not a subversive. Ambition is only understood if it’s to rise to the top of some imaginary ladder of success. Someone who takes an undemanding job because it affords him the time to pursue other interests and activities is considered a flake. A person who abandons a career in order to stay home and raise children is considered not to be living up to his potential-as if a job title and salary are the sole measure of human worth.

You’ll be told in a hundred ways, some subtle and some not, to keep climbing, and never be satisfied with where you are, who you are, and what you’re doing. There are a million ways to sell yourself out.

To invent your own life’s meaning is not easy, but it’s still allowed, and I think you’ll be happier for the trouble.

© Universal Press Syndicate

© Universal Press Syndicate



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