What is your idea of a good quality of life? I ponder on this important question that teachers should start asking students in middle school. When we were younger, we all wanted to be millionaires and live in fancy lofts, eat at fancy restaurants and drive nice cars. We got older and learned that there’s a million ways to make a million dollars, fancy lofts are expensive and fancy restaurants aren’t that dope most of the time. (Nice cars are still cool.) From my personal observation, everything that we allow into our lives in our 20s and early 30s—from our careers, to what we consume for entertainment and nourishment, to where we choose to live (for the most part), how we dress—all that is based on whether we have started to address that question or not.
Before I left college, I was pursuing a career in journalism, and a teacher I really respect told me that I was wasting my time because print was dying and everything was moving online. I took his words seriously and told myself I needed to find something else to do. I realize now that before I was 21, I started addressing the quality of life question and my answer was broken into four parts: I want to say what’s in my head, I don’t like where I live, I don’t want to be broke and I want to help my parents someday.
When I ended up in Macon in 2008, I was in search of who I was at the moment, what I could do, what I couldn’t do, how I could make something of my career path and so on. Over time, living in Macon didn’t seem to reflect who I was, nor who the people that were heavily involved in the community were. And the question arose again. Bluntly, I was saying what was in my head, but I was still broke (REALLY broke) and didn’t like where I lived, but I had been able to help my parents a bit, so I was 2/4.
I moved to Akron this year with more of a sense of who I am and what I can do, and the only thing I’m trying to prove to myself is that I can keep taking my career higher. As I look around and listen to my peers and acquaintances, I ask them about their preferred quality of life and I hear about magical neighborhoods with no crime ever and impeccable architecture where you can shop all day and eat ethnic food at 4 am. Not only are these things COMPLETELY unrealistic half the time, when parts of them do exist, it’s in major cities, where somehow because the population is larger, it translates to life being better. Happiness and culture can be sold to you as a good quality of life if you can’t define it on your own. (Craft beer, healthy eating, loft living, beards, reality TV, etc)
The next time you get a chance, ask yourself what’s your idea of a good quality of life, and you may find that you’re already where you would like to be.
(About the photo: Floco Torres live at Thursday’s Lounge for the release of his new EP “again.” Photo by LSquaredPhotos)