Do the Right Thing? Or Do the Write Thing?

Friday, December 11, 2009

I find myself at one of those crossroads again.

This is not one of the great age-related milestones. Nor is it even all that large in scale in terms of Big Life Decisions. But it does reflect what I’ve discovered has been a recurring theme in my life.

Pretty much everyone is familiar with these lines from Robert Frost:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference

It’s so often easier, particularly in these confused and perilous economic times, to make the “safe” choice. You know the one: the one that ensures that the mortgage keeps getting paid. (I do wonder these days—a lot—just how “safe” that choice really is.)

Yes, it can be argued that it’s possible to do both, pay the bills and feed the muse. But there is the reality that there are only so many waking hours in the day, hours that get eaten up by working, commuting, choring, and so on.

What brings this all on you might ask?

I just finished completing an online course in Flash animation. It’s something I also wanted to learn, but never took the time because it really wasn’t all that pertinent to my job and there were always other things to be done. (If you’re at all curious, here is one of my class projects. It was the one I had the most fun with!)

Having done that, I am seriously considering enrolling in the Advanced course. Then, that annoying little voice spoke up and reminded me that I really should complete my PMI enrollment and take the PMP exam so I can be a certified Project Management Professional. <cue appropriate impressive-sounding bass tones here> (Yes, that is probably every bit as boring as it sounds, but could be potentially useful in any future job search.) I could so both, but that’s a whole lot of work on top of a full-time job.

The point of this was not to whine or otherwise bemoan taking on a potentially heavy workload. I know that there are plenty of others who have done—and are doing—far more just to survive. It was just that even giving voice to that possible decision re-raised the long-standing issue for me.

Which will I choose? I don’t know yet. Maybe one. Maybe both. Maybe neither.