Monday, September 7, 2015

When the Post Office isn't enough

It seems everybody had to start somewhere.

Albert Einstein worked in the Swiss patent office.

Nathaniel Hawthorne worked at the Boston Custom's house.

William Faulkner worked at the post office.

After Faulkner dropped out of college, where he earned a D in English, he became a postmaster which he found "tedious, boring and uninspiring," according to Open Culture.

After all a Nobel laureate can only take so much. So, when enough was enough he sent the following to his superiors:
As long as I live under the capitalistic system, I expect to have my life influenced by the demands of moneyed people. But I will be damned if I propose to be at the beck and call of every itinerant scoundrel who has two cents to invest in a postage stamp. 
This, sir, is my resignation.
Hmmm . . . a bit of caustic, self-aggrandizement? Faulkner was known to embellish a bit. Like all of us it is the sum of our experience that takes us where we will end up . . . and very few end up where they plan.

What kinds of experiences do you think add to the life well-lived? What kind of experiences are you looking forward to? What college classes besides your major classes, do you think will contribute to your quality of life?


  1. Experiences add value to your life when you move beyond your comfort zone and try something new. While following the road most traveled may provide a false sense of safety, we can never truly protect ourselves from harm. If we never truly give, or try to learn something new, or allow ourselves to experience the present moment without an internal monologue destroying our sense of peace, then we never truly experience the joy that life has to offer.

    I am looking forward to traveling new places and connecting with many different types of people.

    Outside of my major classes, I think philosophy and history have contributed to my understanding of people. Both of these classes will contribute to my every day life by reminding me to keep an open mind. ~"I'd rather have a mind opened by wonder than closed by belief."

  2. To live a life well-lived, I think about the phrase, “when’s the last time you did something for the first time?” this to me means that if you have been having a boring life not doing anything, then you are not living. Experiences to add to a life well-lived should be traveling out of the country you have been, have different jobs, go to a concert, and face your fears.

    The experiences I am looking forward to be traveling to Europe, graduating college, find a hobby, and learn how to cook, have a family, and jump off of a plane.

    My major is human development and includes a lot of classes that revolve psychology and critical thinking, but other classes I believe I should take that can benefit my life would be finance and I have also seen that at my campus they have CPR classes. These can benefit me in my life because money management will be important and being CPR certified is a good accomplishment and can be helpful.

  3. It's good to try some new things, if this way is not work for you. Just go try some other new things. I still remember last year when I took the general studies course, my instructor told me that you can't just focus one thing forever. When people live in this world, everyday is challenge. everyday when we wake up in the morning that is the "challenge" because you need to leave alone form you bed. :) But anyway, if you like to do it. Then just do it.

  4. To me, a life well lived is one where you can look back at it and say that you are happy with your choices and you don't have many regrets. It's a life where you live it for your and you only to better yourself and better your future. A life well lived is one where you focus on school and work but still make time to relax or to have fun with friends and family.
    I'm looking forward to graduating college and seeing what job I get, because right now I am very unsure of what I want to do, I can't wait until I know what I want in life.
    Sign Language, to me, will contribute to living a quality life because It's something not all hearing people know and to be able to communicate with someone who is deaf or have friends in the deaf communicate would be a new experience for me and I would really like be more for culturally aware of the deaf community.

  5. I think the type of experiences that add to a life well-lived are the experiences you took a risk for the things you concurred your fears to do, those are the ones that add to a life well-lived because you did not allow your fears to hold you back in life. I am looking forward to experiences that I fear like skydiving, bungee jumping and other things similar to those because they make me challenge my fears and not allowing my fears to control my life.

  6. Having a career is what we strive for as a student, but eventually we are going to need a break from our everyday lives. What adds to a life well lived is traveling to other parts of the world. Gaining the experience of other cultures allows a person to be opened minded and forget about their troubles back at home and live in the moment. When I get enough money to travel one of the destinations I am going to go to is Italy with my dad. This has always been my dad’s dream and after many years of hard work and planning out money to make sure bills are paid he definitely needs a vacation after all the stress he has been under. My major is business, but the classes I really enjoy are history. From US history to mythology, I take pleasure in learning from the past and how it has shaped the world we live in today. History contributes to our everyday life, because we can learn from the past to make today better.

  7. That phrase!. To me sounds like a person who knows exactly what he wants. A person that knows that they are for something way better than what is actually holding them from moving on.
    I believe that everyone gets to a point where being at work for too long becomes too boring. Its fine work stress hit us all at one point maybe not the ones who say they really love their job. everybody wants the perfect job, of getting well paid for a few amount of worked. Lets face it working 8 hours in a place where one just pays the bills has nobody, living a healthy life. there are many ways to make money, one just need to look for those opportunities. Standing on Faulkner's shoes I could assure that he did took the best decision.

  8. I think travel is very important to a well-lived life. Aside from the well-worn cliche of "broadening your horizons," it also gives you insight into other ways of living apart from the ones you're familiar with.

    I'm looking forward to just having more opportunities to read. After I received my A.A. degree, I worked for about a decade in the city. I never had enough time to read anything so I'm looking forward to actually being to justify reading Shakespeare, for example.

    Besides my English classes, I'm looking forward to possibly taking Recreation classes to fulfill some of my upper-level G.E. requirements. I'm hoping these classes won't be as labor-intensive as my major classes and may even be fun.

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  10. I believe that the type of experiences that add to a person’s well lived life is when they are able to say that they have been able to travel all around the world. Who wouldn't like to travel all around the world and meet amazing people along the way plus see amazing sights that you’ve never seen before? I also believe that knowing people who are positive insights in your life also add up to a well-lived life. You can’t hang out with people who always have a negative mindset to life because then that will bring you down. The experiences that I’m looking forward to is being able to work in the criminal justice field. I’m also looking forward to experiencing new places with people I love and just being able to learn about different cultures. I believe that all the college courses that I’m taking will add to the quality of my life because all teach me something new that will add to my education.

  11. Personally to live a well lived life are the hands on experiences, a person does not need to travel the world to gain knowledge. Everything can be lesson can be duplicated sure it might not be the same for example to climb Mt. Everest is not the same as just reading someones journey, but the mind is powerful and you can do so much with it. Some experiences that I am looking forward to is to finally doing what I am scared to do because I am limiting myself from doing/ experiencing so many things because the fear of failing is holding me back. I believe philosophy will contribute to my quality in life because it will makes me view things differently so I won't be close minded.

  12. In my opinion, to live a well lived life is to set dreams and goals and accomplish every single one of them. Is to be able to work for what you want and get that feeling of accomplishment and be happy. Most importantly I feel a person should be able to be happy and cherish everything they have, even the smallest things in life could have so much meaning. Everything can be a lesson, in fact, a person should be able to gain knowledge by living their ordinary life either at school,work, friendships, relationships and so on. I look forward to learning more things and it makes me excited to do so. Like for instance, getting a career and a degree that I love, built friendships that will only grow, have a family someday, travel to new places and there are so many other things. Aside from my major classes, I would say that the classes that benefited me were Finance and Hospitality because it made me understand how to manage my money and apply it to my future, that is when I buy a home or Im paying a mortgage. Hospitality was interesting because it was fun, it was something I looked forward to and learned about different places around me. It is true, once in a while a person should set out and explore and have a mini getaway to relax for a while.

  13. Everyone has to start somewhere. I'm sure even Obama's first job was cleaning tables at a restaurant or something similar. No matter how confident you are, you never know 100% where life will take you. Getting jobs while you're young is what makes you can life knowledge even if it means learning something as simple as folding clothes at a retail store. Or something bigger like learning how to work with people. I currently work at a retail store and those are the kinds of experiences I'm hoping will help me in the long run. Classes that have less to do with writing an more to do with thinking are the classes that will help people have a better quality of life.

  14. Faulker's resignation note put a smug smile on my face. His embellishment may be what gives his writing truth. Tim O'Brien, who wrote "The Things They Carried", opens his book by qualifying that all the events that will unfold are true, even if they didn't happen. So when we talk about a life well-lived, I think that it quite possibly could be the fabrication between the lines that makes it worthwhile. Our bodies go through daily events, but it is the social construction of meaning in those events that gives them their value - or lack of value. Considering that meaning is subjective, one cannot objectively call it truth. But to test subjective value, try to tell someone that their meaning isn't true -- they will most likely not welcome it. Our experiences alone do not create satisfaction and happiness in life, but rather the way that we frame them. Faulkner's success as a writer and Nobel laureate probably doesn't mean anything to a tribe of hunter-gatherers in the Amazon, or a Sherpa in Nepal. But here in America, he is known as one of the most successful writers in his time, and that means something.
    Another place I think Faulkner got it right was his refusal to allow someone else to define that satisfaction for him, because the man probably would have loooved it if he died a working class hero of the United States Post Office.
    Personally, I look forward to change. I think that change, whether it feels positive or negative in the moment, is a necessity for self-growth. Most of all, I look forward to traveling. Living in one town my whole life has been anti-climactic to say the least. It might mean forsaking comfort and present contentment to achieve a deeper level of overall life satisfaction.
    As for classes, I think they all contribute to well-being as they all provide a different perspective of information as given by the person who teaches it, even if you don't agree. I have a history professor who said that your worst subjects are your best subjects, meaning that the classes and topics that feel the most ridiculously boring still enrich you in some way or another. And that any type of challenge succeeded will result in growth.

  15. I believe that experiences are a big role in my life. I learn a lot of things through experiencing new things. Back in my home country, elderly love to say that we need to encounter hard time to learn new things. Therefore, I need to treasure my past as it creates “the version of me right now.” Looking back to eighteen years of my life, I have never forget each difficulty that I went through. Maybe for some people, my experiences are not as wonderful or bad as theirs, but I love them and never hoped to turn back time just to redo or delete those memories. In the future, I hope I could conquer my fear, which is fear of ocean, and do extreme activity such as surfing, bungee jumping, and skydiving. In my last semester, I took ceramic art class and enjoyed it a lot. I learned to love and accept imperfection because nothing is a hundred percent perfect, not even my life.