Sometimes, you just need a reminder…

Some wise words from the creator of Calvin and Hobbes. Full text here.

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, and I guarantee you’ll hear about them.

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.



21 comments on “Sometimes, you just need a reminder…

  1. Jenn McG
    March 25, 2011 at 6:23 am #

    I think I need to print this out and hang it up by my desk. Love it.

    • kindofamess
      March 25, 2011 at 3:33 pm #

      I have it printed out and sitting at my desk! I try to make an effort to read it through once a week, just to make sure that I think about it and GET it and it’s not just part of my environment.

  2. Christy
    March 25, 2011 at 8:34 am #

    I Calvin & Hobbes & totally love this post/quote from the creator! thanks for sharing!! So inspirational. 🙂

  3. Nina
    March 25, 2011 at 9:06 am #

    I second that Jenn – I need to be reminded of this regularly. Thanks.

  4. ElfPuddle
    March 25, 2011 at 9:21 am #


    I needed this today!

  5. Elizabeth
    March 25, 2011 at 9:54 am #

    Thank you so much for sharing this! I think I’ll include this in my fiance’s twin sisters’ graduation cards (boy that was a “mouthful”)!

  6. Kristy
    March 25, 2011 at 10:49 am #

    I’m with Jenn. Maybe I’ll frame it and hang it in my office. I needed this today. 🙂

  7. Ms. Bunny
    March 25, 2011 at 11:48 am #

    I also needed to read this today. Thank you for posting such wise words.

    • kindofamess
      March 25, 2011 at 3:34 pm #

      Bill Watterson is just kind of an awesome dude all around. I’d love to have coffee with him…

      • sara
        March 28, 2011 at 11:18 am #

        completely agree! The way so many philosophical and life-musings were overlaid with the two in the wagon careening down a neighborhood wooded area is genius. Yes to either coffee with the man, or maybe fishing from a boat on a lake 🙂

  8. craftosaurus
    March 26, 2011 at 11:30 am #

    Yeah. I’m totally re-reading this Sunday night. Possibly also on Monday morning. 🙂

  9. Morgan
    March 26, 2011 at 2:43 pm #

    My husband and I talk about this ALL.THE.TIME.

  10. Heather G
    March 27, 2011 at 6:52 pm #

    I almost teared up when I read this! Such a good reminder. SUCH a good reminder (it was worth repeating).

    I’ve said this before, but I’ll say again (obviously, I’m all about repeating myself): Balance (whatever it is for you) IS the reward! I’ve learned this hard way, but also keep learning it. In grad school, I used to wonder why they don’t give out rewards for being happy, having friends, exercising, and staying on top of your studies, but you know, not killing yourself. I seriously asked aloud, why they don’t do that. And people criticized me for wanting these things, too. Or made rude remarks about it like, “Well, I would go out to dinner, but I have work to do.” Or this comment after I said that I wanted to be happy while I was in grad school, “You’re not supposed to be happy during grad school. It’s supposed to be miserable. Later in life you can be happy, but not now.” To clarify, my close friends feel the same way I do/did and struggle to maintain the balance, but the environment was more like the comments.

    So, yeah, I complained and whined, “Why doesn’t anyone reward me for being balanced and just doing what is right for me?’

    Silly, silly me. Doing all of those things WAS and IS the reward. And like the above quote suggests, I am happier for the “trouble” of inventing myself and figuring out what is meaningful for me. At least most of the time! I still get caught up sometimes.

  11. pinchofthis
    March 27, 2011 at 7:10 pm #


    (from above)

    I will also be printing this out for my office tomorrow.

  12. Kelsey
    March 27, 2011 at 8:04 pm #

    Love this. Thank you for the awesome share. This is so true and I needed to hear/be reminded of this. Building my own small business it’s too easy to get sucked into everyone else’s version of success.

  13. Caitlin
    March 28, 2011 at 3:19 pm #

    you just brought me a little peace on this monday afternoon. so, thanks.

  14. lizzie
    March 28, 2011 at 5:28 pm #

    this is beautiful, alyssa….i love calvin & hobbes and all of their infinite wisdom. 🙂
    i’m not sure if i’ve already told you this…but i found a water-damaged book (calvin & hobbes) in my mom’s high-school stuff and thought it was this ANCIENT gem of a book (looked all damaged and antiquey)…until i saw it all over barnes & noble…whaaaa? there’s MORE of this?!

  15. margaret michelle
    April 8, 2011 at 11:13 am #

    Thank you. Us artist-y type-A’s need this speech, possibly every day. Maybe twice on Wednesdays 🙂

  16. suite7beautytalk
    February 9, 2012 at 11:01 am #

    K. I love this and I wish on all that is wholly that I’d written it. Ever read something so incredibly poignant that you’d really, really wish the words were your own? Just happened. Going in a frame, somewhere..

  17. Elisa C
    January 31, 2023 at 5:08 pm #

    Great readiing this


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