A word of warning, I’m going to ramble for spell. It will be long winded and dull, and for the eight or nine of you that read through to the end, (optimistic, I know). I’ll be fortunate if two of you actually understand what I’m trying to say. But for those of you who do make it to the end, you’ll get a VERY rare glimpse at the chaotic white noise that occupies the space between my ears!
Who are you?
I was talking to a friend about college courses and careers and choices we make, and he asked me this question.
“Who are you?”
Who am I? He went on to explain, “You start by answering that question. The rest will take care of itself. The college, the job, the career, the income. Figure out who you are, and everything else falls into place around it.”
So. Who am I?
I am one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. This comes first. Always. This will affect the way I go about EVERYTHING else. It touches every decision I make. I’m not always a really good example of a Jehovah’s Witness, but I try hard. I am a husband to one beautiful wife, and father to two wonderful (though sometimes hyper) boys, who should probably read more, and play video games less. But they’re mine and I love them!
“Good.” my friend said. “So what are your passions?”
I’m a writer, and an artist of sorts. I’m a near expert doodler. Though I still have no idea how to make a living doing these things? Let’s face it, the job market for poet-doodlers is kind of soft these days.
“What else?” my ever patient friend encouraged…
Where to begin!
I love to cook. I’m a kitchen experimenter, and probably the only person you’ve ever met who’s used three different frying pans to make a single grilled cheese sandwich. But oh, what a grilled cheese sandwich it was! In fact I sometimes dream about opening my own restaurant. I have a couple names picked out. I can picture the view out the front picture window! (oceanfront, on the boardwalk, of course!) I’ve planned menus and pricing. I have graph paper somewhere that I used to layout where the tables and buffets would be. I even went as far as to contact a restaurant supply company and request a catalog. But I have zero interest in working in a restaurant. Cooking someone else’s menu would bore me and frustrate me to no end. “You want me to use ketchup? In the meatloaf? Are you out of your mind?”
I think the doodler in me would like to be a graphic designer. I could design logos. In fact I’ve designed rocking logos for EVERY made up company I’ve ever imagined myself opening… From landscape companies, to restaurants, to film studios, to freelance graphic design companies… But then again, if you opened a hair salon tomorrow and asked me to design the logo, I’d be bored in a few minutes and give up. Your company ideas aren’t nearly as cool as mine. Sorry. But it’s true.
I like photography, and architecture. And photography of architecture. But I’m not sure I’m good enough at either to make a living doing it. And aren’t there already enough architecturally focused coffee table books on the discount rack at Barnes & Noble?
I love sports. All sports, from Michael Jordan to California Chrome. But I’m thirty three years old, six foot nothing (at best), slightly overweight, and have the lungs of a two pack a day smoker, despite never having smoked. I like writing about, discussing and debating sports. But what guy doesn’t?
I absolutely LOVE listening to music. Unfortunately my musical talent ends at ipod, and even that sometimes requires my brother’s IT assistance.
I love the outdoors. I love camping and hiking, but have no interest in working outside in the heat and humidity, or the rain and cold, every day of my life.
I like sitting at my desk typing, but I would go CRAZY if I had to sit at a computer for eight hours a day working on someone else’s projects.
I like budgeting and planning my business ideas, but I have no interest in tracking someone else’s profit/loss numbers.
I love debating just about anything. From best three point shooter of all time, to best guitarist of all time, to should the Washington Redskins change their name, to why government run healthcare is the worst idea since Aqua came out with Barbie Girl. But only lawyers and politicians get paid to argue about stuff no one else cares about, and I don’t have time for a Law Degree.
I love physical fitness and exercise. But only if I’m doing the exercising. I have no interest in showing out of shape soccer moms or middle aged beer guts the correct form for doing sit-ups. YUCK!
I enjoy the idea of homesteading/disaster preparedness. However I’m not Charles Ingalls or Jack Bauer and I’ll never have the time and money to learn these things until AFTER I figure out the career path!
I like making people laugh, but only on paper. I could never get up on stage in a comedy club, in front of people. I can barely get through a 15 minute talk at the hall, and that’s with an outline in front of me.
Past that I still have no clue what I want to be when I grow up.
There are very few people on the face of the earth I envy more than the person who has a singular focused passion. Any passion would do. The mechanic who is perfectly content laying on his gravel driveway, under his cantankerous 94 Honda Civic, with grease and oil dripping down his arm. Or the carpenter who loves that feeling of stepping out of his workshop dripping sweat with sawdust stuck in places sawdust has no places being! Or maybe the kid who grew up playing doctor and knew from day one he was going to end up working in some sort of medical field. Maybe he’s a neurosurgeon? Maybe he’s an X-ray tech? But at least he had some plan!
I never had a plan. I’m thirty three and I still have no plan.
I’m fiercely loyal to God, roughly seven people, and to two or three sports teams. Which is why this indecisive nonsense bothers me so much! When it comes to hobbies, interests, and career choices I’m not only all over the map, with no central focus, but I’m also fickle. The idea of writing the great American novel sounds appealing for the first sixty or seventy pages, and then I run out of steam! Two or three months later when I get the bug to write again, I’ve lost interest in THAT novel and start a new one, and the vicious cycle continues!
The problem is, when you LIKE (and like is such a lame word) ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING, but don’t love any of it, choosing a career, based on your “passions” becomes so much more complicated. There is NOTHING on this list I enjoy enough to do eight hours a day five days a week without slowly losing my mind. Even writing. If I were forced to sit at a desk and write for eight hours a day, I think I’d quit. Or I would suffer the worst case of burnout induced writer’s block the world has ever seen.
By the way, my ever patient friend is currently contacting his therapist and icing his very tired ears. Some help he was!