A More Than Good Enough Job

September 20, 2014

Once in a while, you come across a book that sets off a big Eureka moment in your brain and drastically shifts your worldview. Refuse to Choose! by Barbara Sher was one of those books for me. In the book, Sher describes a type of person she calls a “scanner.” A scanner is someone who has multiple interests or passions that compete with each other for attention. Scanners find it nearly impossible to focus on any one thing, and usually switch around between any number of different pursuits throughout their lives. They become the world’s “jacks-of-all-trades,” or, more flatteringly, its “renaissance people.”

This resonated with me immediately and deeply. I have a few broad subjects I tend to be very passionate about— namely music, art, and language— but my respective levels of passion in these different areas have fluctuated greatly throughout the years. I seem to have a pattern of spending several years at a time dedicated to improving myself in one area, only to be suddenly overcome with the uncontrollable inclination to switch to another. For instance, I was obsessed with drawing for most of my childhood and aspired to be a comic book artist or an animator for years, only to wake up one morning suddenly feeling quite uninterested in drawing and more intrigued by the idea of learning languages and traveling the world. More recently, I seem to have switched from the passion of language learning to that of music making. When these changes happen, they are visceral and completely uncontrollable. It must sound quite strange to anyone who’s never experienced such a thing, but for me it’s life. [Read the rest]

Six months ago, I published a post on this blog announcing I was “back.”

But clearly I wasn’t back to stay for long, because I only posted once more before retreating into complete silence for the next six months. And that was after I had gone on about how I was on my way to Japan to pursue some big “mission” I would keep you updated on… Oops. Sorry about that.

I have already spent two seasons here in the Land of the Rising Sun.

I have already spent two seasons here in the Land of the Rising Sun.

I am currently still in Japan and still pursuing said mission (sort of), but a lot of things have changed. Mostly I have changed, so much that I’m no longer sure if all my old posts on this blog still represent me and what I’m all about. For example:

  • I used to be someone who believed in doing whatever I felt like whenever I felt like it. Rather than conforming to the expectations of society or parental wishes or any other kind of outside pressure, I used to believe in unapologetically following my passions. I still don’t believe in conforming to outside pressure, but lately I’ve found that sometimes my inclinations and passions aren’t so clear or so motivating, and especially at those times, I need to just pick something (whether I feel passionate about it or not) and go for it. This has led me to believe in self-discipline. It has led me to believe I should sometimes make myself do things even when I don’t want to. It has led me to believe that sometimes, I have to work to create passion where there is none— because what am I going to do otherwise? Sit around doing nothing while I wait for some elusive passion to come along and motivate me? Looking back, the old me seems like a naive child. Maybe she was?
  • I used to believe in flying by the seat of my pants, playing things by ear, and going with the flow. I was a staunch “anti-planner.” I professed to be allergic to schedules, routines, and plans. I said that not making plans allowed me not only to follow my passions, but also to stay open to all the random opportunities I wouldn’t be free to take advantage of otherwise. Now I have a more balanced philosophy: Schedules, routines and plans are difficult to set in stone, and sometimes they are indeed meant to be broken. But they can serve as guidelines to point me in a positive direction, and trying to follow them can actually be a pretty reliable way to improve myself and my life.
  • I once announced on this blog that I would find a way to support myself through freelancing or self-employment, and that I never wanted to have a traditional “job” again. I made a big deal out of traipsing off to be a “free spirit” living out of a backpack. But I should never have said never, because now I have made peace with the J word: I currently have a 9-5 job, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find that I’m actually quite happy about it. I’m also pretty sure I now have more stuff in my apartment than will fit into a backpack. I do not feel tied down by my job or burdened by material possessions. In fact, I feel pretty darned great. Sacrilege, right?

You see, I have a conundrum: It seems like whatever I say, no matter how much conviction I may say it with at the time, sooner or later I always end up changing my mind and saying something else entirely. How, then, can I presume to give sound advice about anything? How can anyone depend on me? I know I’m supposed to be “directionally challenged” and all, and I know it’s normal and healthy for people to grow and change throughout their lives… But I can’t help thinking anyone still bothering to read my ramblings must get fed up with me changing my mind all the time. I suppose this has given me a bit of “blogging anxiety,” which has certainly contributed to my lack of updates all these months.

But mostly, the problem is that I’ve just been at bit of a loss as to what to do with this blog. I don’t suppose many people take me seriously as a blogger after three years of extremely sporadic updating coupled with periodic disappearances from the Internet. I am certainly no [insert famous blogger here]. And yet I can’t help thinking it would be a shame to shut this blog down, and if I can just get myself to keep posting, surely it will lead to good things.

I know great things can come from blogging. But it requires discipline, which is something I’ve just never had much of. I’ve always just coasted by on the strength of my passions, and it’s only recently, as the fire of those passions has for some reason begun to simmer down, that I’ve found it necessary to begin learning discipline. I’m thinking that maybe, just maybe, I might have what it takes to keep this going now. No promises, but we’ll see.

For now though, I’m starting out quietly. I don’t intend to share this post on any social media sites, so I suppose the only people who see it will be those subscribed to my email list. (Thanks for hanging in there, you!) I just find that, at least for me, it’s more effective to start things quietly and without fanfare until they’ve gained momentum— until I actually have something worth bragging about.