So I’m not enjoying my job. I’m not sure if I will enjoy it sometime in the future, but right now it blows. I’ve also had some rejection letters from five of the ten grad schools I’ve applied to. And yet, I had a moment of clarity today that seemed to make things all right.
I like writing, and I feel, more than ever, that I am a writer. I don’t know if I’m an academic. I certainly enjoy going to classes, and I usually get good grades. But I find essays a chore. Shouldn’t you enjoy writing essays if you’re a true academic? I often tell myself that I just haven’t found my thing yet, the piece of literature that will inspire me to write volumes. But this is probably my way of trying to ignore the truth staring down at me. School is probably no longer the place for me. And, as far as current work is concerned, it appears that the workplace isn’t the place for me either.
When I was about eighteen and struggling through my first years of university, a good friend tried something on me. He knew that I had no idea what my future career would be – and, being an engineer, he felt that this wasn’t a good thing. So he asked me: if you could do anything, right now, for the next five or ten years, what would it be? The idea of the question is to get you thinking about what you should be doing to prepare for your dream career. Maybe you would say that you want to fiddle around with machines and get them working and figure out the intricacies of how they work. Or maybe you would say that you want to help people. My answer was unexpected. I didn’t know that the purpose of the answer was to figure out your career path, so I just answered, honestly, what I wanted to do. What I said was something along the lines of: I want to explore little towns and the countryside and just see what they’re like. I want to go everywhere and see how people live, and what things are like in different places. This was the jist of it – I wish I could remember precisely what I said, but this about covers it. Unfortunately, you can’t make much of a career out of exploring just for the sake of exploring.
I like to remind myself of my friend’s career-choosing tactic every once in a while. What do you really want to do with your time? Right now, I think it’s still exploring – but also writing. Writing about what I find, and especially writing about the impressions and feelings I get when I explore. Luckily, I think that, for now, my job allows me to get a paycheque while also exploring from time to time. So maybe, for once, I’m actually in the right place for where I need to be right now.
(Two on my list: Mont-St-Michel and Urnes Stave Church)