Salute to Spouses Blog

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When everything is an option, nothing makes sense

I am at a crossroads. I am in that strange space where I feel the need to determine where all this living and learning is leading. I find myself searching job boards collecting all manner of interesting looking posts. I’m searching Zillow for new houses in markets closer to far flung friends. I can’t decide if I am in exactly the right academic program for what I want to do when I grow up.

 Am I going to end up with the right alphabet soup at the end of my name?

Will anyone hire me to do what I am passionate about?

What exactly is it that I am passionate about?

Over the last three months I have had no less than three dear friends tell me I am a hot mess, in so many words. My friends are awesome. I mean that. How many of you have friends who will outright tell you that you are going through some serious stuff to your face? I love my friends.

Every single time, I have said with great enthusiasm, why, yes, yes, I am. Now, I am not saying this is a good thing. I didn’t say I said it with joyful enthusiasm, it’s more like intrepid enthusiasm. This chaos of redefining me is starting to feel somewhat like standing outside in an ice filled Nor’easter.

Searching among my political soapboxes and through the halls of academia, I am on the hunt for my thing, my specialness. That one thing I cannot help but eat, sleep, and breathe. What is that one thing that will keep me interested for a really long time? What is that one thing I can do that no one else can in just that way? That special thing?

I was raised to believe I could do anything I put my mind to. I could reach any height. Any avenue was open to me. I took to heart the bigger picture. I believe that everyone has a special talent and direction. But therein lies the rub. I wasn’t given over to any particular passions. I was too busy learning to be everything to everyone to figure out what made me tick.

What I missed was learning what my talent and direction are. I can do anything, which means I get paralyzed by everything. There are so many interesting things out there to learn about. I don’t know what I am really interested in or if what I am pursuing will speak to me tomorrow. I am exactly the middle and mean of all curves.

In school I have always been a B student, scoring well enough to be left alone academically. I can pass most classes I try and with more dedication could probably master subjects easily. I learn languages that I can read but never speak. I engage in material I find interesting but will stop when it goes beyond an intermediate level. I infuriate professors by sliding when I could fly.

I could be interested in any number of professional avenues. I am not averse to working with people and can work comfortably alone. I take direction but also can create direction. I have experienced lots of aspects of corporate and not for profit businesses. I have been a manager and a laborer.

Even in my hobbies, I tell everyone that I love your hobby eighty percent as much as you do, so go slowly with me. I am fascinated by how deeply passionate some people can get. I have acquaintances who are truly offended that I am not taking the leap into true fandom when I so clearly could.

Even in my physical stats, I am the exact median of height, weight, and body measurements. I wear the ready to buy size medium in all clothing – fit is another matter since those designers believe humans are Legos. I like most foods, I eat healthy eighty percent of the time and indulge in ice cream. My hair is neither blonde nor brown and my skin tone is neither rose nor olive. I even wear a size 8 medium shoe for heaven sake.

My chaos comes from feeling like I have to make a choice and determine a goal and career job title right now or I can’t proceed. If I can’t come up with a better answer to why I am slogging through organic chemistry again than because I have to know how my brain tells my body to seek out almonds when it is low in iron, then what am I doing spending this much money and time? Who, other than me, will this serve?

Why does this time have to serve anyone else other than me? Isn’t this exactly what we tell people to do? If you have the time to follow your interest down the rabbit hole – then do it? Live your passions? Find your dream? I am lucky enough to be able to do exactly that.

Then why do I have this overwhelming sense of guilt? This disconnect. This feeling of chaos. Because we also tell ourselves that if we are not productive members of society then we are not everything we can be. A productive member of society has a plan and a job. I have neither. Worse yet, I want neither.

As any good Nor’easter does, mine will play itself out, not without a certain amount of collateral damage and resurfacing of the planet. I am along for this ride I set myself up for. At least I set myself up for it and it is definitely my ride. Eventually it will come into a harbor. Until then I will follow my interests and see where they lead me. Who knows, I might find my special talent in the process.

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