Growing up in these here United States of America, I have always been told that one could be anything they wanted to be if they set their mind to it. Nobody said that the playing field would be equal, but this common refrain has always defined America. It is the home of opportunity, the land of the free. Now that I am in my mid-twenties, I am fairly certain that I will no longer be a professional baseball player, astronaut, or rock star. (10 year-old S.C. is heartbroken.) I bring this up not to dwell on childhood fantasies, but instead, I bring it up to discuss one’s current profession and whether that is consistent with the direction one ultimately wants to go. When work consumes 49.1% of my waking hours, it is difficult not to define myself by my current job. Most people my age and at similar points in their careers will justify their current job as a means to some dream job ending. Examine your current job or academic focus; compare that to your ultimate destination; now take a deep breath and determine whether a career (life?) pivot is in order… Eyes wide open.
Admittedly, this ‘blog’ has become more of a sounding board for my sporadic, reflective thoughts. This will be one of those posts.
The last few months have been relatively free of any negative emotion (read: anger, sadness, worry). And in these months, I have had little desire to write or drift into much deep thought. However, in typical fashion I have had some of these negative emotions surface in the last week and I have begun digging deep in the ‘thought department’. And now, I am at the point where I return to writing… Some of my best work and ideas have come when I have been in this mildly depressed state. I am not sure if many others agree with this theory, but it is much harder to write with purpose or passion when you are in a numb, apathetic state. It takes emotion to write and the numbness I have had in recent months (years?) has really impacted my ability to write or even ‘think’.
Now it’s not like I have ever had something profound to say. But at least the desire was there.. At least I felt strong enough about things (personal, social, or political) to form coherent thoughts and sentences. It’s a shame it takes feeling like shit for me to consider writing. The Gift and the Curse.
Back to the grind… Writing, reading, exercising, socializing, and being awesome. It’s amazing how much more I do these things when work doesn’t consume my life. In addition to my newly discovered work-life balance, this new city of mine has been fantastic. I’m almost settled in the new place and the roommates are pretty good guys. I finally live in a place that doesn’t look and feel like a freshman dorm room.
Since I last posted, I decided to run a marathon. I am officially registered for the Chicago Marathon which will take place in October. I have various reasons for wanting to run:
1.) I need a hobby or official activity to do outside of work. I don’t want work to be everything I do
2.) I want to get my athlete on! I miss the competition..
3.) 25 is a good age to accomplish such a difficult and memorable feat. It’s also a good age to brag about when I’m 70 years old.
Now I have never successfully run more than 4 miles in my life, but I have plenty of time and tons of motivation. Running agenda: Shamrock Shuffle in March (8k), Rock n Roll in July (half marathon), Chicago Marathon in October. This isn’t a NewYear’s resolution either. It’s a major life event and will be one of the most difficult things I have ever done. Wish me luck.
It’s time to stretch my writing legs. Like most writers, both amateur and professional, I have some occasional difficulty coming up with interesting topics. When people claim to have writers block, I imagine they are referring to difficulty with interesting topics. Any Joe Shmoe with a liberal arts degree can babble on for extended lengths about things that interest them. The challenge is captivating others, drawing them into those interests and stories.
Okay that’s enough of my prologue.
Has anyone reading this dealt with insomnia? I have had mild forms of it over the past year. Now I never stay up the entire night, but 3 hour nights of sleep are common. I have terrible fits of restlessness: I want to build, write, design, read, workout, play music, etc. My mind is just constantly racing. As a result, I always sleep with a tv or radio turned on in an attempt to drown the fire. Is being a data crunching analyst by morning not satisfying enough to let my mind rest at night? Is it the need to fulfill or act on some untapped passion?
Whatever it is, I don’t think I mind it too much… It reminds me that the light is still on. I’ll figure it out.
I do not hate flying, driving, or taking the train. Rather, I enjoy these normally dreaded activities – especially when alone. It allows me to gather my thoughts, listen to music for extended periods, and in the case of flying and riding the train, it allows me to read and write. All of which, I am doing on this post-Christmas morning. Some reading this might think I am the ultimate introvert, but on the contrary, my natural state is that of an outgoing, talkative, and inquisitive extrovert. But there is a certain appeal to being the lone traveler among the masses. Not that this lone state differs much from my life as a single, twenty-something living in a new city every few months, but strangely the forced removal from one’s normal routine coupled with an opportunity to reflect and “get away” is intoxicating.
While I am on the topic of travel, my latest connecting flight had a great deal of turbulence over an extended period. Now whenever this happens to me and in an entirely non-suicidal or depressed way, I always find myself imagining the whole thing going down and being okay with it. Maybe this stems from my inability to improve the situation or the uniqueness that this type of demise promises. Cancer impacts 30-40% of earth’s population at some point and I am sure heart-related ailments have similar percentages, but airplane disasters are rare and at least my name would be in a few news articles. Or maybe I may have watched Almost Famous one too many times.