Day 8 || Ideal Job For You

Today’s prompt: If you could have any job (and instantly have the training and qualifications to do it), which job would you want?

I think about this rather frequently. Not this prompt specifically, but about my next job, my next steps. What do I want to do? A huge part of my problem is that I don’t know what my strengths are, what I’m decent at except writing. But, this question is about pure idealism, so let’s just pretend. If I had all the instant training, qualifications and certifications: I’d be a teacher.

To me, teaching is rather versatile: you can do it anywhere, you can teach anyone anything, and the best way to learn things is to teach it to others. I once saw a quote, I forget where, that what you’re teaching to others, are things you’re learning yourself. Which, I think, is a great way to look at it. A lot of the time, it feels like teachers (in a more abstract usage of the word) are those who are have come much further than you, and it’s up to you to catch up to them in their wisdom. But that’s not necessarily true.

Teachers are also students – something I definitely am. Always learning, always trying to incorporating more knowledge into their own lives. To me, this is the perpetual student versus the idea of someone who avoids reality by burying their heads in academic text (ie: staying in college for all eternity).

So I think I’d like to graduate, so to speak, to a teacher. That would be pretty amazing.

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Day 6 & 7 || Getting Caught Up

Last night, in the US, were the presidential elections. I mostly kept updated with Twitter and the Huffington Post, and waited until 1am for Romney to do his concession speech before heading to bed (apparently he didn’t do it until after).
So I ended up not blogging. It’s not that I was wrapped up in the election; I could’ve taken 30 minutes out to unwind and churn out a blog post. But I stayed glued to it, because I tried to convince myself that following the election was more important than a commitment I had made to blog each day of November. And now I have to catch up, and get myself back on track.

Have you ever had to get yourself back on track?

There have been times when I wasn’t sure what I was doing with my life. I had this small epiphany when I was living in Seattle – not the best situation; a crap job, an awful room mate and no idea about what I wanted to do at all with myself. So I left, and wandered around in Orland for awhile trying to figure out who I was. Quickly I learned that I loved comics, after getting the chance to be part of a large anthology created by and for women. This one decision has led me to write for a comics site – and it’s been one of the best choices I’ve made.

This aimless wandering, and general fear of being dependent on others also led me into my current position: I’ve acquired a new job that I enjoy, with a company that’s really great and I get to live with two really awesome people in a brand new city.

Everything is still a work in progress as I discover that even now, with my situation bringing me more happiness than the last, there’s still something missing. I’m still wandering. Still trying to figure things out, to catch up.

Not to “catch up” as in a race, but to catch up to the image I have of myself, of my future. I want to be that person that writes every day, that wakes up early and eats breakfast, to follow through on the tasks she sets out for herself. So I’m writing my post for two days to catch up to that person.

A lot of the time, I find myself comparing my life to others not because I want their lives specifically, but because it seems like those people are already doing what they’ve set out to do. They’re living their lives, doing their dreams. Naturally, there’s always a filter when observing someone else’s life – so the picture is never complete, you never get the whole story, only what you choose to see and what others allow you to see.

Someone I follow online once suggested that you just stay in your own lane, focus on what you’re doing and don’t get too caught up in others.

I should try that, maybe that’ll help me get a lot closer to who I imagine myself to be.

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Day 5 || Giving Things Up and Productivity

Earlier today, I read a post by Penelope Trunk about productivity.

I really wanted to write about productivity, and make promises about dealing with my internal scripts about why I procrastinate on my writing, or why this is the second blog post I’ve written at nearly midnight – hoping to catch the deadline of writing once a day, every day.

It’s not that I don’t care about writing – I love it, in fact – it’s just that I have issues. I forget how much I love writing, perhaps because it comes so naturally to me. My relationship to writing is like a trine; in Astrology a trine is very harmonious aspect, it shows the relationship between the two planets as having an energy that flows naturally, without conflict. The problem is that the trine makes the person lazy in terms of how they incorporate that energy into their day to day life because they don’t notice it. Which is very much unlike a square, a hard aspect where the two planets are in conflict with one another. This conflict is very apparent and you spend a good deal of time trying to work on the energy of those planets, attempting to craft a type of balance or harmony between them.

Maybe for some people, writing is like a square – a hard aspect – where they realize that they have to write because it’s a pain not to. For me, it’s not a pain to go without writing, but when I actually do it, I realize how much more in harmony I am with myself.

Perhaps my issue with productivity has more to do with seeking harmony – or not seeking it, as the case may be – and preferring chaos, and disorder. Part of that chaos is procrastination which is essentially prioritizing activities (or people) who don’t help you further along the path you’re trying to create for yourself. Another part of that chaos is not even realizing that you’re creating it, or not being aware of the long-term effects. For example: I don’t really enjoy waking up in the morning, I prefer to sleep in even though I normally wake up early enough to bathe, eat breakfast and get some writing in before arriving to work on time.

Instead I wake up and try to measure how much more sleep I can get – which doesn’t really become sleep as I wander in and out of consciousness hoping that I don’t wake up too late and be tardy to work. Then I realize what time it is, and pray that my room mate is just brushing her teeth instead of taking a 30 minute shower. As usual, my own shower ends up being too long and if I want to eat breakfast, then I run the risk of being late. Normally I skip out, preferring to snack on some junk food as I make the nearly ten minute walk to the train station. When I arrive to work I’m starving, and kicking myself for not having written when I said I would and spend the whole morning looking forward to lunch.

My day isn’t ruined by the chaos, but I’m not productive and I feel less like myself when I procrastinate.

But there’s no moral to this post: in order to be productive, you have to figure out what doesn’t serve you, or what doesn’t align with your long-term picture and get rid of it. But it’s hard because being productive is also about responsibility and taking ownership of what we want – which can be scary.

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Day 4 || Opera

Flickr Credit to: Bahman Farzard

It’s probably a bad habit, but I spend a lot of time wishing my life were different. Not in terms of regrets, per se, because it’s impossible (and foolish) to regret what you couldn’t control or have predicted. But I do spend a great deal of time grieving over a plausible life situations that never came to pass (and never will): a life where I’m a musical prodigy, the kid who just had to be placed in gifted classes because of my great IQ or otherwise bursting with enormous talent.

Instead, I’m a pretty average person. Normal, even. But I guess that’s okay – there’s no pressure for me to be or do anything. No one thinks I’m wasting my “potential” – so I’m free to follow any path I choose. The perks of normalcy I suppose?

Anyway, in the past thirty minutes or so I’ve been listening to various songs. First from Disney who used an opera singer to voice Aurora in Sleeping Beauty, then I stumbled upon my favorite opera singer – Diana Damrau. She’s absolutely fantastic, and her performance in the Queen of the Night, is hands-down my favorite piece of music. One of my goals is to listen to more opera, learn more about contemporary opera [music]. This, of course, is alongside my goal to learn violin – since I love the way it sounds and would die to be able to play Mozart or Beethoven on one.

In this life, I wasn’t born a opera singer (or a genius, or a prodigy) but at least I can appreciate the people who were. Enjoy the video – it features Diana Damrau singing Queen of the Night Aria:

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Day 3 || An Almost Fashionista?

There are these rare moments when I wish I was a fashionista. I don’t follow fashion blogs, I don’t like talking about style, I don’t read fashion magazines and 99% of my wardrobe was donated to me via gifts or hand me downs. So I’m pretty sure I don’t even likefashion.

Flickr Credit to: CubaGallery

But not too long ago, I bought a strapless dress from a consignment store. It’s black and red, with white dots (but not polka dots). I have absolutely nowhere to wear this dress. Additionally, I have nothing to even go with it. I don’t own any leggings or stockings, and only have sneakers and a single pair of brown knee high boots. Consequently, the dress has sat tucked away in my drawer, perhaps collecting dust, only occasionally coming across my mind. As I walk around downtown Philly, I pass by a consignment shop that seems to cater to the younger crowd, the mannequins always have great outfits. And when I traveled through New York, I was always amazed by the great ensembles I saw many of the Asian girls wearing on the train. Their super cute shoes, and no matter how strange the individual pieces were, their outfit seemed to pull itself together nicely.

I never felt badly about my permanent collection of blue denim and sneakers but I wondered.

I wondered when I looked at my gussied up room mate, with her knee high boots and face full of make-up. I wondered when people recounted stories of all the compliments they received about an outfit. And when I visited my mother not too long ago, she asked me if I ever regretted not learning make-up from her as a teen. I said no, I don’t even like make-up.

Oftentimes I wonder if being a fashionista is what I really want, but have just been rejecting because I felt like it was being forced on me. I felt that it’s expected of me because I’m a girl, and because I’m nearly 25 I’m supposed to dress, act and look a certain way. But what way is that? And who gets to decide how I look? And why isn’t the way I dress, act and look satisfactory ALREADY?

Bottom line: I’ll never be a fashonista because I don’t care about fashion, or about looking a certain way. I’m not really interested in dressing for my body type, and my overall goal is to be comfortable and ready to leave the house in fifteen minutes. I can admire things without owning them, or feeling like I need to own them to make myself feel better because I’m not “girly enough”.

It’s interesting to talk about this, though I’ve met a few other women who dislike shopping and I imagine there must be other people who dislike dressing up (unless the situation demands it like a job interview or wedding).

What about you? What’s your relationship to fashion like?

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Day 2 || Living Everywhere

“If you could live anywhere, where would it be?”

This question is so hard, I was tempted to skip over it and find something new to write about because honestly, I don’t know where I want to live. I’ve spent a huge chunk of my life traveling – it seemed every three years or so, I was headed to a new apartment, town or state. And thanks to my new job, I’m in yet another new place, soaking up what life is like here. But already, I’m itching for the new year to come, for a new adventure to unfurl.

I really want to move to another city.

When I see this question, I think of permanence, of being settled and ready to put down roots. But I’m not used to that – whenever I got used to a place, my time there came to an end. Today, it’s something I’ve gotten used to, and routinely discuss with others.

Oh. I’ve never had a home. We moved around a lot.” Something only other military brats can understand. Or people who grew up in unstable homes, where permanence seemed as far off as the moon.

So maybe I had this engrained in me; this wanderer habit, this desire to be a nomad. I would often feel bad that I couldn’t achieve the same life situations as others: finding that city that I adored, crafting a long-term relationship and setting ourselves up for marriage, selecting the ideal job that would keep us tucked away and happy for the next five years.

My life is the complete opposite of that.

So, where would I like to live? I’d love to live everywhere – a month or two in Morocco, a week or so in Portugal or a year in South Korea. I want to taste all the countries I can, while living by this quote:

“The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” – Saint Augustine

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Day 1 || Do or Do Not. There is No Try.

Do or do not. There is no try. – Yoda

I discovered this quote when I was a teenager, most likely in 8th or 9th grade, tackling my first novel (a sum total of 50 pages – my record at that time). Before each chapter I would type in an inspirational quote that I liked, and stumbled upon this fantastic one by Yoda. I adored it; succinct and powerful. Almost every day I find myself thinking about this quote, or daydreaming about quoting it to others.

The biggest reason I love this quote is because I find it to be so poignant. When I first began to contemplate this quote, and what it meant for me, I realized that whenever I say that I’m “trying” what that typically translates into is that I either haven’t started yet or I’m mostly just thinking about doing it without actually doing it. “To try” ends up being a weak excuse – that many people readily accept – because “trying” is expected and encouraged. It’s very much in line with that whole “shoot for the moon and land among the stars” mentality for me. Even if you don’t get where you want to be, at least you tried.

In the end, I reject this concept. For me, I very much have a “go with Plan A all the way” mentality. Part of this is because having back-up plans for your back-up plans is exhausting – you waste a lot of time and energy formulating these plans, stressing about these plans, and then later executing them when earlier plans collapse. Recently, I had this problem myself and I existed in such a nebulous space for many weeks. Then, I received some guidance and in my heart, I felt secure with this – even though it lacked the same certainty as the other choice and would require more work from me.

I believe in finding one thing you want to do, and doing it full throttle. That’s why “do or do not, there is no try” is my favorite quote.

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