Oh Right, This Exists...

I don’t even know yet who I want to be. I’ve got miles and miles in front of me. And all that I can see are the mountains up ahead.
— Kate Voegele, "Just Watch Me"

Hey. How’s it going? No, really, how’s it going? I’m not just asking because we bumped into each other at Starbucks and I have to ask that because it’s polite, and then you say “fine, how about you” and I respond with “pretty good, pretty good” and then we make awkward small talk until my mocha is ready and I grab it and say “Nice to see you” even though I was hoping that you wouldn’t notice me and I had buried my head in my phone and tipped the brim of my cap down farther on purpose to try and hide who I was because I didn’t really want to talk to you, and it wasn’t anything against you, it’s just that I wasn’t in the mood to talk to anyone right then, or basically anytime I’m doing something in public, even though I really should be putting the effort in to talk to you because I sit at home alone on the weekends watching Netflix and wishing that I had something better to do, or at the very least had someone to talk to about the show I’m watching, but I don’t because I don’t make the effort to talk to you while we are at Starbucks, so instead I just pour myself a drink and watch The Office for the 15th time until 2am and I go to bed and lie awake for 30 minutes thinking about how I saw you at Starbucks and I wish that when you asked “how about you” I would have been honest and told you that I wasn’t doing great and that I would love to have you over sometime or maybe we could go grab a drink one night and catch up, but I didn’t because I didn’t want to be a bother and I wasn’t sure if you would think that was weird or if it would make you uncomfortable, putting you in a position where I forced this burden of a decision on you, and you would have to either commit right then and there while you were waiting for your cappuccino or blow me off and risk being rude, even though I wouldn’t find it rude at all, it’s actually what I was expecting, but you don’t know that I won’t take it hard, and I don’t know that maybe you’ve also been waiting for someone to ask you to come over because you saw the craziest thing while you were walking your dog the other day and you’ve been dying to tell that story to someone, but every time you think about brining it up you get anxious that maybe it’s too boring or not relevant to the current conversation so you just keep it to yourself and play the conversation out in your head, imagining how everyone would laugh at the appropriate parts, and playing it up in your head as this amazing story that the real thing will never be able to live up to, so instead when I asked you “how’s it going” you didn’t say “It’s going great, and the craziest thing happened to me the other day…”, you just said “Fine, how about you?”

Well, to be honest when I started that paragraph I wasn’t planning on going into that long ass rant about social interactions and mental health, but here we are. Honestly, typing all that out was really cathartic and it felt amazing. And a year ago I would have cut and pasted that into a note that would stay on my phone forever and never be shared with the world, but instead of doing that I’m going to leave it up. People need to talk more about how they actually feel. I mean, maybe the Starbucks example is a bad one, because going that deep before you’ve had your morning caffine might be a bad idea, but in general I wish it was more acceptable to answer “How are you?” with “Actually not great, but thank you for asking.” Seriously though, leave a comment with how you’re actually feeling today, and not the canned response you’d hand out to aquantinces you see from time to time.

Again, I don’t really want to get too deep into that right now though. The thing that inspired me to write today was passion. More specifically, the fact that I don’t have one. Or at least I don’t know what it is. So I was doing a bit of pathetic googling like “what’s my passion quiz”, which is a bit embarassing but that’s where I’m at right now. I came across this blog post which has 30 questions to answer as an exercise to think about what your passion is. So I’m going to answer them to the best of my ability and as honestly as I can:

1. What are your 3 favourite topics to discuss? What could you talk about for hours on end?

This one’s a bit tough for me. My first though is just Media in general, TV, movies, podcasts, music, etc. I’m not sure if I should include books in that? Cooking is an obvious second choice, it’s always something I’ve kind of had a passing interest in, and in the past few months I’ve really stepped up my game. The third one is a bit more abstract, I think the best way to phrase it is with the word “philosophy.” I just really enjoy talking about the big questions in life, trying to understand where we came from and where we are headed, and most importantly why anything should matter. So yeah, Media, Cooking, Philosophy.

2. When you connect with your heart, what things in life really make you feel free?

Being in nature is a big one. Standing at the peak of a mountain and looking out over the extreme vastness of the earth is a really freeing feeling. Especially when you’re on vacation and you know you don’t have anything that needs to be done, you could just stand and stare at the vista for hours if you wanted to.

3. 5 people who love and know you best tell you that you would be amazing doing X, Y, or Z for a living. Name X, Y, and Z.

First of all, the original blog post didn’t use an Oxford comma in this question, so shame. Shame! But the professions I’ve always heard are Teacher or Chef. I’m not sure there’s a distinct third option that stands out in my mind that people have said to me. I don’t like to talk about this kind of thing in general, probably because I’m so terrified of the answers I might find.

4. What are your talents? What naturally flows for you without even having to try?

Another hard one out the gate. I honestly don’t have any talents. This is part of why I’m so frustrated trying to find out what to do with the rest of my life, because there’s nothing that I can look at and say “Yeah, I think I’m really, really good at that.”

5. 5 people that inspire you most in the world stand before you. Who are they and what is it about them that sparks something within you?

5?! You expect me to be able to name 5? I don’t even know 5 people. Honestly I thought about this question all night and I can’t come up with a proper answer for it. I’ll revisit this one day.

6. If you were to wake up tomorrow feeling truly free and happily excited about your working day ahead, what job would you be off to do?

Uh, isn’t this the entire point of this quiz? To figure this out? If I knew I wouldn’t be doing the quiz. I guess the abstract answer is something that gets me up and moving around, not stuck at a desk all day. Something that has a fixed schedule, or a schedule I control, with good benefits and plenty of vacation time. Something where I’m using my head to solve a different problem every day. I don’t have to be in love with every minute of it, but it can’t be something that drives me crazy either. I’m pretty sure this job doesn’t exist, or if it does I’m wildly unqualified for it.

7. You inherit $300  million. How would it change your life? What would you do with your days?

I’m tempted to find that clip from Office Space, where Ron Livingston is talking to Diedrich Bader about what he would do with a million dollars. No, my answer is not “two chicks at the same time.” It is very similar to Ron Livingston’s answer though. Nothing. I wouldn’t do a damn thing. I’d sit on my ass all day, watch Netflix, eat delicious food. Here’s the difference though between me doing that now and doing that with $300 million. When I do that stuff now I feel immense shame and guilt and anxiety because I should be doing other things, bettering myself, because eventually I’ll have to get a job and I won’t have time to better myself. Listen, I know it isn’t the most logically sound argument, but this is how the thought process goes. If I had money I wouldn’t have to worry about eventually having to make money or running out, so I would be free to just chill when I wanted to chill and to be productive when I wanted to be productive. I feel like I’m not doing a proper job of explaining myself, but in my head it makes so much sense. Money removes the worry and anxiety that might prevent me from being productive, basically.

8. You are totally “in your element” and time seems to have disappeared. What are you doing?

Probably either watching a really good show/movie or playing a game really well. Sometimes this happens with a good book as well. Basically anytime I get swept away from this reality into another, more interesting one.

9. What difference do you want to make in the world? What legacy would you like to leave behind?

This is one that really gets to me. I could get a job at McDonalds, work 40 hours a week and make enough money to pay for an apartment, food, and entertainment. And yeah, I know the line of “well someone has to work at McDonalds”, and I won’t even get into the whole automation debate here that renders that idiom completely out of date, but I really get in my head about doing something that’s “good”. I want to do good in the world. Now more than ever that the entire planet seems to be going to shit with the rise of Nationalism and Trumpism. I want to make an impact, and I can’t see how I do that by flipping burgers.

10. A genie has granted you a wish that whichever career you choose will not fail. Which do you choose?

This seems suspiciously similar to question 6. It does have an interesting twist though. I suffer from imposter syndrome and I am really scared that I’ll be a failure at whatever career I decide to pursue. So with a guarantee it changes things a bit. How does this guarantee work though? Does it mean I will get the skills to succeed in whatever I want to do? In that case I would say something like a surgeon or a physicist or something hardcore like that. The main reason I don’t pursue those careers right now, aside from that terrifying prospect that I might find myself 10 years from now in way over my head in a high stakes job, is that while I very much enjoy the overarching ideas related to those fields, I struggle with the details. I love to talk about why the universe is the way it is on a large scale, but if you ask me to talk about the way a specific thing interacts with another specific thing I’m out of my depth.

11. It is your birthday and somebody buys you an annual magazine subscription. Which type would you love it to be?

I don’t really read magazines, but I think a cooking or tattoo focused one would be up my alley.

12. What fundamental beliefs do you feel truly passionate about? Which jobs would encompass them?

Everyone needs to be way, way more kind and forgiving to one another. People need to take more responsibility for the positions they are in instead of blaming things on the universe. I have literally no idea what kind of job follows these kinds of beliefs. Humanitarianism maybe? Is that even a job title. “Hi, I’m Joe.” “Hi Joe, what do you do?” “I’m a humanitarian.” That sounds weird.

13. Intrinsically, do you feel as though you were actually born to do a particular thing?


14. If you could blindly believe that you would make money from your creativity, what would you do?

Another tricky one. Writing obviously bubbles up to the top of that stew. But I really like other creative outlets. Video making is something I’ve dabbled in. I have huge respect for artists, I wish I could draw or paint or sculpt. And I know that it just takes practice to get good at it, but I don’t have that much of a drive for it. That’s the reason I don’t have a blog post up everyday and 5 books written already. I like it, but I like watching TV more.

15. When you are dead and gone, what would you like people to say about the way you lived your life?

I mean, ideally I would never die, but again that’s a topic for another day. I’d like to say I don’t care what people would say, and that’s partially true, but I find myself being affected by the thoughts of others, or even my assumptions of what their thoughts are, in a way that I just can’t shut out. So I guess I’d want people to say I was always kind and helpful, someone they could rely on, and someone who always put others first. I’m really failing on that last one in my opinion.

16. What areas of life are you naturally drawn to?

I don’t really get this question. The outdoors I guess? Nature? Doing things by hand? Are these “areas of life”?

17. What do people ask you for information/advice about? Which areas are you deemed to be a little fountain of knowledge.

I would need to have friends to have them ask me for advice. For real, I don’t really get asked about much. My sister messages me for bread making advice every now and then. Not sure if she realizes I’m flying by the seat of my pants when I make bread or give advice. I know a lot of random ass little facts, which doesn’t really matter much anymore since anyone can look up anything they need to know in a matter of seconds.

18. What careers do you have wild dreams of having?

Really stretching this to get 30 questions eh? This is similar to 6 and 10. I don’t really have wild dreams for a career. Food critic or Film Critic would be good since I love eating and watching TV.

19. If you were to pioneer a cause around the world, and it was guaranteed to be a success, what would it be?

Stop being fucking assholes and be kind and helpful to every other living thing. There, just stopped all war, cured world poverty and hunger, and created a unified global coalition with the goal of colonizing the universe then finding a way to jump to parallel universes so that we can escape from the inevitable heat death of our own.

20. What do you love to do when you have free time and what is it that gives you that real buzz of excitement?

Netflix, gaming, a bit of cooking. We’ve been over this. Also these things don’t give me a buzz of excitement but nothing does really so… I guess travelling I get that buzz sometimes, but that’s not really a “free time” activity.

21. What topics interest you and what would you really love to know lots more about?

Everything and anything. I’m a bit of a serial specialist, I like to dive deep into different hobbies, learn as much as I possibly can in 6-12 months, then all of a sudden I’ve just dropped all interest and don’t give a shit anymore. I’m not sure if this is a blessing or a curse. Feels like a curse.

22. If someone were to pay all of your living costs and expenses for 2 years, what work would you pursue in that time?

Similar to the 300 mill question with the caveat of a time limit. I guess I would just do what I’m doing right now, go to school, but I would be a fuck of a lot less stressed wondering how I’m going to pay for dinner 2 weeks from now or if I’ll have enough for rent next semester after working over Christmas break.

23. When you were a child, what did you always dream of doing when you got older? What do they symbolize?

I can’t remember everything, I think I had pretty normal dreams for a toddler like fireman, doctor, astronaut. When I got a bit older it was teacher or architect. These don’t symbolize anything because I was a child and had no idea what I wanted.

24. If you were to change 3 things in the world for the greater good, what would they be?

So question 19 but without the guarantee? Or the way it’s phrased makes the guarantee implied? Also what’s the scope here, can I dip into the science fiction? Meh, anyway I’d make everyone be kind to each other, I would invent some sort of infinite, renewable, clean energy, and I would feed everyone.

25. What is it that you would regret not doing with your life if you were to die tomorrow?

Having a partner, getting married, starting a family, not travelling enough, not having more friends, not being healthier. Honestly that’s about it.

26. You love helping people with these 3 different things. What are they?

Not sure I understand this question either. Are these like, chores? Or less corporeal problems like depression? Anyway, I guess I like helping people feel better, helping people do something they couldn’t do alone, and helping people just have a better day in any way, big or small.

27. Richard Branson teaches you over 3 years how to make money from 1 area of your choice, all for free. What do you choose?

This is just the “what do you want to do for work” question again, which is the whole reason I’m doing this quiz. I don’t know. I wish I knew.

28. What piece of knowledge do you feel as though you would love to share with the world?

Assume that everyone has an ice cream cake in the car. That is to say, assume that if someone does something stupid maybe they had a reason. Maybe they were trying to get home before that cake melted. Maybe they made a mistake and are being harder on themselves for it than you could ever be. Just be fucking nice to people.

29. The person that loves you most in the whole world asks you what you need to be doing with your life in order to be really happy. How do you respond?

If I fucking knew I would be doing it.

30. If you had 5 years left to live, what would you do?

Travel to all the places. Eat all the food. Talk to people more and if I make some embarrassing mistake I can just say “Hey, I’ve only got 5 years to live, who gives a shit”. See and learn everything I possibly can.

Ok, those questions weren’t as amazing as I thought they would be from skimming. It was a fun exercise to think about them though. I’ve written this post over about 3 days, so I had plenty of time to ruminate. I’ll be coming back to this post in the future to see what I might change. For now though, thank you very much for reading. I hope you have an absolutely wonderful day/night/week/month/life. Bye. Text here