Doing the work

You do what you do until you can’t do it anymore, and then you do something else.

It’s that simple. I’ve switched jobs often over the past few years, and am considering doing it again. Because it’s all about doing that which you can do, until you can’t.

Potential

We are all spinning caps. When we’re doing what we’re designed to – under perfect conditions – we’ll keep spinning forever. Living up to our potential.

When something is off, the cap will fall. We fail our potential.

The trick is reconfiguring ourselves to live up to that potential. To be our best selves. To be who we are designed to be.

 

The High Cost of Education

(I started this post before doing a monthly reading list, of which I am tardy on this month. But I left this sitting in drafts. My goal over the next month is to complete every draft that I’ve started and get it published on the blog. What you’ll see is that I have a problem with spending money on books, I have a lack of space with which to house all of my books, and I have a lack of time with which to read all of my books. So, about the same as any other book-lover all over the world.)

I’ve paid for an education on credit. No, not the degrees that I’ve eared (though the debt I’ve accrued in earning those is substantial), but I specifically speak about my love of books, or bibliophilia. And what an education. I can’t help but peruse the stacks at Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, or the countless used bookstores that I frequent. The musty smell, a fragrance that only holds a hint of the words of thousands-upon-thousands of women and men, just waiting to be re-released into the world.


So I stack books on shelves, on top of each other, on the floor. I try and read as many as I can, though I usually only finish one per week, though if it’s particularly gripping I’ll get through it in a little less time. The point I’m making, though, is that I find it difficult to leave a bookstore without some acquisition (or two or three, etc). My collection on philosophy, metaphysics, logic and esoterica is growing just over the past year (2017 – I was contemplating enrolling in a PhD Philosophy program, but have set that on the back burner for now).

I keep one bookshelf in my room, just to store the current interests. I’ve got books from Karl Ove Knausgaard, Alan Watts, Neil Gaiman, and Joseph Campbell. There are books on writing, time management, chakras, meditation, and philosophy. An entire shelf is made up of journals and notebooks – some blank, some partially written in, and others full of my scribblings. And every day, multiple times, I find myself just looking at the book shelf.

It may be impossible to read through everything I’ve purchased, but as John Waters said, “Nothing is more important than an unread library.”

One small step

Yesterday was the fiftieth anniversary of the moon landing. I’ve been thinking about that for most of the week, and just how miraculous that is. That the first human being to leave the planet of his birth and step foot on another mass in space was just fifty years ago. After millions upon millions of years of this world, just a single generation ago humanity made new steps into the universe.

Have we done much since? Maybe not. But in the vast scope of how long it took us to get there in the first place, fifty years isn’t so long.

Incongruity

Some new shifts happening in life, as they tend to do. Something came up which was interesting to me.

After a set of surveys I had to take, I had a conversation with someone who was analyzing my results. Looking over my information, as well as my work history, he said, “Your results seem to be incongruous with the work you’ve done.”

In that one sentence, everything about the past fifteen years or so coalesced into something that made complete sense. The continuous shifting and searching I’ve done has been, at least in part, owing to a mismatch with where I’ve found work.

I think it’s a symptom of those who don’t really know me assigning certain characteristics to me that they believe I possess. For instance, many who I work with are surprised that I am introvert. I play that social part well, and have (and keep) many friends.

However, alone time and deep connections are what energize me. Large social interactions are often exhausting to me.

About three years ago I took the Myers-Brigg test for the first time. INFP. Now, I haven’t revisted those results in the past year or two. But at the time, it was enlightening. As was the conversation regarding my incongruity.

I guess the moral is to make sure you’re doing what you’re designed to do. Otherwise you’ll be emptying the tank, rather than keeping it full.

Week’s (or weeks’) highlights

Some of the things that caught my attention over the past few weeks.

  • How to use a knife. One of the things I picked up in Alaska was a scrimshaw knife carved on fossilized moose bone. It’s ended up being my favorite souvenir, I suppose in part because I get to carry it with me every day. But also because it feels like I’m in touch with the land. This video popped up a couple of weeks ago, and I thought it was kind of fun to watch, even if it’s about kitchen knifes…
  • Quit drinking altogether? Sarah Sloat’s article on casual drinking gave some interesting stats, like, “On average, the mental well-being of the women who quit drinking approached the level of lifetime abstainers within the four-year period. There was, however, very little change in the mental well-being of the men who quit. These results were persistent even after the scientists adjusted for sociodemographic characteristics, body mass index, and smoking status.”
  • The NYTimes mapped the major American artists of the past century, and it’s pretty damn neat. I also have an affinity for maps.
  • Where are our Park Rangers? I briefly considered taking a Ranger job at a National Park. The salary was $22,000/year. It wasn’t feasible at the time. Upper management in some larger parks can make close to $100,000/year, which is comparable for Government positions. But with budget cuts and increasing park attendance, make sure you’re staying safe.

Watching: Stranger Things
Reading: Call of the Wild 
Listening to: Oklahoma! 2019 Revival Cast Recording

Where’d you go?

Took a few extra days (false start) after my trip. There was a lot going on, and some things I’ve been thinking about. 

For instance, why posting every day is a silly strategy. Now I’m not necessarily using this blog to drive traffic or strum up business, but the thought did occur to me – what am I writing for?

The answer I came up with is I write because I have to. So if no one reads it, or doesn’t follow the latest post, it’s not really a big deal. When I started writing, it was about being accountable. Going to the daily (until the Alaska trip) postings, that was about accountability and productivity.

Getting back into the swing of being productive hasn’t been easy. I realize that everything I say in defense of not writing daily becomes just an excuse. That I could find time to sit and post. I could make time.

The truth is, though, sometimes you need to step back. It’s impossible to just keep moving along, everyday. In The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz writes, “Always do your best… Your best is going to change from moment to moment, it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self judgment, self- abuse, and regret.”

So I can start each morning stating I will do my best.

I can end each night asking Have I done my best?

And that’s all anyone can ever really do.