April 16, 2014

I'm Running a Series of Experiments

This Good Life Project Jam Session by Jonathan Fields, inspired me so much that I wanted to do nothing but return to The House of Emerald after a three month long hiatus. (What happened to my 12 Resolutions?) Unfortunately, no matter how much I try, the winter blues always gets me down and leaves me feeling stuck, unmotivated and questioning everything. I think this year was a little bit harder not only because of the winter we experienced, but also because of my upcoming 25th birthday in May. I keep asking myself, "You're going to be 25. What are you doing with your life?". It's a very tough question that can, if you let it, lead you down a negative spiral. Luckily, with the emerging of warm weather (although I woke up to snow?) and the discovery of some great writers (Dani Shapiro and Stephen Cope), I feel my grove coming back. This video just confirmed that.

Jonathan is trying to answer the question of what advice he would give his 20-something self, in regards to building a career and how he would contribute to the world in a substantial way. I've read a lot of cheesy articles about this particular question, but he hits the nail on the head:
"Don't focus."
He suggests to "deliberately run a series of experiments" where your main goal is to collect information. (See Mom and Dad, I knew I was doing it right!) Ultimately this information will answer 3 questions:

1. Who am I?
2. What matters to me?
3. What am I good at/capable of being good at?

I remember when I decided to leave my "perfect" job at Ralph Lauren. I had already hopped around to a few other jobs after graduating college and my parents, as well as myself, thought I was finally set. Two months into it, I knew this wasn't right. I made a vow to myself to leave and try as many different things as I could. Starting this blog, was a way for me to track some of my journey. I changed my employment info on Facebook to "Crafter" at Liz's School of Life. Every now and then Facebook asks me to add the location to this job and I always laugh. There is no permanent location when you're learning about yourself. You need to be free and have the confidence that you will find your vocation or dharma. 

Like Jonathan says, these experiments are filling in chunks of the puzzle. It's not about reputation, success or money that you can get from a particular job. 

"What can this teach me?"

It's about what you can learn right now so then when you're in your 40s, you don't turn around and wonder. This reminds me of my favorite lyrics of Time by Pink Floyd.

"And then one day you'll find, ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun."

I remember the day my dad pointed those particular words out I thought, I never want to get to that point. 

For the past five years, I've been extremely fortunate to have a great job at a local restaurant. It's allowed me to explore, take classes, start a part-time job/end a part-time job all while still making a decent income. Unfortunately, I still get the "Oh you still work in a restaurant" pity face. It used to drive me crazy, constantly wondering that I should be doing something better with my life. But hey, jokes on you!

So while, I may have a very colorful resume, it's comforting to know that someone so successful as Jonathan, is giving me the advice I decided to give myself a year ago. Thank you for reminding me Jonathan.

P.S. Next time you run into someone who's just interested in "What you're doing" (aka where you work) just tell them your "running a series of experiments."

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