Today Magazine Man hits on a topic that is highly relevant to me.
For most of the time that I’ve known her (and I have it from reliable sources that it goes back even further) my wife wrestled with enormous uncertainty about her choices in life. In college she majored in business, but couldn’t make up her mind about what type of business she wanted to focus on, and that led to her writing about different kinds of businesses and then wondering if business journalism might not be a good career choice. So she switched majors and got a job at a trade magazine and that’s when I came along. And a favorite subject for her then was “Am I in the right field?” Eventually, she decided she wasn’t and she made a switch to corporate communications, then became the manager of a communications office. Each time, though, she was more beset with uncertainty. If that’s possible.
“I’m not good at anything!” is a statement she has uttered so often, it’s eclipsed only by the number of times she has said, “Is this where I’m supposed to be?” which I have joked I would have carved on her tombstone, a joke she never found amusing.
She also never seemed to appreciate my efforts to show her all the other things in life she had to be grateful for. So what if she didn’t know what her purpose in life was? “Look on the bright side,” I’d say. “At least you have perfect 20/20 vision.” And then I’d have to take off my glasses. Not to show her how thick the lenses were, but to keep her from breaking them.
I know exactly how she felt.
It’s not that I’m not good at anything…it’s just that I can’t imagine focusing the rest of my life on any of the things I’ve had experience with. Everyone always says I’m a good writer. But will I do it every day for the rest of my life? Will I make a living at it? I’m really starting to think that the answer is no. I’m not interested in it. I keep saying I’m going to, and sometimes I even try a little, but then it just fizzles, like everything else.
Web design is what I “do” currently, freelance, but I already know for damn sure that I don’t want to do it forever. It’s boring and tedious. The best part of web design is when the project is done.
I can’t even think of anything else that I’ve done long-term. There are a zillion things I’ve tried and didn’t stick with, like piano and kung fu. I have been taking pictures for a few years now, and I am interested in learning more about photography (I think I’ve pretty much hit a plateau), so maybe that’s something I can stick with, but it’s really all I can think of. And I’m afraid that I’m not good enough at it to make it my profession, and I’m also afraid I don’t know enough about it to know if I would want to make it my profession.