As I have set out on this journey, I often question my motivations. Why did I choose to pursue writing? Why not continue with Electrical Engineering? Surely I did not see full-time author/blogger/insert some writing job here as my career path out of college. What happened to spur me in this direction? Let's turn the clock back a few years. Let's go back before college, before high school, all the way into elementary and middle school. These years can be good indicators of where one's passion truly lives for a few reasons:
- The notion of being "just okay" in any area of your life is non-existent. When you are young, you are excellent at everything you do. All art is hung on the refrigerator and lego creations curated for future entry into the museum of "cool things that kids made at home."
- No child is concerned about whether or not their pursuits will result in a paycheck. Well, at least no child that I can think of, if you have a different experience please let me know. Children only really pursue that which they truly enjoy.
I know that there are probably a few more reasons, if you think of one please let me know in comments.
I love Legos.
No really, I love them. One of the first things that I thought when we found out we were having a boy was "Yes! In five to seven years I will have someone to play Legos with again!" Though, I won't lie to you, I will gladly play Legos with a future daughter should we be so blessed.
At any rate, one of my favorite activities as a child was to build various things out of Legos and play out stories with them. I would build spaceships and space stations, then watch as captain Abe of my own starship fought against all odds to defend his people from certain doom. Or arctic explorer Abe would brave the frigid cold to advance the cause of science; all while riding snowmobiles about and running from rogue polar bears. Or there was the aquatic kingdom, or the jungle adventurers, or just some city folk milling about town. Star Wars was a big theme, though I do remember a rather long stint with a Star Trek themed spacecraft. Either way a lot of time was spent in the science fiction realm.
Judging by my love of Legos it would be really easy to say that I enjoyed Engineering. It is true that I like building the sets. I enjoyed getting new kits and following the instructions to put them together. I also like rummaging through the expansive box of assorted pieces that we kept to build my own creations. In these respects I can easily see how I became an Electrical Engineer.
However, the part that I think I overlooked initially is what happened after the building was finished. It's easy to overlook, but the implications are huge. I was not building these creations just for the sake of building them, or because I thought it was fulfilling to assemble these kits. No, the reason I enjoyed the creation process was the anticipation of utilizing that creation in my current Lego narrative, or maybe even to start an entirely new storyline. Sometimes I would even have a few main characters to control (my brothers would take the other lead roles). I may have considered building something just for the sake of building it, but that would have been abnormal, and would not have brought as much joy.
Did you catch the difference? I didn't at first so it's ok if you missed it. I like to create things, not for the joy of creating them, but so that they can be used to tell a story or in some other meaningful way. That, I think, is the gap between my day job and dream job.
Your Mileage May Vary
Now obviously this exact method for finding your passion will not work in every situation, so please use with caution. Your mileage may vary. In my case, I was able to glean some valuable insights from looking backwards.
- I was not completely off in choosing my career path. Engineering is close to my passion, but I think that the application is everything in this case.
- I enjoy creating narratives.
- It is not too late to start something new.
- I have to be careful even in this endeavor to make sure that I am pursuing my true passion.
That's just a little snippet of my past, of which I will probably have more stories to tell down the line.
What can you learn about yourself by looking back?