Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Simply Dollar: Seven Steps to Finding What You’re Truly Passionate About

Plenty of bloggers com up with lists like this, but in March of 2008, Trent at the Simple Dollar came up with a somewhat more unusual list:
  1. Maximize your health
  2. Ask questions
  3. Ignore what's "cool"
  4. Dabble in everything
  5. When something piques your interest, try it again – and again
  6. Associate with people who share this burgeoning interest of yours
  7. Don’t keep pushing it if the passion dries up quickly
Usually, when you see lists like these, there's a lot more "Figure out your skills and interests!" which is well and good, but this seems a bit less daunting when you aren't quite sure what your skills are, and your interests don't seem like anything that could lead to a career.

Check out the whole post and see what you think.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

All the Food

Chicken Tikka Masala
Chicken Tikka Masala (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The other night, for dinner, I prepared mini-turkey-loaves, with couscous and edemame on the side.

Last night, it was chicken stir-fry over linguine noodles.

Sunday, I had chicken tikka masala with my writing workshop; afterwards, I met my husband at a bar, where he had buffalo wings.

Tonight, we're having gyros before book club.

There are not many places on Earth or times in history when this kind of variety, not only between meals but within them, is just part of everyday life.

I'm blessed with abundance, true, but it's not just that...

I don't live where pizza is sold by the kilogram and wine is cheaper than soda.

I'll never be a regular at a pub that served Shakespeare.

A tapas bar crawl in my neighborhood would involve too much walking to be worth it.

But on an ordinary night, in my own tiny Queens apartment kitchen, I prepared an American meat, a Middle Eastern grain/pasta, and an Asian vegetable.  And it was just a normal weeknight meal.

Where else?  When else?

That's a sort of niche.
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Friday, January 25, 2013

Friday Review #4

-500px (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
My husband and I had friends staying with us from out of town while they attended a wedding, which meant we had a lovely dinner and two very nice lunches with them; while they were at the wedding, we went to a whiskey-tasting and game night, a combination that, at least on my part, may have been ill-advised. Sunday, another friend from out of town, and a mutual friend of our primary guests, came up to join us all for lunch. I really needed my day off Monday for introversion recovery.

Somehow, we also managed to make it to the gym on Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Thursday.

Tuesday I attended a workshop on careers for Generation Y (of which I am a part, though I prefer the term "Millennial"). That's bound to inspire some upcoming essays.  If you're curious, the full title was: "Is this my right career? How to articulate your value proposition and definite your ideal career path," and was presented by Allison Cheston, Career Advisor.  She's great; look her up.

John Adams by David McCullough has been my primary reading material this week.  I really should write about him sometime. Adams, I mean... although, now that I think about it, writing about McCullough could be interesting, too.

The, ahem, ill-advised parts of whiskey-tasting-night are poking some of my buttons. I know I should say, [bleep] happens, be smarter next time -- and I intend to -- but there's a part of me that insists "everyone's going to hate me now!" My husband assuring me that it's not true isn't as comforting as it probably should be -- after all, he's not any more psychic than I am.

I got a bit of knitting on my swap project done. This is my first time using double-pointed needles, and it's a lot easier than I thought it would be. Not sure I'm quite ready to make socks yet, though!
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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Rick Steves - Blog Gone Europe: Why I Write

English: Group of American tourists encounter ...
English: Group of American tourists encounter Rick Steves in the streets of Italy, all there due in part to his travel programs. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In March of 2001, travel writer Rick Steves posted to his blog an essay on why he writes.

Many writers post similar essays, and they tend to list reasons the way Steves does, but in the end, the reader (at least, when I am the reader) gets the impression that the real answer is "I write because I have to."

There's a bit of that in me, too, although I sometimes find it hard to fight off inertia and get started.

Still, I like the idea that Steves thinks of writing as a way to amplify his voice.  His passion seems to be traveling, and helping others travel, well. If he can amplify his voice to serve that passion, good for him.

For what it's worth, I love his guide books.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Didn't do study abroad. Life changed anyway.

My junior year of college, essentially my entire social group studied abroad.  I, for various reasons mostly beyond my control, stayed behind, attending school in the same city where I had lived my entire life.

I was terrified. Study-abroad is a "life-changing experience", and as the only one in our little group not to have her life changed, how would I still fit in?  Would they outgrow me?

So the other day, I decided to sit down and write about how I could recapture some of those missing experiences, and gain those missing values, even though I'm never again going to be in a situation where I can drop out of my everyday life and study in Europe for three months.

So how does study abroad change a student's life?

Well, apparently a student comes home from study abroad mature, independent, open-minded to diversity, and interested in lifelong learning.

But wouldn't the average student who is interested in study abroad already be someone mature, independent, open-minded to diversity, and interesting in lifelong learning?

And doesn't the average young adult generally come into his or her adult self substantially between the ages of 18 and 22?

So isn't it perfectly reasonable to wonder if these remarkable changes would have occurred in these students at roughly the exact same time no matter where they studied?

I'm missing a line on my resume, a second language, a set of good stories to swap at the bar.

But just try convincing anyone who knows me that I never developed a lifelong love of learning. You would actually have more success prying my library card out of my cold, dead hands.
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Monday, January 21, 2013

I Don't Know What I Want... Chapter 1

 I Don't Know What I Want, but I Know It's Not This

 By Julie Jansen

Part 1: Where Are You Now?
Chapter 1: Why Do You Want or Need to Change Your Work?

Jansen jumps in by pointing out that burnout is not caused by hard work, but by meaningless work; that is, work that has no meaning, personally, to the worker. Other factors toward dissatisfaction she cites include age discrimination, incompatible work cultures, difficulty with work-life balance, and general discontent and a feeling of "stuckness".

Jansen concludes the chapter by reminding the reader that the point of this book is to find work that won't burn you out.

The Takeaway

Without getting into details because I like having a job, it's food for thought.

The Challenge!

Since last time, I journaled about my personal work history, and discovered a few patterns of my own.  One of them makes sense when you recall that I'm an introvert: I don't exactly hate working with customers per se, but doing it all day is so emotionally exhausting that I don't feel good about myself on days that don't go smoothly. 

For next week, I'm going to consider jobs I've had and what led me to this kind of exhaustion. While not job is perfect, I can think of the ones that were better or worse, and introversion is definitely part of the pattern.  Worth thinking about this week.

If you're following along, do the same and discuss it in the comments.

Reminder: Links to books go to my Amazon Affiliate page, so if you click through and then buy something, I will get a small kickback.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Friday Review #3

Cover of "Kindle Wireless Reading Device,...
Cover via Amazon

It was a very social weekend.  My husband and I went out for dinner and drinks with friends on Friday, and then I went to a game night on Saturday. Since then, though, I haven't done much socializing at all.  We're hosting friends this weekend, so I've mostly been cleaning. Joy.

Stress about getting the apartment clean was amplified by a work curve-ball, which otherwise would not have been that big a deal on its own. Everything seems to have worked out.

I'm enjoying my job, but (because?) I'm constantly getting tasks that use new skills. There's quite a bit I have to learn, but I'm on it.

On my Kindle, I'm reading a book for work. I finished a book a friend self-published (Agents of Change by Guy Harrison), as well as Pulchritude by Ana Mardoll, and my Free Amazon Prime selection this month, the Post-Human Trilogy by David Simpson. I've picked at The Complete Father Brown Mysteries, as I have since this summer, and I started another Kindle book as well, but I haven't gotten sucked in yet so we'll see how that goes.

In dead-tree books, I've currently got two I'm actively juggling, not counting the book-club book which my husband is currently working on, plus I've just about finished Columbine by Dave Cullen -- I just have to finish a few end notes. As I mentioned on Monday, I misplaced my copy of I Don't Know What I Want, But I Know It's Not This.

It was a good weekend for knitting! I knocked a chunk out of a square for an afghan I'm making, finished a coaster, and started a little handbag for a swap I'm doing. I also continued to pick at my scarf, which is the project I work on in bars and subways and anywhere I need something mindless to pick at. The week has been less productive, due to the cleaning I mentioned above. I'm really looking forward to next week.

Are any of you on ravelry? Let me know in the comments.
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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Ana Mardoll's Rambling Place: Tuesday Open Thread - Goals

I was surprised this week to see that the open thread at Ana Mardoll's Rambling Place was about goals, and more specifically:

It dawned on me the other day that I’m 30 years old, married and a mother and to all outward appearances an adult… and yet I have absolutely no idea what I want to be when I grow up.

What’s your dream job?  Are you already doing it?  If not, is it something you’re working towards, or a pie-in-the-sky dream?  Do you even know what it is?

I encourage you to go participate in the discussion, and check out some of the great deconstructions she writes while you're there.

One thing, though: Ana and her community are really dedicated to keeping comment threads as a safe space, so please review her comment policy before you jump into the fray.
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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

How do you spend your time?

The Star Trek fanzine Spockanalia contained th...
The Star Trek fanzine Spockanalia contained the first fan fiction in the modern sense of the term. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
One piece of advice I've seen more than once is that to find
your passion, consider what you do when you have nothing else to do.

Well. This is embarrassing.

One thing I do is read fanfiction.

For those of you unfamiliar, fanfiction (or fanfic) is a type of
fiction based on another person's work.  This goes all the back to the
ancient Greeks, who would use the myths to write comedies and
tragedies and sometimes mess with the relationships.  It was also
featured prominently in the 1960s, when Star Trek fanzines featured
short stories about the characters by the fans.  Kirk/Spock and
Kirk/McCoy fic traces back to these days, and the beloved epsiode The
Trouble With Tribbles is a classic example of fanfic becoming canon,
that is: officially recognized.

Now, I'm not going to  get into my fandoms, and I'm not a Big Name
Fan (BNF, if you like), so there's no point in googling me for the
goods. I don't go to conventions, and rarely post to forums or blogs,
even as I lurk in them.  I've written very little fanfic myself, and
definitely none worth reading.

But I like to read it.  And even if I liked to write it, so what?

See, "they" also say that if you find your passion, the opportunities
will follow.  Well, pretty much the only thing that makes fanfic even
*remotely* legal is that the writer doesn't make any money off of it.

So if I want to find my way based on my passion... I need to find
something else to do with my spare time.
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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Internet Sabbath

English: The Sabbath Rest
English: The Sabbath Rest (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
You may have noticed that I've been trying to post daily during the workweek.

Except for Tuesdays.

Ages ago I tried an experiment that I liked a lot, but that fell by the wayside when some circumstances changed.

That experiment?

Internet Sabbath.

Once a week (Tuesdays), I back off.  No fanfic, no facebook, no Google Reader, minimal email, etc.

And only housekeeping posts like this one (and last week's), which I set up in advance..

Now, one potentially nice thing about this is that it frees up a day for things like guest posts; if I manage to put together some kind of community, maybe I can even put up some open threads.

As for weekends, I'm keeping them free for now, but who knows?  There may be content then, too, some day.

In the meantime, consider taking an Internet Sabbath of your own, or maybe a TV Sabbath or smartphone Sabbath  We spend so much time in front of screens, and I for one really enjoy taking a day to step back and read a dead-tree book, or work on my knitting, or catch that movie that's been sitting on my TiVo for months.

Let me know if you've tried it, and/or what you think.
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