Monday, September 9, 2013

I Don't Know What I Want... Chapter 5

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

By Julie Jansen

Part III: How Do  You Get There?

Chapter 5: Where's the Meaning?

It's no surprise that "finding meaning" is the #1 reason for a career change, according to Jansen's unscientific poll. But "meaning" is completely subjective, so you have to know how you define it before you can find it. So... 
Step 1: Complete the "Where's the Meaning?" Self-Assessment
That is to say, how do I (or you) define "meaning"?

Well, we start by looking back at our lists of values from earlier.

Keeping this list in mind, we answer a few questions:
1. When you think about the things you find meaningful, what comes to mind? Include things that are significant or important in your career as well as in your personal life. Your list of "things" should include ideals and feelings as well as activities.
Hmm, this is hard. Just on a stream-of-consciousness level, I'm coming up with Family, Friends, Solitude, Creativity, Good Food, Comfort, Moderate Challenge, Accomplishment, Art... Well, you guys read my "What Makes You Happy?" posts, right? I guess there's a lot of overlap.
2. Which of these things are you involved with now? Which have you done in the past? Which would you like to be involved with in the future? Be as specific as possible.
Past: I've had close groups of friends before, but we've always grown apart. At the same time, in at least one of those cases, I wasn't really in-tune with how introversion works, so I felt like I couldn't afford to take time for myself. Creativity has always been on the table, but in ever-changing forms, and I think you could say the same about art, although I've personally always been better at crafts than fine art. Moderate challenge comes in there, too. As for accomplishment... I guess I'm not sure how to evaluate that one. Well, therein lies a problem, I guess.

Present:  Family is good, although I don't see them as often as I think I should. Well, "should" is a dangerous word, isn't it? I have some solid friends, and enough of them are introverts themselves that we're not freaking on top of each other all the time, nor do I freak out if it's been a couple weeks. I've actually got plenty of restorative solitude, and Chris and I have become foodies in the last few years. Ideally, I might even want to consider cutting back on both of those things, but that's another thought for another time. Comfort is a tough one, but I can't even use moderate challenge as my excuse for not having that; you'd think I'd have at least one or the other, right? Creativity and art are things I have to force myself to make time for, but I'm getting better at that. As for accomplishment? Ooh, yeah, there's a weak point.  Looks like that's a common thread there, too.

Future: This strikes me as a stupid question. Here is a list things I find meaningful.  Do I want to be more involved with them in the future? Of course I do. Come on, now.
3. Take another look at your answers to questions 1 and 2 and hone down your list. Be honest. Are there things on your list that you believe are meaningful but you know, deep down, you'd never really pursue?
...Nope. I'm good.

Now it says that we are not to move on in this chapter until we are clear on our own definitions of meaning. Looks like meaning, for me, right now, is about Balance and Accomplishment. Yeah, that feels right.  And you know, as we go through life, we're allowed to change that.

This is getting long, so we'll finished the self-assessment next time. But so far, how are you defining "meaning"?

Updated 1/27/14 to correct formatting.
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