Right now in my life, I’m staying home with the kids, and I’m busy and fulfilled and content. My work is important. But in a couple of years, my youngest will be in Kindergarten, and I had always planned to go to work. The only problem is, I’m not totally sure what I want to do.
In Scott Adams’s “How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big”, he gives some advice on how to choose a career. “One helpful rule of thumb for knowing where you might have a little extra talent is to consider what you were obsessively doing before you were ten years old. There’s a strong connection between what interests you and what you’re good at. People are naturally drawn to the things they feel comfortable doing, and comfort is a marker for talent.”
I like making lists. I feel like they help me organize an otherwise cluttered brain. I’ll start with “what you were obsessively before you were ten years old”.
What activities did I obsess over when I was a kid?
- Sorting small things (coins, beads, buttons, legos, crayons, Halloween candy) into containers (egg cartons, bowls, fishing tackle boxes, Kaboodles)
- Watching hours of TV
- Eating large amounts of food
- Playing Legos for hours on end
- Coloring out of books, but not for artistic reasons. I would make games out of using each crayon in the collection one time and never repeat a color, and it didn’t matter if the colors made sense in the picture. I had to make sure each crayon got used and that its existence in the universe was justified.
- Listening to music or audio books while I folded towels or built Legos. I would listen in deep concentration for hours on end. I would pick apart the music and sing along with each instrument individually, which gave me the foundations for becoming a musician later.
- Digging in the mud, using the garden hose to make rivers and lakes.
- Reading (A Wrinkle in Time, The Little House Series, The Time Machine, The Headless Horseman, a random X-Files novel with lots of swearing.)
- Playing piano
- Playing pretend (survival games, soldier games, escaping bad guys…. rarely “house” or “drama” like most young girls did)
- Riding bikes, Rambo hikes, berry picking, roller blading, swimming
What activities am I ALWAYS in the mood for as an adult?
- Making lists
- Taking a nap, or at least laying around if I’m not sleepy
What activities am I passionate about but only want to do when I’m in the mood or have the energy?
- Playing music
- Housework (especially if I can listen to music or an audio book)
- Watching documentaries or educational programming
- Playing with kids
- Showering/getting ready
- Eating out
- Watching a movie
- Organizing the house
- House projects, plumbing, texturing, painting etc
- Reading education or adult development stuff (parenting books, music books, etc)
- Teaching lessons
- Having a conversation
- Academic learning
What are my core values?
- Human rights
- Lifelong learning
- Equality and fairness (as opposed to sexism, racism, etc)
- Physical fitness, healthy diet habits, healthy mental habits
- Making choices for long-term benefit, both socially and personal (money, schooling, career, family planning, etc)
- Treat yourself and others with kindness and compassion
- Respect others’ beliefs
- Respect your own time- don’t waste it.
- Respect authority, but question everything. Don’t take anything as truth until you’ve tested it yourself.
- Progress never ends
I’m not sure how this will help me decide what I want to do when I grow up. But I think I want to do something that facilitates long-term learning and progress. I would love to go back to college for a couple of years, but I can’t commit until I don’t have toddlers at home. For now, I’ll just read as much as I can and keep learning Spanish and piano.