As I watched my 40th birthday slowly creep up on me, I sought opinions on what I should do to commemorate it. One friend suggested I write a manifesto. At first I thought I couldn’t do such a thing, assuming that I would have some sort of answers about life when I don’t. But I looked up what a manifesto means: “A manifesto is a published verbal declaration of the intentions, motives, or views of the issuer.”
For whatever reason, the thought of it being about my own views rather than some fundamental truth made it easier. Since my thirties have been a time of re-evaluating my life, I thought summing it up could have value for me if no one else. I will not claim this is brilliant or insightful. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that these are things that some people deal with much better than I have. It’s just what I’ve been struggling with and the answers that I found helpful.
I meant to publish this on my birthday, but I didn’t manage that. So here’s the belated manifesto.
Next Tuesday marks the last day of my Passion Search workshop. By that time, I’m supposed to have my final homework completed. This consists of two things: One is something visual that’s supposed to remind me of what is important to me. The other is at least one “vision statement.” For the latter, I can pick from an assortment of aspects about my life to make the vision statement about. It could be a statement about my path in life, it could be about work, it could be something else entirely.
In a rare moment of studiousness, and following the instructions I’ve been given, I’ve gone back through all the notes. I also listened to the one workshop session I had remembered to record. (So I got to spend 45 minutes “enjoying” the sound of myself talking. Ugh.) I’ve picked out keywords, written them on note cards. Then I wrote on the back of each of the cards what those words mean to me. And now I’ve been staring at these cards infrequently, trying to find some sort of meaning in it.
This has mostly resulted in a wave of panic hitting me. In my mind I’m flinching back and flailing my hands in front of my face in a vain attempt to protect myself. I haven’t literally done that. It’s just the best description I have for my mood.
All I’ve been able to figure out is that it involves “stories” some how. That’s what I’ve managed to pull together after almost two months.
I didn’t know what to expected when I started the Passion Search workshop I’m doing, but I don’t think I expected it to be as emotionally challenging as it has turned out.
A lot of the homework has involved reviewing high and low points in my life and trying to understand what helped or hindered me at that time. It’s brought up a lot of memories I just hadn’t put much thought towards, and I’m finding that some of them are more painful than I realized. Mostly stuff that involves my father.
I recently had a second free interaction with the Centerpoint Institute. The founder had a couple trainees learning how to be career coaches and needed a Guinea pig for them to practice their skills. Since “free” is a great price, I offered to go in. I figured it would allow me to get a better taste for what they had to offer.
This post has ended up being longer than intended. There’s a lot of frustration. You’ve been warned.
I haven’t written much recently about my progress for a couple reasons. Part of it is that I’ve been pretty busy during Camp NaNoWriMo, working on a novel that I under outlined and had to improvise frantically with. So that was fun. I hit 50,001 words and stopped. I need to send it to my wife to see how awful she thinks it is. It’s gone into a lot of places I hadn’t intended or anticipated, and I don’t know how I feel about that.
Before I get into my recent visit to the Centerpoint Institute, I thought I’d share a couple other related bits of news that don’t fit in elsewhere.
First off, the HR person from the Career Support group sent me some pages from a book called Do What You Are, specifically listing out likely career possibilities that fit with my Myers-Briggs personality type (INFJ). Some of what it says in abstract seems like it matches my personality. But the specific jobs seem less like a good match. I half wonder if they mean the same thing I do when I think “introvert.”
A lot of the things listed are very social: career counselor, teacher, social worker, “director, social service agency,” crisis hotline operator, “diversity manager-human resources.” A lot of these leave me with a feeling of cold dread in my stomach. “I have to talk to how many people?!”
There’s also a part of me that wonders if my general stress level is exacerbating my social anxiety, making it harder for me to think about jobs that require a lot of human interaction.
Second, in the interest of trying to offset some of my expenses (especially related to Mad Scientist Journal), I’ve started a Patreon page. So you can show your love with moneys: http://www.patreon.com/bolthy
I’ve written and deleted a few different posts that border on this over the last several months. Generally they revolved around some frustration with something I had done or was doing (going to conventions, writing, whatever) that I wasn’t happy with. I ended up scrapping them because ultimately the disatisfaction I experienced arose from my own internal issues.
I didn’t want to muddy other things just because I have issues, and I couldn’t give an honest assessment without reflecting those. So I generally gave up. Because I hate the idea of filling my blog with my own existential whining. And I have a lot of things I don’t talk about.
I’ve lately felt motivated to do something about this and begun taking small steps. Since I know I’m hardly alone in this, I figured I’d share my experiences. I don’t know where I’m going with this. But hopefully my broken and scorched trail will help someone else.