28 October, 2010

Pursuit #52: Deep thoughts, by Me

Lately I have been pondering this questions a lot:  What Should I Do With My Life? It's an age-old question that many of us ask ourselves periodically (or perhaps all the time? Ha). In April, after a couple years of quarter-life crisis-ing, I finally decided to quit my job and change my career path. After talking to friends and an analysis of what I want out of a job and my personal qualities and job shadowing, I decided on Occupational Therapy. Now 6 months later, and knee deep in prerequisite classes that are required for admission to an OT program and grad school applications, I seem to be asking myself that same question. AGAIN. Or rather, is this really what I want to do with my life?

Maybe I'm just one of those directionless people. A career nomad. Or maybe I still haven't figured out "who I really am" yet and don't know myself well enough to choose something. Or maybe I'm holding back from what I really want to do out of fear, and have only chosen career paths based on false pretenses. I think I'm a pretty intelligent person. So why is answering this question so difficult for me?

I stumbled upon this book which has assured me that I'm not alone in these thoughts. Author Po Bronson surveyed 900 people over 2 years about this omnipresent question in order to write this book. It has also reassured me that for these people in the book "It wasn’t just a matter of finding the right puzzle piece to match their skills; they had to grow as a person first." 

The past 6 months have definitely been a growing experience for me. They have made me realize a few things:

1. Sometimes the things we think we want, aren't really what we want. 

2. The way to figure out what we want should not be a heavily analytical process. The answers (as hokie as it sounds) are in our hearts, not our minds.

3. Our true callings are rarely "epiphanies." And they're usually rather unclear. 

4. Making mistakes is part of the process, as it is necessary for learning. We learn from the failures.

I don't have it figured out yet; but I decided for now that that's perfectly acceptable. I'll continue to meander down my windy path and hopefully I'll find some good things along the way...

Pursuit #51: Isn't it ironic?

A couple weeks ago, I was doing some reading in the magazine Psychology Today and I was a bit surprised at what I found. Consequently, yes, Alanis, it is ironic that according to psychological researchers people who seek happiness are less likely to actually achieve their goal of being happier. Well, shoot. There goes my "Happiness Project." Poof! Just like that.

But you know what? If there's anything I've learned from my 3 recent psychology classes, it's this: psychology is a science (as is the case with all branches of science) that is full of lots of theories (read: not necessarily true), correlations with less causation, and lots of generalization with exceptions. That doesn't mean there is no truth to the study they did. But it also doesn't mean that there is...See? Now I'm talking like a real psychologist:)

So I say, go on, seek happiness. I mean what's the alternative, really? Seeking unhappiness? That's just silly. It's all about the approach. Trying to be happy is not like trying to learn how to master something. It's simply about surrounding yourself and filling your life with the things that make you happy: friends, family, riding your bike, watching TV, collecting stamps, metal detecting on the beach, chasing tornadoes, making your own cheese...ya know, whatever floats yer boat.

14 October, 2010

Pursuit #50: Chi-Town

I love Chicago. Like, I want to marry it. It's got delicious burgers (try the kobe burger - probably my favorite burger ever), hot dogs, tea cafes with visible brewing rooms in the back and tea-infused eats, aggressive plans for making the city greener, intriguing architecture, good shopping (Wicker Park and West Town etc), rivers and lakes, a beach, blues/jazz clubs. It's like NYC, but at least 11 times less filthy (this is evidence-based research since every time I am in NYC I get dirty fingernails and black boogers by the end of the day...but not in Chicago!) and 7 times less crowded. I used to love NYC, and I still hold it dear, but then...I found Chicago and it is my latest love affair. I was also excited thinking there were less hipsters in Chicago, but then I went to Logan Square and that's where they all live apparently.  Anyway. Chicago or bust. 

Chicago at night:)

The theatre

View from our hotel room of Marina City, House of Blues & the corncob buildings

Fall colors by the Art Institute

Just a giant eyeball, no big deal

10.10.10 and the runners are off!

It actually got up to 84 degrees on marathon day. HOT!

Remember this scene from Married With Children?! "Love and marriage, love and marriage..."

Bridge city

Bike racks at the subway stations, what a novel idea (DC hint hint)

The brewing room at Argo Tea

Cool architecture everywhere

The cloud

Not a UFO, it's an ampitheater

A fountain face

12 October, 2010

Pursuit #49: Macaroon craze

I'm part of a macaroon craze, that consists of...me. (Well, I have 2 friends who also enjoy these treats, though they haven't formally inducted themselves into my craze). I'm spreading the word: these are tasty treats. I bought one of each flavor at Alliance Bakery in Chicago, for a total of 8. Newsflash: 8 isn't enough to satisfy my craze. They were all incredibly delicious. Pistachio, Chai, Rose, Blueberry, Raspberry, Orange, and I think Peanut Butter and some other delicious but unknown flavor...did your head just explode?

PS If you need a quick fix Trader Joe's carries some frozen versions which aren't bad.

One happy little macaroon family

Pursuit #48: Chair in the sky

Today I flew through the air. Now, I didn't just fly, but I flew at speeds of 600 mph. Impressed? There's more. I flew all the way from Chicago to Dulles, VA. That's a distance of 577 miles. AND all the while, I was just sitting in a chair snacking on pretzels (nom nom nom), sipping soda and reading a magazine.  AMAZING RIGHT?!?! 

Flying on planes is, well,  INCREDIBLE. And wholly under-appreciated. The comedian Louis C.K. made some very excellent and amusing points in his stand-up when I saw him a couple years ago live. Every time I fly now I think about this spiel: