Something I recently noticed about myself is that I tend to look for inspiration on the internet. I search and dig for clues as to what My Next Opportunity should be based on articles I read or successful strangers I stumble upon through podcasts and videos. There have been countless leads I’ve found through the internet that I convince myself are right for me. On paper or screen they might be, but I’ve never had something I’ve found digitally pan out unless there was already a ‘real life’ component connecting me to it. This includes jobs, internships, riding opportunities, trips and whatever else I’m forgetting.
I’ve yet to find my purpose, my passion, my “Do this next” sign, in a Pinterest board, personality quiz, political podcast, or hours-later-rabbit-hole. Instead, bits and pieces of myself have been revealed over the course of a riding lesson or phone call with a friend I’ve been meaning to catch up with. I feel energized after getting coffee with my aunt, a retired oncology nurse, and two of her former coworkers. I feel the pull to draw, paint or write while listening to new music or after watching the trees sway, neighbors walk, clouds drift. Before I do any of those things however, I usually get back on my laptop, convinced I need more information – more references, prior to getting started. By this time the feeling has left, yet I keep searching for it; trying to find it in the very place that took it away.
‘It’ being the connection that inspired me to create or reach out. Now, when I actually interact with people (even through the internet) this doesn’t apply, but it’s when I become passive – wanting to benefit through the interactions or creations of others without risking that messiness myself, that I’m in trouble. I go nowhere and those awful feelings of having accomplished nothing in addition to comparison, set in.
The answer seems simple – get out more.
Go, do, be, try, fail, gain, live.
I’ve gotten better, mainly because of a job which draws me out of the house a reliable four days a week. Those three days off are hit or miss; I know I don’t want to jam my schedule full of things those days, but I can do better than two hours for a riding lesson on just one of those days. I think the reason I don’t is because it’s more comfortable to search and research anonymously than to go through the effort of finding a live thing to attend (that could potentially cost money), determining whether that thing is one-time or a commitment, also wondering if I want to go by myself or convince someone else to go (and then lose the flexibility to shape-shift to whatever the situation requires of me – another story for another day)…
It is WAY easier to stay home.
And if I’m doing something I actually enjoy or challenge myself, cool. But the whole numb scroll/read/research on my laptop is not how I want to spend my days. Always avoiding putting myself out there when that’s not what I want to do. I’m trying to figure out my values, as I’ve just gone by assumptions for as long as I can remember. I think one of them is authenticity, a word I know the definition of but not my definition. It might as well be a foreign language, instead of just a word. Like a language, I’m not going to learn it just by reading about it – I’ve got to practice it. Equally painful/awkward, but equally greater reward if I suffer through it.