The Meaning of it All
2008-08-09 - 12:20 a.m.

So, I'll come a bit clean here. I've been having a kind of existential crisis lately. Everything feels very muddled up in my head and while it isn't the whole reason for all the radio silence here lately, it is certainly one big reason. I don't feel like I have a whole lot of straightforward thoughts, so it's hard to get anything down on cyber-paper, even if it's about mundane things because I have a hell of a time just putting words into some kind of logical order.

I'm trying to really figure out what I want from life and where I want to go. new Job has taken a real turn for the worse lately, and while things aren't nearly as bad as Old Job, I don't really want to wait around until they are. I made a strict promise to myself that I would never cry in the bathroom at work again (at least not over work stuff) and I've come dangerously close once or twice recently.

The thing is, I have no idea what I really want to do with my life. I have no real concept of what I do well and enjoy doing. Saying that sounds completely ridiculous, I know, but it's true. The main stumbling block I'm running into is that I don't know what my really good, strong skills are simply because I AM good at them- I do them without trying or thinking so they never stand out to me. Or I see them as givens and therefore dismiss them without a lot of thought.

I also really do not know what I enjoy doing. At least not in a realm that will serve me in a commercial sector. I haven't really had people banging down my door asking me to read and sleep for obscene amounts of cash.

I do know that whatever I do I want to feel like I'm doing something REAL, with some kind of importance. I don't need to single handedly save the whales or find the cure for cancer (though that would be pretty cool); but I do want to be able to look back 50 years from now and say, "Hey, look what I did. That's pretty cool, I really did something with my life." But what, exactly?

Theater is the obvious option, obviously, but while I do still really enjoy designing and theater and everything about it, I don't know if it's really what I want to do forever. I don't think I really have the personality for a freelance lifestyle , I get incredibly stressed out when I don't know where my next paycheck is coming from and having to constantly network and sell myself in extremely tiring to me. I just stops being fun, if that makes sense. I also just don't feel that gut level "drive" that so many of my designer friends have. I love to do the projects,but I don't have the belly fire to push me through to the next one,the internal assurance that this is the right path, the deep down confidence that I'm not just fooling everyone, including myself,into thinking I know what I'm doing. Basically,long and short of it is while I love doing it as a side thing, as a life long sole career it just doesn't feel right.

Graduate school scares me. I'll just throw that out there. It scares me for a lot of reasons. Not the work, that scares me the least, I know I could do the work. Putting my life on hold for three years scares the piss out of me. Hitting pause at 32 and not being able to hit play again until 35 scares the crap out of me. Having to basically start from scratch at building a career in theater at 35 scares me even more. Though teaching at the college level does sound like it might be fun. Dealing with academia sounds less so.

I am also really sick and tired of being poor. The thought of having to live on a stipend and take out loans and put myself even further into debt is pretty much the very last thing I want to do. I'm at a point in my life where I really just want to be at a place where I don't have to freak out at the thought of my tires needing to be replaced or not knowing what I would do if I had some kind of emergency expense. Or be able to go on vacation without having to work out a six month financial plan to pay for it.

So, yeah, complete existential crisis. Do I try to find something I enjoy while still staying in biotech? It's relatively stable as a field and I'm learning a lot of interesting stuff, but I don't really know if there is a place in this world I'll get the creative fulfillment I want.

Do I try to find something more art based? If so, what?

Is there something else? Will it require scrapping everything I've done so far and going back to school? If that's required, what do I do until I've finished? I need to pay rent and feed myself somehow.

There's a bunch of personal stuff boiling around in my head too, but that's even less clear about what I want from whom and if it's even worth bothering with any more. Eh, like I said, that's even more confused with fewer visible options, and as some may have noticed I don't like talking about romantic entanglements as abstract concepts, at least not concerning myself directly,so I'm not even going to open that can of worms here. Wow, that was a very overly complex psudo-academic sentence if I do say so myself.

So, yeah, the long and short of it is that it basically feels like every single thing in my life is in flux right now with no real easy or clear answers. It's not a horrible place to be, but it isn't a great one either. It's mostly just a really confusing one.

Anyway, I'll close with this and throw one question out to the great interwebs:

Many of you know me pretty well, and many of you have worked with me in different scenarios as well. So, help a girl out and tell me, what am I really good at? It can be general or specific, serious or silly. I don't even really care if it seems like it would apply to anything logical, I'm just looking for some relatively objective opinions. I'm also not fishing for compliments here, so don't feel like you need to couch things in kind terms or hunt for something kind to say, so don't feel like you NEED to answer if you really think the only tings I have any business doing are sleeping and reading (I've got those two down already ;) ).

OK, so with that overly complicated request, I'm going to go fall back on my strengths- read and go to bed.

when we last left our heros… - in our next exciting installment…