Here is what I did last Tuesday. First, I had to deal with some editing emergencies (a few hours a week I do copy editing for an economic analysis platform). I did part of them during my long commute to work (not complaining, all my choice!), then I had to deal with some research problems (just the usual does this idea even make any sense?, why would we even care about the issue at hand?, what would be our added valued?, etc.etc.). And because I did not have the internal satisfaction that I rocked either of them, I decided to swtich off by focusing on the online course I am currently taking on introduction to forensic science (which by the way, is jaw-droppingly awesome!).
And in between the research, the editing, the courses (that I keep on signing up for, but not always completing), I also do a lot of sports (a few boxing training on a good week, and currently I am supposed to be preparing for a marathon), I enjoy cooking and baking, and am a mild book worm. I am not being complacent, or think that I have especially interesting life or interests (not at all). The existential question here is how do you stick and dedicate yourself to one thing and one thing only? It’s not like I don’t know what to do with the rest of my life, but having this balance, or rather this craze and constant rush is what keeps my motor running.
And the annoying part is that I am not exceptionally talanted. I cannot draw, do not play any musical instrument, do not dance, cannot sing. I used to write some poetry back in the days but I do not do that anymore (only the occasional outburst of some jibberish, which hardly constitutes writing). If I was extremely good at one particular thing, I would not need to think twice about taking it up seriously. But I cannot do one thing extremely well, and unfortunately a day comes when you need to have a (semi-) regular job and devote it your time, develop, grow at it and meanwhile, enjoy it. And here is the real challenge for me. Because choosing one option automatically rules out all the others, and you will never know the counterfactual would be. So, I really wish I was a super talanted painter, a gifted writer, or even an inspired economists. However, I am mediocre at best. Part of it comes of the nature of the work I do. In academia (unless you have become a nerd superstar), projects often do not work out, despite your hard work and efforts. I referred in an earlier post as a “fail”, and then a friend of mine pointed that for him this is not a failure. And, of course, he is right. If you do your best, work hard on an idea and a project, but for some reason, often beyond your power, you do not reach the final outcome, it does not mean you failed. The truth is, you probably have learned a lot about this particular problem at hand, or certain method, or phenomenon, and maybe a thing or two about yourself and the people around you. Anyways, I am diverting again. My point was that academic reasearch usually keeps your humble (because there is always someone brigther than you who did something in a better way than yourself), and honestly, I do not feel I have a comparable talent to those of other people in the field. Of course, that is not the end of the world. But somehow, I wish I was really good at one thing and one thing only, instead on being very interested and average on a scope of them. I prefer to (maybe delusionally) console myself that this is a talent in itself as well.