Before I left on this journey a friend of mine asked me, “What’s your job? Everyone has a job so go do that!” Of course, he did not mean an office job. “What’s my role here? What am I here to contribute?”
This is a thought that rumbles around my head often. Currently, I travel, I write, I take photos, I care for two dogs. But what am I contributing to a larger community? I’ve considered many ideas: volunteer with pet rescues as I travel, do a day of meal-on-wheels in towns I pass through… but this kind of ‘job’ that my friend asked of me I don’t think is something one can choose. You can’t point to a thought-bubble and say, “X is my passion” – unless X truly resonates in your body. This ‘job’ isn’t a logical ‘this seems like a Good Thing To Do’ idea. It is more of a calling. A contribution that drives you to action. An identity.
Is living by example enough? Does pursuing your passion fit into that idea?
How does a writer decide to identify as “writer” vs “teacher”? Or a “photographer” instead of “administrative assistant” What drives a person to pursue a craft vs. falling into the security of a jobby job? Somewhere along the road I lost that motivation. Once upon a time, I was “an actor.” Now I’m an “IT Monkey” or “I work in IT”, but I’ve been a published writer. Where did that contribution, that passion, that calling go?
There’s this idea of the “aha!” moment, an epiphany changes your life. At least it happens in movies. Quitting one’s job to go live a footloose life on the road is such a romantic idea, and it really is romantic and joyous and beautiful and enthralling. But it’s also stressful, and exhausting, and often uncomfortable. Will I have a movie-worthy aha! moment during this odd and random adventure? Or will it simply be a series of interesting road-trips?
4 thoughts on “Identity crisis”
I think very few people are blessed (or cursed) with the grand AHA! moment. I think for many of us, we are lucky to have a few mini-aha’s (no pun intended) along the road of life.
I wholeheartedly agree, Bosque Bill! It’s a romantic notion to have that grand moment, but realistically is gaining some awareness of ourselves.
I think “job” is a Western or American need. I like the word Ikigai, 生き甲斐, Japanese for “that thing for which you get up in the morning”. That is ones identity more than how we earn a living.
What a great word and philosophy. Thank you for sharing that!
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