A world citizen may provide value to society by using knowledge acquired across cultural contexts.
Written 11 October
[This was written as part of response to an email I received a week ago about my direction and how to get there.]
I’m struggling a bit because I don’t really know how I can enrich my own life right now. What is it that I want that I’m not doing? Where do I want to go from here?
I want to be better at things. Photography. Writing. These things take time and practice, conscious effort being put in, reading up on the ways to make things better, working at it. Largely I need to take the time to do it. I haven’t been as much as I should, and it hasn’t been focused on moving towards an end so much as just doing it for fun. It helps, but not as much.
I want to maintain a healthy lifestyle. That means eating better because I actually like the taste of healthy food and it is cheaper over here. It means not eating a bag of chips just because it is there and already paid for. It means actually stopping smoking again, for more real this time. And it means staying active now that I’m back in a city. It doesn’t have to be the level of hiking over mountains and across vast plains that it was in the Outback, but it needs to be more than the past few days have been of just sitting around.
I want to legitimately sort out my head. How am I? How do I come across to others? What are my failings? What do I need to do to change those? How can I be a better person? Do I want to work on all of my shortcomings, or are there a few that I accept as flaws that I’m perfectly happy with?
I want to get a better handle on my brain. I can’t fully focus. I can’t meditate without getting distracted by some sound or conversation or moving object. I can’t just move past a heated argument. If I get hurt, I hold that hurt in and stay upset until I sleep it off. I want to find my reset switch because I hate spending a day just being annoyed or angry. It is a waste of a day, and the more it happens, the more the spiral continues down. I don’t want to do that anymore.
I don’t need to figure out a long term plan for life. I don’t need to know where I will be or where I’m going. I don’t need a career direction. Nor fancy things. Nor much in the way of property. I am quite happy with a camera, a computer, music, and human connection.
I want more of a routine. I’ve spent so long on the road and changing it up day to day only to realize that some sort of a routine, even if it is just a few things that I try to do at some point every couple days, is actually something I want to have. It is my way of actually accomplishing things incrementally. Without it I tend to forget the things I want to be working on in favor of those that jump up and get in my face: hunger, sleep, getting to the next place, whoever is around me.
And I want to get better at conversation and reading people and understanding social dynamics and building that instant connection whereby people will be more comfortable with me. I’m not going for the level of pick-up artist to convince someone to go home with me. That just seems manipulative in its own right. But I would like to reach the level of someone who puts others at ease when they walk up. Nothing too much, but I want people to be happy I’m around and to be happy to meet me.
So what does that all mean for me? I need to form more of a routine and fill it with some good behaviors. It means that I need to do some reading and practice skills, observe others and learn.
What does that mean for those around me?
It means I would like them to be encouraging, keeping an eager attitude towards my goals and pushing me to be a better person. I will try to see it not as nagging but as assistance because I’m not always strong enough to see what I want and push myself to get it. They can give me honest feedback on photography projects and my writing, and I promise to try to take the criticisms well. They can ask me what I’ve done for myself today, and this week. They can ask me what I’ve done for others. They can observe my behaviors and hear the way I talk and analyze it and point out things I’m doing or saying that don’t take me in the direction I want to go. It is easy to know what I mean to say, but I cannot observe from an outside perspective how I come across.
I want to be working towards a better me. More skilled, more comforting, more connected. It will take discipline on my part. But it will be the help of others that dictates whether it is a very slow and gradual shift or a more direct one.