Changing Direction (again)

Once again, knkelley.com is changing in parallel with the changes in my life. A few months ago, I tried to write about projects that I was trying to do outside of work in order to find my true calling. Work unexpectedly took over my life and I was forced to abandon my projects. Now I have abandoned work (i.e. I quit) and I am prepared to be totally consumed by projects! This is where I plan to document my adventures, projects and discoveries about myself.

One reason I’m doing this is because I love to write. It’s a compulsion that I have been trying to squelch for too long (in favor of a practical and financially stable engineering career).

Another reason is to show potential employers that I did more than lie on the couch, watch Netflix and send out resumes.

But the main reason is to keep me honest. I have one major goal during my time of unemployment. It is to pursue what I want to do. This notion means a lot to me because I have spent my life until now pursing what I could do. Planes and spaceships are cool; I could be an aerospace engineer. I could be practical and financially sound for the rest of my life if I get a degree in engineering. These are my past thoughts. Oddly enough, I never asked myself what I wanted to do. I never thought about what work would be so interesting that I would want to do it for the rest of my life. Now I’ve decided to think about it and doggedly pursue what I want.

The thing is… I’m not sure what that is yet.

Rationally, I’ve tried to piece together what job would “check all my boxes” (as my dad likes to say). My boxes, or requirements, would be flexible workdays, travel, some sort of writing involved etc. I have come up with some ideas, but I’m not pursing them doggedly. Why? Because they are ideas for jobs that I could do. My mind has a hard time thinking past what qualifications do I have? Is it in the right city? The ideas that my mind comes up with are limited by these restrictions. Plus, I don’t feel excited about the ideas that I come up with.

For example, I have thought that technical writing would be amazing. I have a background in engineering. I can write. I may be able to telecommute. I could travel. I like defining processes. But no matter how hard my head works to sell this, my heart isn’t in it. I like it; I could do it, but I don’t want it. I don’t want to be a technical writer badly enough to succeed at becoming one.

So I’m taking the (rather extreme – for me -) step of letting my desires guide me. Do I want to spend all day in the library? If the answer is yes, I will. If I end up wandering down the fashion section and finding it fascinating, I’ll read it. While I’m not sure what the destination will be, this method makes the direction clear.

Let me explain – in this exact moment, I can tell you what I want to do. I want to finish this blog post and go for a walk. It’s simple and clear. Do I know what I’ll do after the walk? No, I have no clue. The destination is a mystery. This method is in sharp contract to the way I’ve lived my life to this point – which is, find the destination (the analytically perfect job) and stubbornly stick to the course despite all obstacles. The issue is, if I pick the wrong destination, I’m screwed. This is what I’m realizing now (after four years of college & three years of working). It makes selecting the “right” job stressful and does not allow for changing life conditions. It all hinges on making one analytical choice correctly, which leads to a lot of spinning in my head. Was this right? Is there a better choice? Should I change my boxes?

It’s a lot simpler to just trust that I can follow my desires to an appropriate end destination. It’s not necessarily easier for me. I have to trust my gut as much as my head. I have to live without the compulsive planning that I typically do. It’s not easy…so that’s the main reason that I’m keeping this blog – to hold myself accountable to following my heart instead of my head.

I hope that some readers will enjoy taking this journey with me.

Kaitlyn

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