Why ask why?

My personality teeters on the razor sharp fence between introvert and extrovert. I like to think that I have pretty successfully adapted to utilize each tendency to its maximum utility (uh, law school = introvert tendency helped me zero in; ability to talk to people from across the world & socioeconomic spectrum = extrovert skills rock). Even so, it was with some practice that I steered myself a little more into the extrovert world during my late teens and early twenties; who didn’t? During that time, I stopped asking “why” so much, I stopped thinking about consequences and I started living in the moment, or so I thought. Now that my 20s are safely in the past, I can look back and report that denial is stronger than the moment. I digress! All of this musing is merely an introduction to a post about why I blog.

The following line inspired me to corral my errant thoughts about blogging and summarize them in a post:

“It’s about the value of living a passionate life, one with self-imbued purpose and empowerment, with active, deliberate living.”

That line was written on the blog “Maleficus Amor” in a post called “Social Networking.”

It echoes a theme of the book “Moonwalking with Einstein” – (which I reviewed late last week): deliberate practice leads to excellence. Whether achieving a certain level of performance is the end goal, or perhaps just achieving any goal, you only reach goals with deliberate action. Sure, you may stumble your way into a good life, with few complaints, and you could live quite contently that way for a long time. Yet, that is not the way of Jill – I have never been attracted to that sort of existence. I wanted to talk to strangers, I wanted to read read read, I wanted to be a painter, ballerina, environmental warrior, lawyer, doctor, novelist, journalist, scientist, philosopher, and on and on. I wanted adventure!

This curiosity and verve for life has served me well socially and physically (I generally move my body enough to offset my food and drink indulgences, all in moderation of course). Yet, it also extended my time as an undergrad (well, at least I have fewer college semesters than Uncle Bill!). My varied interests, along with a healthy fear of commitment, led to a varied set of experiences, and expertise in almost none of them (except those that are considered “hobbies” by employers, geesh). I can barely make my way through this paragraph without writing parentheses in every sentence, is that really deliberate living? Is it deliberate practice?

For me, it was fairly deliberate. But now I am entering a new phase of my life and my goals are changing. To live  a passionate life has always been my greatest dream. I am fortunate to be passionate about my life partner, family and friends, about living in Sicilia, and about the balance I strive for in my spiritual, physical and emotional health. The missing piece for me is being passionate about my vocation. What is my life’s work?

Reviewing my work history, I smile and laugh as I think about the joys of babysitting and earning precious spending cash at such a young age. Then, there was Marketplace (yay, Lisa!), a gas station, the Frost Top, a very short stint at McDonald’s, and then many serving jobs (restaurants, people!), a lab assistant in a neurophysiology lab, autism therapist, law clerk/assistant office manager, and on and on. I had a broad range of volunteer experiences, too, hospital greeter, environmental groups, teen crisis counseling, sexual assault survivor group, interning on Capitol Hill, other campaigning, community meal programs. Yet, even though I feel a solid sense of having served my community, and being fulfilled in return, I still do not see that steady thread of a vocation, I do not know that any of this makes up my life’s work, and I cannot see where that silver thread of motivation and ambition is leading to next.

In my life now, I seek a connection to a community; such a connection that will sustain itself through my future re-locations (as long as we stay in the Navy), through my child-bearing years (yes, Mom, it’s still on the table), through my mid-life musings. I am not sure that blogging is that connection (who knows, maybe!), though blogging is one of the deliberate steps I am taking toward finding my vocation. Through blogging, I am finding my voice, meeting new people, deciding how I want to write and where I want my voice to be in the conversation.

I am starting to ask “why” again, and it feels f***ing great. (See how sometimes expletives are apt? Yea, I think so, too.)

 

Because I like photos, I am including this photo of a woman cooling herself with her feet in the sea. She was resting on this rock just beyond the seaside bar we ate at one afternoon in Lipari. She was completely at peace, contemplative maybe, and she moved with self-assurance and deliberation when she left the rock.

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