Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Something that I like

It's fun to watch people in their element.

I first realized this my first semester in college. I was taking an introductory geology class, the kind liberal arts majors take because they have to. It was an auditorium full of at-best mildly interested students — the kind who, today, have to be monitored constantly for Facebook usage during class. Compounding the apathy was the fact that it was a 2 p.m. class on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, which is the time everyone's ready to split for the nearest bar or bedroom. 

But one day after class dismissed, I walked by the front desk and witnessed something remarkable. That day, the professor had largely been going through the motions. But a student walked up to him and asked him a specific question about the lesson. Immediately, the professor lit up and spoke effortlessly on the topic. The student listened raptly, and a couple of other students joined in. 

I didn't really hear what they were talking about, but the way the professor engaged was riveting. He was known for being particularly enthusiastic about his field, and it showed in the doldrums of that afternoon. I thought that I would love to be like that in some respect. 

It was then that I realized the difference between a day job and a calling. A day job can be rewarding and enjoyable, but you need those things in your life that excite you outside of it. I love finding out that someone has a cool hobby on the side. I like seeing big movie stars do low-budget and/or intellectual films. I knew a sports writer who was also an underground rapper and a copy editor who played reggae music. People who thrive at incredible things for little more than love of the craft. People who keep you guessing. 

That's how I try to live my life. You should too. What do you do?


Anonymous said...

For a few moments after contemplating your question, I panicked. I could not come up with anything that I could boast about and rack up cool points (because that is important when you comment on a blog that belongs to someone you don't know.) I almost became depressed, thinking that I was THAT person who was consumed by work and had no hobbies or life outside work.

But then I thought about how much I love what it is that I do and how passionately I love the things others would consider my hobbies or obligations.

Then I gloated a bit to myself, because I have the love of the craft- the enjoyment you speak of- in everything I do.
Don't get me wrong- I have shit days. At times, I have a love/hate for my craft/obligations/hobbies. I would say those emotions are more intense because of my love of what I do.

I guess that leaves me with a question for you: What are you doing that you don't love?
f I understand your post correctly, you try to live life by finding excitement out of the ordinary- outside of your routine. Making excitement part of the ordinary - that is how I try to live my life.

Despite totally disagreeing with you- I LOVED this post and always enjoy reading your blog. Your writing makes me think and laugh. Thanks for putting it out there.


Ian McGibboney said...


I don't know that we're in disagreement. Plenty of people - and myself, when I'm lucky enough - do integrate what they love into their lives. It's that old saying about doing what you want to do so you never have to work a day in your life.

In the geology professor's case, he was doing what he loved and his excitement was an outgrowth of that. That to me is the epitome of living — even more so than having an unrelated side pursuit, though that's very cool too. Sounds like that's what you have, so no further introspection is needed.

I think my fear in life is to have the opposite happen, where some random job I took because it was available saps all energy and ambition from my life.