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The Autobiography of Russell
Life from a different perspective
Defining what it means to have a life
In a rather round-about way I have discovered that I don't have a life.

For the longest time work was my life. It took up enough of my time and energy and provided a few people to socialize with that I didn't think too much about it. But it wasn't fulfilling and it wasn't going anywhere, and eventually I realized it was impeding my energy and drive to do things beyond it. So for the second time in my life I quit a job. This was 9 months ago, and a lot of major factors have changed since. Relationships have ended and began and ended and continued. Moved across the country. Freelance work has come and gone. Yet the basics remain that I don't have a life.

So to answer that question, to discover why I feel I don't have a life and what I need to do about it, I must define what it means to have a life. At the most basic level to have a life means wanting to be alive, beyond simply desiring not being dead. This in turn means wanting something: passion, interest, desire, drive, connection. All of those things result in wanting or having something in which you must want to be alive for. But what are those things? They are a set of priorities or goals and are unique to each person. Some people want a partner, a family, to create music, to check off some life-long achievement just to say they've done it, etc.

What do I want, and what can I do?
  • On some levels I want to be needed. Someone who confides in me, or appreciates what I do, whether at home or work or wherever. It's a selfish desire, but I think we're allowed some of those as long as they don't get out of hand or consume us.
  • I want to create something that would be useful or entertaining. A program or game, such as a development tool, a multiplayer game, or something that has the potential to make life easier.
  • To have activities that hold my interest and new things to learn (a definition that uses itself to define itself, yes). These things should teach me more, or otherwise fulfill a purpose beyond the mere doing of them.
  • I want more disposable income so I don't need to worry how much a 20$ purchase adds up every time I go out or enable at least one regular activity (see above). I also want to be able to do something semi-big every other month or so, like a multi-day trip out of town to see friends or go to a conference.

There is probably more, but that's all I've got for now.

Current Mood: pensive pensive
Current Music: "Electric Daisy Violin" by "Lindsey Stirling" (Pandora)

4 comments or Leave a comment
(Deleted comment)
zimzat From: zimzat Date: July 23rd, 2012 08:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have someone I'm seeing right now, and do a bit of sharing with, although I don't think things are at the confiding concerns or unrelated issues point. On the other hand that's this turn's round-about way of realizing I don't have a life: I felt like I was obsessing over things with him and realized there was an imbalance in everything else I have going on in my life. I need more things to occupy myself with so I don't get obsessed over every little thing.
legolastn From: legolastn Date: July 23rd, 2012 10:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
"What is the meaning of life?" The age old question. Other than setting your own goals and being aware of your own passions and interests, I'm not sure there's an answer, so it seems like you are on the right track. One activity I did sometime this last year was try to come up with 10 things I was passionate about and try to think about how I could integrate those things more into my life - whether thought of as daily life, regular schedule, or occasional experience. After thinking about how things went together the rough list for me was: Knowledge/Cognitive Labor(Reading, Writing, Teaching), Sexuality & Gender/LGBT, Progressive Social Change, Community/Fellowship/Hospitality, Gaming, Imaginary Worlds, Dialogue, Food/Gardening, Spirituality, and Travel. Several of these are, of course, very much integrated with my work life, which makes me a very fortunate person. But beyond that I've tried to find ways to integrate these different things into life where possible - advising my student gaming group and otherwise getting more involved in gaming, growing a garden this summer, visiting new local restaurants, trying to meet new friends, etc. Far from holistically perfect at this point, but at least this gives me a jumping off point when I want to think about where I want to "grow."
zimzat From: zimzat Date: July 23rd, 2012 11:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
A lot of my interests could have been folded into my work and coworkers, but unfortunately there was that huge gay vs straight disconnect of interests that were deeply integrated into most of their lives that I just didn't feel that connection. Most of them were also much bigger gamers, nerds, and geeks that I was totally eclipsed.

I'm a jack of all trades in way too many ways. As soon someone starts geeking out about something I get totally lost, sit there and nod, trying to keep up. ... Ouch. That sounds bad.

Some of my mild interests that I'd like to look more in depth into are things like boating (kayak/canoe), martial arts and/or swordsmanship, Japanese, flying, dancing, entrepreneurship, & travel. Most of these require money and finding someone knowledgeable to learn from or practice with, but I've no idea where to start. Well, beyond getting the money again to do them. The first step is the most obvious: disposable income.
legolastn From: legolastn Date: July 23rd, 2012 11:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, disposable income is the key to a lot of things, but hard to obtain. :P
4 comments or Leave a comment