I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts and reading about entrepreneurship lately. I don’t know if it actually helps prepare me to go off and do my own thing, but it definitely keeps me inspired. I am no longer satisfied and inspired by simply pushing pixels around a screen. Don’t get me wrong, that stuff can be great, but it is not enough to be a driving force in my everyday life. I am not yet 100% engaged with my work and this is why I like side projects so much.
I have a very strange and specific problem right now.
I have been given a Macbook Air to use at my new job. I have never had a Mac of my own, and as such have never had to get used to one. I already know how to use them (because let’s be real, who doesn’t) but I’ve now been faced with a touch pad that scrolls the opposite direction that I am used to. When I went to System Preferences to change this I discovered that it was labelled as the “natural” way of scrolling, and consequently I had a small internal debate.
"Natural, eh? I guess they call it that because I’m used to swiping like that on my smartphone. Must be natural."
"But who cares what you do on your smartphone, Rowan? That’s a smartphone! This is your computer! It’s different! Use it like you use computers!"
"Yeah, but it says it’s natural this way! I wouldn’t want to be unnatural, would I?”
"Yeah, fair enough. Maybe you could just be natural for a bit and see what natural people feel like."
And now here I am, scrolling backwards on my home computer like some kind of natural freak. Shit.
It’s amazing how much of yourself you can put into your work and never be satisfied. You can deplete yourself. You can end up feeling small.
There are so many things I’d like to do before I die, but lately that phrase has seemed like a euphemism. When I say I’d like to do something before I die, that’s just the more generally acceptable way of saying that I’m afraid I won’t do it before somebody calls me out on it.
It’s bullshit, I know. It happens all the time, anyway. Usually with TV shows - I’m sure I’m not alone in this. I get scolded on a regular basis for not having watched certain shows and I shrug it off because it’s not a big deal. Why is it so much more difficult to carry that same attitude toward something I’ve invested effort into?
It’s bullshit, I know. To think other people would think enough about me to accuse me of faking what I do. But who needs haters when you’ve already got your own self-doubt to deal with? I’m endlessly competing with some imaginary, ideal construct of what a successful Rowan would be like.
I guess it’s good in a way - I’ll never settle. But I really need to learn how to like my own work. I need to come to peace with the fact that my taste will exceed my skill level for a long time to come.
I was about to go to bed, but I decided I wanted to write briefly about fear. Partly because it’s important and people don’t often like to talk about it, but also partly because fearful thoughts enter my mind late at night while trying to get to bed (of course).
On Sunday, I confronted a fear of mine. I told my parents something I believe in that I knew they would disagree with - I don’t think university education is a prerequisite to success or fulfillment. My parents have very conservative views about education that simply don’t align with my experiences in life. It ended up resulting in an argument, and they tried to convince me of the importance of a degree. I did not aim to convince them I was right, but instead put everything in terms of my own experience. I just wanted understanding.
So, what exactly was I so fearful of?
Once in a while, somebody falls into your life out of nowhere and they change you. Perhaps they show you a new way of looking at the world, or perhaps they remind you that you’re not the only one who views the world that way. They’re a person that gives you a push that you may have needed to get your ball rolling in the right direction.