I joined Listserve just over a year ago, after being introduced to it by my friend Krista (shout out if you are reading this!). Ever since I joined, I have periodically pondered what I’d say to over 20,000 people. It’s pretty heavy to think about how I will probably never have another opportunity to reach an audience of this size in such a direct way.
I’m 30 years old and practicing dentistry in the State of Delaware. I love my job, but I believe most of us are multipotential and should not think of our jobs as the only thing that defines us. I think “what are your interests?” is often just as important a question as “what do you do for a living?” I also think people should feel no pressure to make their work be their passion because sometimes passion does not work on a schedule. Vocations and avocations are both critical for our well-being. I maintain a long and growing list of avocations. Always try new things and accept new challenges. It’s what makes life fun.
One of the most important things I have learned was from a class on human nature. Culture consists of standards and rules that we all operate under to feel normal and accepted. But if you look closely, the standards are often arbitrary or difficult to trace. In other words, they aren’t absolute. Notice how culture governs life from what people wear, to the careers and milestones people aspire to. Very few of the things we want, say, believe, etc., are truly our own. When I realized this, some of this cultural “spell” was broken for me, and some things I thought I wanted out of life, I realized I didn’t want. Breaking the spell also lightens the load of expectations and allows for an interesting view of life. Things once viewed with grave seriousness can look absurd or preposterous. It’s important to break the spell, because the tides of culture often run counter to more important things, like autonomy and identity.
I find sovereign experiences to be profound. A sovereign experience is when you experience something amazing, but resist the urge to share the experience with others or to record the experience with a photo. It remains your secret and is confronted on your terms. No one is there to validate it or deduct from it.
"No one else will be responsible for you or care about your well-being as much as you." - Chris Guillebeau
""Optimal results are often attainable only by trying for too much-by reaching beyond the limits of the possible. Man is a dual citizen of the realms of reality and possibility. He must live and labor in one but toward the other. The person whose wagon is not hitched to some star or other is not a full-formed human being; he is less than he can and should be.""
- Nicholas Rescher
“We feel that to reveal embarassing or private things . . . we have given someone something, that, like a primitive person fearing that a photographer will steal his soul, we identify our secrets, our pasts and their blotches, with our identity, that revealing our habits or losses or deeds somehow makes one less of oneself. But it's just the opposite, more is more is more—more bleeding, more giving. These things, details, stories, whatever, are like the skin shed by snakes, who leave theirs for anyone to see. What does he care where it is, who sees it, this snake, and his skin? He leaves it where he molts. ”
- Dave Eggers