This is going to be a very long, very metaphor-heavy entry. You have been warned.
There are a very few people in this world who can truly can be considered Renaissance people – people who not only dabble, but exceed at lots of things. My friend AB comes to mind. She is a skilled musician, knitter, cook, friend, ecowarrior. She serves on boards and makes handmade gifts for people’s birthdays. Her home is absolutely lovely and unique. And she is such a kind person that you can’t help but adore her despite her propensity for hard-core overachievement.
That is not me. I dabble. Except for my job (11 years last Monday), I don’t really stick with anything to excel at at. Some of the things that I want to be an expert at are: vegan cooking and baking, gardening, knitting, crocheting, quilting and craft sewing, blogging and writing, philosophy of science, drumming, jewelry-making, home decorating, indie music appreciation, world politics, indie film appreciation, running, yoga, hiking, literature, modern art appreciation. It is a big list. Too big of a list. Especially when you think about all of the subcategories of some of those things – like gardening or jewelry-making.
I need to find focus.
There is this Middle Eastern restaurant that DH and I go to occasionally. I am not going to share the name because I do not want to besmirch them. They have the best hummus I have ever had. EVER. It is so good. So, so good. And that decree from me is something, since I have eaten A LOT of different hummuses around Kansas City. A LOT. It is just…. sublime. So they have the hummus thing down, and I think all of there food in general is really good. That should be their focus. But it isn’t. They have open mic nights with no attendance, something called “Latino” night, and fried chicken. It detracts from the thing they do well, which is Middle Eastern food.
I want to find my hummus. My few things that I excel at and pursue for a lifetime. So that when I am 50, my deft skill and knowledge in an area is mind-boggling. It is against my nature, I get bored easily, distracted easily, drawn to the shiny. But at the end of the day that leaves me with a whole lot of little. Does that make sense? I hope so.
So I am embarking on a redesign of my system. Any system (think IPod or your favorite website) is better if it has simple goals and clean design. I write requirements for existing systems all day (except for when I am not. ;)), so I am going to write some requirements for myself – I will address the system limitations, the basic requirements, and the ultimate vision for my system, me. Ahh, self-indulgence and preoccupation… come to me.
Note that these requirements do not include personal relationship or financial requirements except where necessary. And these are of course crap requirements (poorly written, many untestable), but this is a thought exercise.
- Prone to obesity
- Does not function well without sleep
- Distracted easily
- Requires more than average amount of “alone” time due to being an only child
- Very near-sighted
- Often not careful or thoughtful when performing a task
- Blotchy skin that has both wrinkles and pimples
- Can run a mile
- Strong (for a woman)
- Good sense of humor (or at least perception of good sense of humor)
- Pretty-enough face
- Nice hair
- Empathetic to people and animals
- Good listener
- Makes friends easily
- Supportive family and sweet puppy
- Run 5 miles in an hour, 5 times a week.
- Maintain full-time professional job writing software requirements.
- Complete weekly strength training class and feel invigorated afterwards.
- Consume calories to maintain weight of xxx.
- Daily grooming.
- Simple, comfortable, easy-to-maintain wardrobe with a modicum of style.
- Haircut and highlight every two months.
- Pedicure every two weeks.
- Organized home to support life.
- Maintain full-time professional job writing software requirements with favorable performance reviews.
- Be able to prepare 10 simple, vegan meals for family.
- Be able to prepare 5 delicious vegan cookie recipes.
- Attend book club regularly.
- Attend philosophy of science studies two times a month.
- Become an expert rose gardener with a front and back garden impressive enough that people stop and comment on its beauty.
- Read 26 books/year.
- Weekly blog entries.
That’s it… those are the requirements. Looking at those, I already meet most of them, but there is some focus… some enhancements and defect corrections I need to focus on.
The goal is that the system “Ginger” will be known for writing (blogs), reading, running, and roses. Focus will be good. And it will be work.