Some of my choices have been hard to justify lately, since I'm going from a stable situation to a less stable one - from well employed to kind-of, maybe employed. But when I search the core of my choice, I'm okay with it. However, I'm also in denial. I'm not realizing that I'll be leaving Bethlehem in 4 days, that all my belongings will be packed and ready to go. I need to start realizing, because I do have some packing left to do.
I came up with an answer - kind of. I need to digress, for a moment. You know the anecdote where a girl says that she wants to be a singer, yet all she ever talks about is how she envisions her huge house, her pool, her future designer clothes and trophy husband? Well, of course, the moral of the story is that the girl really doesn't want to be a singer, she just wants to be rich. And, in order to be rich, she doesn't necessarily has to be a singer (actually, probably not a good idea at all).
In my case - scoop ahead - I don't want to be rich. But there is something that drives me, and I'm not sure that what I really want is what I claim to want. When I look at all the things that I enjoy doing in the professional realm, they all involve creating or transforming: I like to make things that previously didn't exist. That's what motivates me. I like to start with a very loose idea and end up with a blog post. I like to see a document in French and end up with a document in English. I like to gather people in a room and create a piece of theater to be performed for others. I like to start with a teaching concept and end up with a lesson plan. I've heard that theater was all about problem-solving, and I agree. But it never occurred to me that theater had problem-solving at its core because the performance itself was the solution. Sometimes, in the midst of it all, we forget.
|The Matter of Moments, Feb. 2011, Touchstone Theatre.|
That sounds a lot like what motivates researchers, doesn't it? Or artists. Yes, artists also seek answers and their creations act as temporary proofs. Research and art - they're not that far apart.
In this century, for some reason, we're asked to choose: one way to explain the world over another. And that's fine - sometimes it's important to make a choice. But I need to remember what motivates me at the very elemental level - why I do what I do, and how can I do more of what I really, really love?
I'll be answering that question for a while.