So, I’ve been getting a lot of questions from people about what I’m doing with my life right now. Both from people I’ve known for a while and from people I’ve met in the Dominican Republic. If you’ve read all of my blog posts, you probably have a pretty good idea of what I’m doing and the reason behind it. However, since I know most people haven’t done that, this post is an attempt to explain, as succinctly as possible, what I’m doing with my life right now.
Many of those who know me well often describe me as being an ambitious person. I’ve always considered myself as an ambitious person as well. I’ve set some lofty goals in my life such as being a millionaire by the time I’m 30 or being nationally competitive in a sport, among many others. I usually don’t openly discuss these lofty goals. First off, because I only like to share them with people who will understand, and secondly, because I rarely, if ever, achieve any of these goals. So, how can I be an ambitious person if I never actually achieve my goals?
Well, as I’ve set and pursued the achievement of many different goals, I’ve found that as I reach a certain level of expertise or experience in my attempt, the motivation to reach the goal is diminished. It’s as if I get so happy and satisfied with the progress that I’ve made, that I don’t think the extra effort to actually achieve the goal is worth it. Pretty soon, something else comes along that I think would be more fun to pursue, and I set a new goal that replaces the old one I was pursuing. Thus has been the pattern of my life. Seeking lofty goal after lofty goal with never actually achieving the goals I’ve set out to achieve.
I’ve spent my fair amount of time feeling guilty for this lack of achievement in my life. I’ve had those moments where I feel like I’m worthless because I’ve never “achieved anything” that I’ve set out to do. However, by learning more about myself and questioning my lack of motivation again and again, I came to the realization of what truly motivates me and makes me happy.
So, what is it? Growth and learning. I know I’ve written about this before in my posts about boredom and right after I lost my job, but given in the context of my lack of achievement, maybe you can see how monumental this realization was for me. Perhaps it sounds very simple and obvious, but for me, it was a revelation to understand and see why I continued to set goals and to come short of achieving them.
I love to learn. I love to experience things. I love knowing about as many different things as possible. However, I don’t want to be the expert in anything. Well, when I talk about it and think about it, I tell myself that I would like to be an expert, but based on my past experience, I don’t believe I’ll ever achieve it, and that’s ok. The idea of restricting myself to a life pursuit of a specific topic or career or passion is actually a very stifling thought to me.
When I say this, I’m not trying to diminish at all the achievement of others who find that type of pursuit meaningful. I admire those who find their one and only “passion” and can happily pursue it for the rest of their lives. Also, I recognize all the learning that can take place by perfecting a skill or expertise. I could do well to pursue interests or goals for longer, however, I’ve come to accept what I enjoy the most, and I’ve decided to stop feeling guilty about my reckless pursuit of learning.
Now, getting back to the question of what I’m doing with my life? Well, with this realization that I’m the happiest when I’m learning and growing, I’ve set out in pursuit of what brings me the most happiness and fulfillment. I’m seeking experiences and places that allow me to learn and grow.
I first started by visiting a few places in the United States where I hadn’t spent much, if any, time. Although those visits were great, I was always ready for something new and different after about a week or two. When I was in Florida, I decided to fly to the Dominican Republic. Why? Well, it seemed like a good idea because I was so close to these Caribbean islands that I had never visited before, and visiting Dominican Republic interested me the most.
After arriving, it only took me a few days to decide that I could learn a lot by staying and living here for a while. There is so much here for me to learn. Although I speak Spanish, I served my mission in the states, so there are lots of experiences I didn’t have. I never had to order meals at a restaurant in Spanish. I never asked a cute girl for her phone number in Spanish. I never went shopping for a cell phone in Spanish. I never hopped on crammed public buses to get to where I wanted to go. Now I’m having those experiences, and learning a ton in the process.
How long will I be here and where will I go from here? Who knows, but once I feel like my learning curve has flattened out, I’ll seek something different. Whether that means I’ll look for a new job, look to move to a new country, or learn a new language, I’m not sure. So, what am I doing right now? I’m living my life.