Are you an artist? A writer? A musician? A scientist? A mathematician?
People are encouraged to specialize, to hone one talent instead of all talents.
In A Series of Unfortunate Events, by Lemony Snicket, there is a character named Carmelita Spats. Carmelita is a horrible child, a spoiled brat in every sense of the word, so awful that even the villain, Count Olaf, can't stand her for prolonged periods of time.
At one point, though, she decides she wants to be a "a tap-dancing ballerina fairy princess veterinarian," and then revises this to "ballplaying cowboy superhero soldier pirate." And part of me wonders whether these are really negatives. Whether we shouldn't be encouraging ourselves to explore every dream we have.
Sure, as we get older, we have to make choices-- do I want to spend more of my time writing, or more of my time fishing? Do I want to get a degree in engineering or a degree in music? But how many people are naturally inclined to do just one thing? And if we are, should we have to put one on hold, spend all our time doing another, and just wait until later to do the first? Leonardo DaVinci painted and designed flying machines and wrote backwards! Ben Franklin was a politician and wrote witticisms and did science experiments! But so often we are funneled into one thing. What do we want to be?
I draw pictures. Many of you know this thing about me. Perhaps you also know that I write words. Maybe you know I mix cocktails. It is possible you know that I sing songs and cook foods and crochet crochetedy things. Do you know I code websites? Do you know I write functionality specs for software design? Do you know that I enjoy physics and astronomy and often read books on the history of those subjects for fun? Probably not so much as you know about the things like drawing and writing and cocktailing. When I am doing one of these many things, I get impatient to do another. Sometimes, I will be drawing a unicorn and really want to make a pie. Sometimes, I will be cooking soup and really want to be making a website instead.
I went to a career counselor a few years ago. He gave me a Myers-Briggs test, which said I was an INTP (Did you get it right?). He told me that INTPs make good statisticians.
He had me read some articles about what it means to be a statistician, and I thought that sounded exciting, but told him that I really wanted to also be able to draw and write. But I wanted to be able to draw and write and also do things like collect and analyze data. He said he didn't think such a job existed, and that I should really consider being a statistician. I stopped paying him hundreds of dollars to tell me what I should be, because I didn't want to be just one thing. I wanted to be a lot of things, all at once, and I didn't want to have a job where I would have to give up doing some of the things that make me happy.
But he was right that I like statistics. I like looking at them and trying to figure out what they mean. I like to analyze them a lot. Sometimes I like to write reports on them. I keep track of many statistics at my job purely for fun...nobody asked me to. But I like making spreadsheets full of exciting numbers and then comparing them to other exciting numbers! I like clicking the "sort" button and looking at all the relationships between one set of numbers and another set.
I like organizing many things, but never things I have to organize, like my closet. Once when I was a little girl, I spent an entire day sorting a bag of "assorted plastic beads" into lots of little compartments by shape and by color. My mother kept checking on me. I think she was a little weirded out that I thought this was fun. Sometimes, when I should be doing something more responsible, like cleaning my room, I sort my yarn stash by color instead.
Sometimes, when I really should be sleeping, or maybe when I am waiting for contest results, I like to take numbers and put them in neat little charts. I did this tonight. A few weeks ago, Destiny made a spreadsheet that collected some data from the LJ Idol competition. Today, I made my own spreadsheet, which you may see here. It looks at every contestant from the beginning of the season on, tracks their vote totals and percentage of total vote, when they were eliminated and how. It is pretty exciting stuff, if you are like me and enjoy looking at numbers doing a flip-flop thingee when you sort them.
So by now, you may have guessed that this is sort of a piece of free-association writing about what I did today and thought about today while I was waiting for results, mostly so that I could offer you all a look at my lovely spreadsheet. Because I like making spreadsheets, but I also like pondering the reasons I like making spreadsheets, and writing about what drives me to make spreadsheets, and possibly cooking a spreadsheet pie and singing a song about spreadsheets. It doesn't actually have much to do with waiting, but I hope you will forgive me in light of my fabulous spreadsheet.
This entry was written for therealljidol as a Free Topic: The Waiting