Art + Function

I am a very passionate person. Ask anyone who knows me, and good chances are they’d say the same thing too. It’s something I’ve been proud to say I am for as long as I can remember.

Yet throughout this recent self-explorative journey, I have been attempting to take that inner ‘passion’ and figure out what I really want to be doing with myself. I guess I figured that since I’m such a passionate person, it would be easy to alight on my next productive path befitting such. But as you can expect, that has turned out to be a much harder question to answer than I anticipated.

For starters, I found that I don’t even really know what I am passionate about. I honestly don’t think I have ever known. My whole life, I’ve just been passionate about everything, and nothing at the same time. And as a result, I’ve been sort of good at everything, and really good at nothing in particular. I wanted to be everything, because I never knew (or tried to figure out) what one thing I actually wanted to be or be doing.

Instead, I have developed too wide a range of interests that attract my attention and energy. Even the job I just recently left was working in a field I could say I find interesting.

Each time my boss and I would sit down to brainstorm and strategize, I would get very passionate about each topic in discussion. Each initiative brought out the passion in me, whether about revolutionizing the K-12 education space, or developing engineering research at the university level, or addressing the organizational issues underlying our own management system… I became engrossed in each of them.

Then beyond my former work, there are even more areas that warrant my passion. As an Economics major in college, I fell in love with economic international development, particularly the challenges facing each corner and community within the massively diverse, corrupt and complicated continent of Africa.

After college, I found the subject of psychology more and more interesting (as will happen) as I began exploring my own mental and emotional hurdles. I felt a particular partiality for how the psychology of a professional group can shape its productivity, as I witnessed and tested first hand at my old job.

Beyond academics, I love being active and outdoors, lifting weights and working up a good sweat. And I feel no greater thrill than when I’m pushing my physical limits, and bringing out the fighter in me.

Then there’s the artist in me, who wants to capture the beauty I see in everything around me. Whatever the medium – be it a camera, pen and paper, etc – I revel in packaging the world’s wonders, virtues and vices for others to consciously consume.

Expanding on that, the writer in me is fascinated with words, and how the choice of them can change how a vision or opinion is received and understood. I am drawn to the challenge of capturing the true essence of a thing in seemingly too simple words, and then how both individuals and communities alike can be inspired and matured by their content.s

I love the way my art and writing have already inspired people, and am encouraged by the possibility to further touch the hearts and lives of others through such. It speaks to my love of storytelling, and the joy I get out of taking someone along on a journey with me.

But here comes the rub. Though all of these here foretold (and many more I’ve omitted) may be passions of mine, I am still uncertain of what next professional direction to take based on them. Naturally, I can’t pursue all of these at once, nor would I wish to. But to simply just pick one and run with it would be to miss the whole point of this exercise, and what I’m trying to accomplish at this juncture in my life. No, the goal now is rather to find where within my ‘passion’ I will feel the greatest reward for my work, and would like to contribute productively to the betterment of society.

So first things first: I need to start by identifying the core values common within each of these passions, and within my core self. And with the help of some very near and dear friends and family, I have finally taken to whittling this list down to two core elements that I truly feel must be at the center of whatever work I take on next.

In short, I must feel that what I am doing is artistic and creative, and also that it has a functional purpose in society. I do love art for art’s sake, but that alone would not give me the satisfaction of practical impact I am looking for. That said, I have also worked in many fields of functional value in the past, and felt they lacked a fundamental element of the arts that I need in my work.

So Art and Function it is – that’s what it comes down to for me.

Now how that manifests into a career is still beyond me. But armed with this new narrowed knowledge, I can continue my journey onward and upward with increased confidence that I will soon find the right next occupational adventure for me. I’ve only just begun, so it would be foolish to be discouraged by any lack of progress thus far, and far wiser to instead look to tomorrow with bright eyes.

So forward I will journey on, into the heart of me. And if you care to join, I’d be pleased to have you travel with me, and share in such experiences as the merging of Art + Function may forge.

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