As a young man, I must necessarily make the many follies of youth. I have only so much time to make those mistakes before I’m old enough to know better. Furthermore, I have to share my talents with the world before I realize I don’t have any. So, what are those talents and how can I use them to make mistakes?
I have spent a lot of time thinking about the things I’m good at, and eating tops the list. I can eat more food more quickly than just about anyone I know. There are two ways I could use that skill: eating competitively or becoming the fattest man in the world. On the one hand, I don’t like hot dogs that much and the Japanese have cornered the market anyway. I might be able to set records for speed eating or consuming something I do enjoy, like raw cookie dough or salami sandwiches. On the other hand, I can’t afford to become the fattest man in the world, despite being perfectly capable. Logistically, I suppose my reach exceeds my grasp.
When I was 8, I started learning to play the piano. I have essentially been playing for 15 years. In that time, I think I have learned about 9 songs. Despite my ability to read music, I don’t have a thorough grasp of musical theory and I am at a loss when it comes to understanding or composing melodies. Many pianists play by ear; I play by eye. I have discovered a lot of what one can discover by constant playing, but none of the abilities to show off or be creative. I fear I will never be the next Liberace.
So what about mathematics? When I first went to the University of Nebraska, I intended to eventually complete a PhD in math. I wanted to do research and teach or something. Once I had a bit of experience with both, the reality sunk in: it’s not my thing. I don’t have a passion for math in the same way that most math professors do. I can do a lot of work in math and computer science, but if I don’t have the passion, I definitely won’t be able to finish a doctorate.
In summary, those things are all side projects. I’ve spent a lot of time on them but I can’t say with certainty that my future lies with any of them. I’ll continue doing all of those things, eating, piano, math, etc, but I don’t know where it will go. Hopefully a place where I’m able to keep going
But the thing I really want to do, barring ability and opportunity, is writing. I love writing, but I hate that I want to be a writer. I hate it because it’s common and stereotypical. Wanting to be a writer has nothing to do with talent, understanding the writing process, or even being able to communicate ideas. I think it’s an ego trip for people who have a little bit of knowledge and want to exploit it, for whatever reasons they might have.
I’ve written a few things. You’re reading one right now. I liked writing them and I liked reading them, but unfortunately I’m a little bit biased. I have to think about 2 things: why I want to write and how to do it. Ultimately, I write things that I want people to read. If people read my dumb blog posts or whatever, I’m a happy guy. I like to know that I can do something that other people appreciate and say things that make them feel or think. I want to get something out of my head and into theirs. No, not like spit. Gross.
My real problem with depression is that I never have the energy or concentration to do any of the above. I wish I could sit and write and get all of these things out of my head, or eat enough to get really fat. I have these dreams. I want to write a stupid cartoon series. Maybe I could be the next Liberace. I just have to have to get started.