Today is my birthday; I have now been living, for the most part conscious, for a quarter of a century. Due to its potentially unfortunate proximity with the New Year, my birthday has always been a time of intense contemplation. Reflecting upon past events of the recent year and projecting, aspiring, inquiring unto the potential new events of the new year. Now, in particular, having attained the respect of a certain age, that prospect of looking forward, reflecting back, becomes especially exhausting and overwhelming. Being innately, preternaturally introspective, this process is an involved one.
A few months ago, I applied to a position at a, perhaps the, prominent corporate reputation management and strategy firm. Part of the application, I was required to answer a series of questions, within a specific and narrow time frame; miniature essays, to gauge writing skills, construction of a coherent argument, celerity in response. The first few, I read, I responded, immediately, thinking and crafting an intelligent, creative response in quick moments. Though nervous, cognizant that the fruits of my accelerated mental labor would ultimately be judged and dissected, I was confident.
Then I read the final question: describe a time when, either professionally or personally, you were proud of yourself. Fingers poised at my keyboard, prepared to type furiously and eloquently, I froze, spine stiff and hard and ready to snap like the quivering leg of a cockroach in a kitchen. I could think of nothing, not a single response. Eventually, I developed some type of tale, which, though not ostensibly a lie, was also not fundamentally true. It concerned moving to a new town, where I knew no one, a feat, while a challenge emotionally and intellectually, that evoked absolutely no pride in my sense of person, my integrity, my worth.
Moving forward, I want to have courage. Courage to embark upon new adventures, adventures that potentially incur risks, or injury. Or even courage to continually question preconceived determinations of self. To stretch, arch, contort to new realms of discomfort, and, hopefully, ultimately, joy and discovery. Now, it is near impossible to summon conviction and power; typing these words, it is as though I slowly approach some broad and deep abyss, one that I stare upon, but am never compelled to dive and explore. I hope, pray, plead, with my current and future selves, that this is not the case, for the sake of my sense of pride and dignity in my various accomplishments and endeavors.
I have not written anything worth reading in months, something that I am particularly not proud of; in the coming months, I hope to ameliorate that.
(image taken from Ted Burke Like It Or Not)