Recently, a friend of mine lost their job – a job they weren’t fond of anyway, but it was still a loss. I was concerned about them – but then this person reflected how, that very day, their work in the community made them feel better. My friend always liked to help people and this moment, this single moment, reminded them of what they did and why.
My friend remembered what was important.
We’ve probably all had moments like these – in our civic work, on our hobbies, in times of being silly. No matter what we need these moments of “yes, this is right.”
These moments of “this is great” aren’t just a quick high (or shouldn’t be); they’re those vital times that remind us that life is worth living, that we like what we like, that things can be great. We need these moments not just to keep us sane, but to remember what we can do, what we like, what we care about.
One of the reasons I preach the idea of fan-to-pro (in the rational sense, not the blue-sky sense) is that your fannish activities tell you what matters. Oh sure you may not what to mention what you were doing at the time when you found something that mattered, but it’s important. Those little moments give you an idea of what makes you who you are.
When we can string enough of those moments together, we can find a way to build a life out of them.
It migh not be something other people like. I’ll be honest here, part of the reason I’m a Project/Program manager is that I’m an incessant problem solver. I have to fix things, both by concern, by a sense of order, and by a love of a challenge. I denied I’d be a manager many times – and here I am.
But find what matters to you. Go do those crazy things, stupid things, silly things, personal things, deep things, unremarkable things – that you care about. It’ll tell you what matters, and maybe get you onto a better path in life.
If you pay enough attention to these great things, those moments of depression and darkness and doubt are kept at bay or evaporate. They’re just not as permanent as you may think.