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Thursday, 22 April 2004
I was cleaning out my browser bookmarks today and I found a link to Garrison Keillor’s old advice column at Salon, “Mr. Blue.” From May of 1998 till just a week before September 11, 2001, Mr. Blue dispensed advice about life, love, and writing. The advice was almost always stellar, the prose always a sheer delight to read. I will never forget the following exchange, from the 6/5/2001 installment of Mr. Blue:
Dear Mr. Blue,
I’m overpaid and overworked and about to lose my dot-com job, and as my father keeps pointing out, now would be a great time for me to figure out “what I really want to DO.” I’m 27, and I’ve sort of flitted through life so far. I have things I’m good at, but none of them drive me or really seem to please me. I like to write and sew and take pictures and travel and drink good coffee and read good books, but nothing really beckons to me yet, and says, “Here is your life’s work!” I enjoy things for a little while, then I get bored and frustrated and want something new. Everything else in my life is good, but this longing to find work that fulfills me leaves me so sad. I’ve taken career counseling tests and aptitude tests and the results are all over the place. What to do?
Precocious Child, Adequate Adult

Dear Precocious,
Not everyone has a Life’s Work. Some people simply have a Life. It may be peaceful and domestic, or it may be restless and searching, but their fulfillment is in life itself, not in a large mission or career. Perhaps the precocious child was burdened with large expectations that she’d become Athena the goddess of wisdom and light, but don’t take it too seriously. Travel and write and read and drink your coffee and keep on flitting. Maybe your life work will come tiptoeing up behind you in Starbucks and tap you on the shoulder. Maybe an owl will give you some direction. In the meantime, don’t work too hard at untying the great knot all at once. Don’t take no more tests. No way should you take aptitude tests at your age. Fire your career counselor. Enjoy the summer.
posted to /misc at 11:22pm :: 2 responses

dave had this to say (04/23/2004 05:19:40):
Owls rule.
Mike had this to say (04/23/2004 11:27:28):

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