Discovering "Fine" May Be An Empty Word

by Kenneth Rayman on April 2, 2018

Today, I asked myself a simple question, “Why did Jordan leave the Art of Charm podcast?” A quick Google search gave me an interview referencing a bitter business breakup. Personally my question of a concrete why was never really answered but a rabbit hole was unearthed. Jordan talked about things he had to overcome these past few months, relying on strategies he hadn’t put much stock in prior. I saw a lot of my current situation, job wise, in it. I enjoyed the way the interview went and decided to see who else the host had interviewed for his podcast, “Smart Business Revolution.” The podcast’s first episode title stood out; it was on a film project called, “I’m Fine, Thanks.”

I immediately thought of a usual depressive response where the person doesn’t want to be a burden on someone else. Google showed me a documentary, however, about finding the personal purpose you feel is lacking in your life though you know you are quote unquote, “fine.” I then remembered the video at the bottom of this post where Brendon talks about that statement of “I’m fine…” as the hallmark of being restless for a higher personal purpose. Turns out that’s how the documentary is introduced, as well.

The narrative spoke of people finding themselves stuck in a rut, even though they had everything society and “their parents” told them, growing up, was success: house, kids, a car, for example. They, however, felt like they were missing life itself and didn’t find that waiting until the retirement age of 65 to realize a personal dream was worth it, feasible, or practical. It was introduced by the director, Grant, who said, “I let my passion go for “security.”

The people interviewed shared their frustrations, the obstacles (student debt, for example) keeping them from taking a chance on it, and the uncertainty of taking a different path, that influenced their decisions. The first interview stood out with the narrative of a man who choose law school over his personal passion of health and fitness melding into Physical Therapy because someone told him that law school would guarantee financial well being with a six figure salary. He detailed, however, that the stress of law practice meant long hours and self-neglect that, for him, resulted in hospitalization for a stress related intestinal issue. Each of the interviews seemed to also echo the first couple introduced, “I’m doing what I should so why do I feel like something is missing and feel personally horrible for that,” insinuating that they felt as if they were selfish for wanting something more from life.

The movie reminded me of my choice to take a second trip to Russia right after my first, with no immediate job prospects on the way and how I chose to start this blog in an attempt to document and create moving material on citizen diplomacy with Russia, senior living, aging issues, and personal/self development while trying to find another position. I wanted to bring my life meaning by seeing far off places and using my gift of writing to share the experience. I could also use it as writing practice to offer a freelance service for senior living companies and communities who wanted content for their websites.

The other night, a friend introduced me to his new girlfriend as a blogger on Russia and I smiled. I smiled because I hadn’t seen that friend or the others we were with in months and he introduced me through my personal passion. I then said what I did for the senior living communities with my Russia talks and made everyone laugh with my “Ivan Drago” line. He then mentioned my job prospects, wondering how they were coming along, noting he had seen some troubling posts on my personal page about the responses I was getting from employers. I noted that it was getting tough with the length of time but I have to keep myself positive lest it show in interviews, but also I took solace that I was doing a passion project that allowed me to share my love for Russia and a burgeoning love of international travel while also providing to the industry I’d trained myself for.

As some of the participants noted in the film, they started out loving what they did for their profession, but soon it lost it’s flare and became routine. Some have suggested that I go into Life Enrichment (the more appealing term for Activities) in the industry given my current freelancing, but I’m afraid that my projects would lose their passion if I made it my job to day in and day out try to make “fun, entertainment, and action” my primary responsibility. In short, its not where my professional passion lay.

The film gave legs to the “Why” of what I’m currently doing and how I want to keep doing it. But also the “What” of my professional passion when I hear that I’m not experienced enough or that I should take another position that would fill the time; if I’m not challenged, the routine will become a source of frustration, leading to lack of fulfillment and, yet again, questioning endlessly how can I find my passion again?

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