I Think Therefore I Work

23 Jul

The current conundrum of my life is fusing the doer and thinker bits of me. For those visual learners among you, rectify these:

As liberal artists, we’ve been steeped in a dark and fancy tea of intellectualism during our educational career. We know how to research and debate, we dispute world politics and brainstorm solutions to the climate crisis. We are the think tanks and the challengers of status quo. Descartes leaks from our pores, Newton runs through our veins and Marx fires our synapses. But during that magical time called college, we are not generally the doers.

And I don’t know about you, but I want to be a doer. I want to make something–a difference, an impact, a cookie. I want to look back on my life and say, “Grandchildren mine, I did that.” And my phantom grandchildren will be suitable unimpressed and roll their eyes before running off to buy ice cream clutching too much money that I happily supply them.

The problem, of course, is happiness. Damn that sense of fulfillment and myth of wonderful forever after. Not that I’m an expert on the subject, but in order to be happy I think you need a secret blend of both intellectual stimulation and task accomplishment. Finding the job that balances the two seems to be the key to all this mess. And for me, this recipe seems about as well protected as the ingredients of Mrs. Field’s cookies. I want to work because it makes me think and think about how to make my work better, but I have no idea how become an insider in this perpetuating loop.

So you tell me liberal artists: how do you balance thinking and doing in your work life?

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