Time for stories

Because it’s Holidays time, I use this opportunity to start sharing with you some stories, stories of people I met and impressed me with their passion and commitment to pursuing their vocations. Today I choose to tell you about Selma.

I met Selma in a rather conventional environment, but she is everything but conventional :)

This is what she shares:

When anyone asks me what I do, what my occupation is, I feel akward and don’t really know what to say. I am blocked by the idea that the answer to this questions should be one heading from the NOC (National Occupational Classification). I don’t fit well in any of those categories. They’re either too large for me, or too tight.

The idea that I have to “be” something when “I grow up” has been with me for many years. An actress, journalist, DJ, sociologist, PR, book developer, scriptwriter, director, HR consultant. I spent 9 years in different universities, add the occasional workshop/trainings, I still have many to undergo. After all this, I have not “become” anything. I’m still me.

When I turned 30 I faced  the threat of never knowing WHAT I want to BECOME.

Since I was 16 I told myself several times that life is tough and I have to choose: you might like and want many things, but you will work for money. You build your career within one category of the NOC, put to use whatever features of yourself that fit it and leave the rest under the “hobby” title. Right under “driving licence B”. This decision did not make me happy, but allowed me to feel grown up and full of the understanding that “life is life”. The cynical approach – no big words, no big hopes, whatever works.

I had several jobs for one year, two at the most. After months of hard work, I would miss everything I did not have time to be any longer. It seemed I had applied the wrong filter to myself. I would start it all again, taking another set of abilities and cultivating them in another job. And so on. My CV is a war zone.

Last year, a friend called me over with some other friends of hers. She had an attic and the idea that people should come there and do things that made them happy. Because too many of us/them spend our lives surviving until our vacation. The attic became incubator107. The greatest gift I got from incubator107 was the realization that the real question was “Who am I and who do you want to become?” not “What do you want to become?”

I want to make myself a happy person. Doing things that are worth doing.  So I did have to face the big words: what is my mission in life?

My mission in life is to live and give moments of clarity. This is the heading I want to live under.

The phrase that describes what I do and enjoy doing, under whatever heading, is “I create artificial situations in which clarity can be obtained”.

Then I have to keep asking myself the right questions: Who am I? Can the person I am now become the person I want to become? What do I need to do to cover the distance? Which of the things I do at the present serve my goal and which of them are “foreign occupation”? How do I make a living by only doing the things that match my life-long mission?

Should anyone ask what my occupation is, I will answer “I am Selma. I am not under any occupation any longer. I do things that are worth doing. I get paid for some of them.”  It they have time for it, I go into details:

–          I write and direct – children’s stories these days

–          I observe people, listen to them and work with them on improving awareness

–         I put ideas into words to make them clearer

I still feel embarrassed when someone asks me what my occupation is and they don’t have time for the entire list.

And I still feel anxious that, when times are rough, there is no generally and officially accepted heading under which I can take cover.