First off and again, I want to say thank you to everyone who provided feedback yesterday. I really appreciate it. I made my list before I posted yesterday, because I wanted it to be independent of any input initially. What each of you provided was largely an affirmation of what I wrote myself.
So, without further ado, here are my answers to my question. My approach was a bit simplistic. I literally just made a list. For the sake of this entry and ease of reading, I'll string my list together into sentences.
1. What do I like to do? (I tried to look at this from a personal and professional aspect.)
Personally, I enjoy kayaking, going to the beach and tidepooling or hiking, visiting historic sites and seeing new places. I like cooking and baking, hosting dinners and having parties. I also enjoy eating out and trying new foods and I'm always on a quest to find that next fun and innovative, but tasty recipe. I really enjoy visiting museums, going to the symphony and ballet, and listening to good music. I enjoy a good bout of yard work--or dig and dirt therapy, as a friend of mine calls it.
I especially enjoy being creative: writing, blogging, and photography are particularly pleasant. In conjunction with that, I love using my skills to create multi-media presentations, laying out and formatting books, and researching and writing up interesting and useful information for my own and others consumption and edification. I also enjoy reading as much as I can; T.V. is no substitute for a good book!
I love learning, though I haven't been good about doing a lot of that consistently and I'd like to get myself back into both a learning-type setting like a university (i.e. continuing education classes) and into a self-taught-type setting (i.e. teaching/retraining myself in the Adobe Suite of software and new media software.) I love speaking German and, despite my lapse in the area of my academic training, I'm still very much fascinated by the need religion fills in the lives of individuals and in the public square. Stimulating conversation and thought-provoking movies followed by discussion are also quite enjoyable.
Professionally, I love collaborating on projects that have tangible, positive results. At the same time, I'd like a job where people are happy to see me and I'm happy to see them. I enjoy very point A to point Z kinds of jobs where the expectations and outcomes are clear. I love collaborating on projects that stimulate thinking and allow me to acquire new skills and build on existing ones.
2. What am I passionate about?
Frankly, I don't care for this question. That is to say, I'm not passionate about it. But in all fairness to the process, I'll answer it openly.
I'm passionate about learning and then expressing that knowledge through my writing and conversations. I'm passionate about doing a job well. While I'm not always the best practitioner of this myself, I believe manners and decorum matter, which means I'm passionate about being kind to others and being as objective and diplomatic as possible.
I'm passionate about my relationships. I care about people and believe the best in them. I try my level best to focus on their positive qualities and traits, capitalizing on their strengths rather than focusing on their shortcomings or what irks me.
I'm passionate about using and sharing my talents in a manner that produces positive results--whether that's making and sharing a nice meal with friends or paying attention to details in designs and layouts for products at work, the desire is the same.
I'm passionate about giving and serving in ways that empower people and free from them from worry so they can get on with the day-to-day of living. I'm passionate about being as neat and orderly as possible and creating a home that is a pleasant place to be and visit.
Finally, I'm passionate (but so far unsuccessful) about being financially secure and independent.
Professionally speaking, I'm passionate about making sure I treat my colleagues and peers with the same level of respect and decency with which I expect to be treated. I believe kindness matters and you can be successful and gracious.
3. What do I want my life to look like?
Honestly? Less clutter. Fewer possessions. I'm looking for quality, not quantity. I want to live somewhere where I can make a decent living, put a little money away for the future, travel somewhere different at least once a year, and know that I don't have to drive four hours to get to the beach or somewhere equally relaxing and beautiful.
4. What is important to me?
It is important to me to be fiscally and financially independent.
It is important to me to be responsible, trustworthy, and capable.
It is important to me to be a person of honesty, integrity, and kindness.
It is important to me to see the results of my work. Amorphous policies that take three years to implement are worthless and demoralizing. Publishing a book and holding it in my hands as evidence of my creativity is exhilirating!
5. What am I looking for?
Job security, job satisfaction, financial security, independence, creativity.
I'm also looking to be my own boss and take a few more risks. I'm tired of people telling me I can't do something. I'm also tired of not having the resources to just simply do whatever I'd like--whether it's on a total whim or it's been carefully researched. I want to feel hopeful and independent and passionate again.
I want to be happy.
Thank you for reading and commenting!
And now I'm off to meet with my career counselor and then out to the States to see a Bollywood movie with my sister.