52 Ways to Shift Your Focus: Recall Your Old Interests

Shift #41: Recall Your Old Interests

Remember when you were finishing high school and couldn’t quite fathom what you were going to do with the rest of your life? Remember those interest inventory tests that you might have taken to help you decide what to do next? I took one that came up with two suggestions for my future: physicist and priest. I was quite surprised by those suggestions and then I ignored that inventory test. I flailed around in assorted majors that included political science, journalism, and, eventually, English. Along with way, I toyed with geology, art, photojournalism, and forgetting everything to just hit the road. Parenthood was what finally pushed me to just finish a degree.

As I think back now, though, that interest inventory test keyed in on a few of my tendencies to which I wish I had paid more attention while still in school. First, there’s my interest in how things work. Second, there’s my interest in deeper meanings. I wasn’t mature enough at the time to see beyond the suggested career paths to those traits that put me into the category of people for whom physicist or priest as career choices made sense. I did, in the end, turn to writing because I thought it would allow me to keep exploring, well, everything.

But sometimes I have a sense that I didn’t get it right. That there’s something else I should be doing. Maybe this coincides with other transitions in my life or boredom or the need to come up with a new project. That’s when I like to revisit my list of interests and consider if there’s something I should shift or something I should immerse myself in for a while, mull things over.

Recently, More Magazine had an article about a woman who got reacquainted with her nine-year-old self who loved horses and being outside. The article, An Unbridled Woman by Holly Morris (More Magazine, February 2013, pp. 102-107), takes the reader on an adventure with Uruguay’s gauchos. The author remembers what it was like to be a girl, effortlessly certain of herself, before society and hormones kicked in to impose their imagined restrictions. How nice would it be to get back to that state of mind, pure and open and oblivious as to what anyone else thinks?

So, today, I’m making a list. What did I find fascinating when I was a kid and how many of those things still interest me? What’s stopping me from exploring them further?

Sometimes, you just have to be a kid again and be carried away with whatever catches your interest.


8 comments

  1. I think I have said before that when I was 5 I wanted to be a teacher and then ten I wanted to be a poet. I thought it was a real job 😉 I was already a story teller. I imagine mine is a case of arrested development but a few years back when everything fell apart this is exactly the tactic I employed and here I am. Those tests suggested I become a special needs teacher or go into advertising. I was good at the first and I did once win a prize for devising a slogan. I loved drawing. What happened to drawing? I take photos instead.

  2. I know so many people who loved rocks as a kid. And horses! My husband, who teaches in the veterinary college at the U of MN, see that childhood love come up again and again. Thinking about the links is interesting.


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