the games they play
All pictures taken with: Olympus Pen E-PL3 and Panasonic Lumix 20mm f/1.7 ASPH.
If you’ve been following this blog for a while you might know that I have a ton of interests. Yes, primarily I’m into photography, but I also love tango and music in general, I love art and occasionally I dabble in drawing with pen and paper, I read a lot of books and sometimes I even write one myself, I enjoy learning languages, thinking about philosophy, doing research, I really like robots and used to program them in the past, I enjoy good cinema and theatre, and probably more things start popping into my head if I continue to think about it. That’s a lot of stuff. Every now and then I also pick up something new and do that for a while. My latest of the unimportant-but-enjoyable things I do is knitting, especially when I waste a lot of time watching science fiction series. I guess I just like creating stuff and I find it hugely empowering to be able to make a scarf and maybe some other stuff as well.
In the past I always thought I needed to choose one thing that I want to do and then only do that. That’s what society tells you: Pick a profession and then give it your best. Doing that made me hugely unhappy though, because I have a short attention span and tend to lose interest after a while. This usually happens when I reach my personal goals or learned what I set out to learn. If I force myself to engage with something after I lost interest, it becomes a terrible chore and I won’t want to do it anymore. The strange thing is that I always thought something was wrong with me. Some type of attention deficit disorder, a lack of commitment, or a weak personality, who knows! Then I heard that Barbara Sher wrote an entire book about people like me called “Refuse to choose”. Apparently she calls us short attention span people “Scanners” and thinks it’s perfectly normal, especially in a world with so many possibilities like ours. Funny that I have been refusing to choose for ages and keep doing all sorts of things. My bucket list is hugely diverse and I have done lots of things on it already: “write a novel” (need to edit it still), “get your work exhibited” (in April a couple of my pictures were part of a group exhibition in Dresden), “program robots” (my MSc), “publish a research paper” (about robot controller work from a summer project), “dance tango well” (ok, about 90% there I guess), “participate in a play” (I played a corpse at the beginning of Hamletmachine during my first degree) etc. On it are still other things that I want to do: “Learn to surf”, “make music”, “do a PhD”, “grow some vegetables”, “slaughter a chicken”, “learn to hunt and fish” (these last few are obviously preparation for the apocalypse), “get a driving licence” … and every time I tick something off a couple of new things have appeared on the list somehow. Barbara Sher is right: Why should I choose if I can just do all of these things?
Nevertheless, although I’m obviously a scanner, photography seems to have turned into my number one priority and the rest somehow has to fit around it. I guess that’s because it’s one of the few things that actually keeps coming back to me. I already took pictures when I was a kid, played with point and shoot digital cameras and Photoshop during my apprenticeship and since I did my 365 project (DSLR) it even feels like it’s what I’m supposed to do. It doesn’t take up too much time either, so I can comfortably fit all sorts of other stuff from my bucket list around it. To be honest it’s still a bit amazing to me that I might have found something that can actually sustain my interest. After more than two years there is still so much more to explore and to learn, it’s truly amazing!
Still, with all my other interests I lately feel like I need to prioritise at least a little bit. The last few days I therefore started listening to lectures and radio in Spanish while knitting instead of watching silly things. This way I practice my Spanish and create something at the same time. Over the past few years I’ve forgotten a lot of my Spanish. When I learned it in the past I didn’t quite reach the point where I could appreciate literature, so I didn’t have much use for it after I left Spain. As a result Spanish somehow just slipped out of my daily life and so I want to practice it again before I move here in the new year. Sure as a scanner I also own a book on Icelandic and have thought about learning French, Russian and Japanese, or maybe refresh my rusty Italian, but I think I should focus on learning something useful for a change.