Friday, January 2, 2009

On being popular and unemployed...

The dictionary widget on the Dashboard of my MacBook Pro defines the word popular thusly: 

Liked, admired, or enjoyed by many people or by a particular person or group.

I don't mean to sound utterly conceited or anything when I say this, but I think I'm probably the most popular person I know. This is not to say that I don't know other people who are also quite popular and it also doesn't mean that there is no one who dislikes me. What it does mean is that I have a rather large circle of friends and acquaintances, any number of whom may be simultaneously vying for my attention and presence at their party, bar, or other venue in which twenty-somethings gather on any given night. It hasn't always been this way and I know better than to assume that it always will, but for the time being, this is my life and I am going to accept it. The problem, however, is that I can't be in multiple locations at one time, no matter how much I'd like to attend every event and hang out session with every wonderful and interesting person I'm privileged to call my friend. I try my best to juggle and spend at least a small amount of time in as many places as possible, so as to please everyone I can. Whether this is the recommended course of action, I am not certain. On occasion it can be quite fun, but other times, I find myself hardly enjoying anything because I'm constantly trying to make sure I fit everything in. Maybe my problem is that I try too hard to please everyone else, but at the same time, I'm doing it for myself. I aim to maximize the amount of fun I'm having at (almost) all costs. This is perhaps my top priority.

It seems like almost daily someone tells me that I am their favorite or that they love me because of something or other--whether it was something I said or did or wore or even something about me as a person that I didn't even consciously have anything to do with. This comes both from people I've known for years and people I've just met. Along that vein, it's not rare for me to have a new "best friend" at the end of the night, someone I had never seen or talked to when I arrived in that place. Honestly, I love this. Sometimes this new friendship only lasts the duration of our time together that night and then we never see each other again but other times we end up hanging out regularly. Either way, it's absolutely a wonderful feeling to know that another person finds you worth their time.

This popularity is something that I suppose has been evolving over the course of a couple of years now, starting when I was regularly throwing parties in my apartment in Berkeley, allowing friends and strangers alike to share the fun. A much more recent development in my life is my newly unemployed status. My previous work situation was never intended to be long-term and it eventually came to its end. I have mixed feelings about this, but mostly I am happy for a chance to explore something new. The difficulty here is that I don't know exactly what this "something new" will be. I have vague notions of things I might like to do, and much more definite ideas about things that I cannot and will not do, but it's hard to focus that into a concrete plan about what job I should pursue. I often try to think of how I can make money doing something that I love and would do regardless of getting paid. My latest thoughts have turned to figuring out how to transform my popularity among friends into some sort of career. How might one get paid to make friends, go to parties, drink at bars, etc.? It almost seems impossible, but I don't know if anything is actually impossible anymore. However, I hesitate in trying to find an answer to my question because others arise: Do I really want to turn what I do for fun into work? Would that make it less enjoyable for me? Would I then dread having to go out rather than not being able to wait until it's time to do so?

As we proceed into a brand new year, these are the issues I'm dealing with and hoping to resolve soon. There are other things too, of course, but these are at the front of my mind now. The days to come shall be interesting ones indeed.

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