If I Were a Pie Chart...

I'm pretty sure I have multiple personality disorder.

Not in a clinical way, but in a "Who the hell am I?" sort of way.

If you were to graphically represent Andrew Marvin in a pie chart, it might look something like this:

Obviously there's more to me than those seven labels, but those are the major identities that come to mind. All of them contribute to and define my larger identity: Andrew Marvin, the Person.

I love all of my sub-identities, and I want to get better and be great at all of them. The problem is that, generally speaking, I can't be all of them at once. Regrettably, I can't play my bass while I'm teaching a karate class. I can't write while I'm fiddling with TextExpander snippets. I can't work on omitting needless things while I'm doing research about Middle English lyric poetry. Alas.

I feel like I could conceivably dedicate my entire being to just one of those identities. For example, I could decide that I'm going to dedicate my entire life to being a martial artist. I could drive to the dojo and work out for three hours every morning, and then I could teach classes every night. That could be Andrew Marvin in his entirety. And I would probably get really great at being a martial artist.

But, if I did choose to do that, then all of my other identities would atrophy. I wouldn't get to write. I wouldn't get to play music. I wouldn't get to read about Apple and download new text editors. All of these are things I love to do. How can I willingly give them up?

Do I want to be great at one thing, or do I want to be pretty good at seven things?

Perhaps being able to say, "I am a [blank]" is largely dependent on your job. "I am a construction worker." "I am a lawyer." "I am a student."

Of course, I don't mean to suggest that having a job means you have no other hobbies or skills. An accountant might be an accountant from 9–5, but she undoubtedly has other interests beyond that. Still, an accountant can confidently say, "I am an accountant" because, at the very least, that's what she gets paid to do for eight hours a day. She might also be a mom, cyclist, and underwater basket weaver. But, accounting pays the bills, so maybe that's how she identifies herself.

But what about when you don't have income attached to any of your identities? Then how do you decide which one gets your time and attention? I guess the one that you like the most? The one that has the greatest likelihood of eventually leading to income? Some balance of the two?

The reason for this nonsensical article is that I sometimes have trouble deciding what to do with myself. That is, who I want to be today. Take yesterday, for instance. A beautiful 75 degree day.

It's gorgeous out; I should do sprints.

It's my day off; I should work on my thesis.

I need an apartment; I should look for a big boy job.

I don't want a big boy job; I should work on QLE.

So many shoulds, so little time.

What am I doing? Who the hell am I?

Which version of me do I want to be today?

Some days, I don't know.

More tomorrow.

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