Is it better to have a goal and no means or means and no goal? I don't know.
What am I supposed to do in life? What do I want to do in life? Could the twain meet? These are the three most important questions I could have about my future (and my present and past, for they have everything to do with it). "A certain practice of life" ...have I ever done anything exceptional in my practice of life that includes art? Nothing comes to mind. I've made individuals happy while making pictures on canvas or paper, and I've felt joy in imitating shape, exploring texture and context and concept and implication and color and light, but is that really what I want to do? I think not. However, a life devoid of creative expression is a dull death. How related, entwined do my life and my art need to be, though? No matter what I do, I can't imagine it including all the facets of what I love doing. The whole life would mean my work (career!) was meaningful (as the theorists say, meaning is a tricky concept) and inextricably tied to who I am and how the world is. As much as I want to pretend that my happiness is independent from pressures of peers, family and authority, it is not, and it isn't independent of the general social statuses of cultures and facets of groups around the world (and it shouldn't be).
Maybe at my pit I will always be an absorber, an observer and listener. I will never be a teacher. I would make a horrible teacher. I will never be able to relay information to children or adults unless it's trivia. I will never be able to debate anyone. I'm too flustered, distracted, speech-impeded, and sensitive. I can have discussions with people, but cannot successfully confront debate. I could never manage or own a business (for pretty much those same reasons).
I have all sorts of romantic ideas about abandoning everything I own and everyone I know and traveling the globe doing good and learning all I can. They are frivolous ideas, but I can't dismiss their value in helping me decide what I'd be best suited to do. The free consumption of time--that's what I've really learned is ultimate freedom. I'd have to exist outside of the society as I know it in order to be such a pure consumer. More romantic ideas. Seems quite a selfish goal, when it comes down to it, right? I want to do good things. That's all I know. And I don't want to do them in the way that most professions can be twisted to say that they do good. I want to do them in impactful, empowering, direct ways. And I want to be a professional learner. A student of the Earth.
Well, I've gnawed a little bit away at this. Here's to the first step.