indeed, that would solve all of my problems. I would no longer need
to worry about what to wear every morning. They would guide me in
how to become the fully "self-actualized" me. If clothes
make the person, I need someone to tell me how to make me.
"But," you protest, "if someone styles you, are you
really becoming self-actualized?" I do believe so. I think
it takes quite a bit to realize you are utterly hopeless at learning
what to wear and how to wear it. No one expects you to know how
to set up a home network and fix the plumbing and repair the roof
and glaze pottery and brine a turkey. Well, they do, BUT they shouldn't.
some reason we are expected to be a master of most trades. Society
and cable television hve set expectations for each person to be
Martha Stewart, Bob Vila, Mark Cullen and Dr. Phil. But Martha Stewart
is no Bob Vila, and vice versa.
to downsizing, I recently had six months or somewhat unstructured
time. Although finances were tight, I achieved a great many things
and worked toward what some might think of as "self-actualization:
The realization of one's talents and potentialities, esp. considered
as a drive or need present in everyone."
myself how to venetian plaster walls, install sheet vinyl, repair
loose ceramic tiles, refinish shellacked furniture, and snake pipes.
I lost weight, quit smoking, sewed slipcovers, brined a turkey,
and caught a squirrel in our attic. I learned software, designed
and built storage, organized files, and wrote "thank you for
interviewing me" notes.
I'm proud. But the time involved in accomplishing these things perhaps
could have been better spent focusing on my self-image. I spent
so much time proving to myself that I was able to do everything
that I didn't have time to focus on what I did best.
thinks we can write instruction booklets that take us through the
installation of a home entertainment system, step-by-step. Meanwhile,
a large percentage of people struggle with assembling a frickin'
Billy bookcase. Who has not sat on the living room floor at some
point, surrounded by unidentified parts, bits, pieces and cords
wondering "How on earth does everyone else do this stuff? I
can't possibly be that stupid... can I?"
a reason we have different careers. There's a need for us to specialize.
Specialization is the thing that has helped the rise of the home
computer, the development of anti-depression medications and the
manufacture of Clay Aiken.
may try to do it all, but it's really counter-productive. There
must be some additional Gtross National Product generated by the
hiring of plumbers who come to repair and replace the home improvements
we make, inspired due to DIY TV.
sometimes doing it yourself is a matter of picking up the phone
and arranging for someone to do it for you. So after a weekend of
examining the transformation from geek to chic of the AI2 runner
up, I've made a decision.
do it all. It took me weeks to find the right lipstick. I have too
many mornings where I look in the mirror, somewhat disappointed
but thinking "It's what's on the inside that counts, right?"
you know, I'm starting to suspect that it really isn't. I've bought
several books in the past month, and most were selected based on
the cover. And that, I find horribly, horribly sad.