Saturday, February the 25th, 2006

Today’s post was fuelled by comments on the last one.

I’m currently in my fourth year[1] of graduate school “working” on my PhDs, and I’m one class short of a master’s degree in mathematics. Is that something I signed up for when I entered grad school? No. Is that something that’s immediately necessary—in the sense that it’ll greatly enhance my knowledge/capacity/chances of landing a stupendous job? No. Is it something that I’m insanely passionate about or care a great deal for? Not really. But is it something I’m going to get just-for-the-heck-of-it anyway? Hell yes!

If you’re still with me, there is a point to what I’m saying, and I’ll get to it.

Just like everybody else, I’m decent at doing a few things and suck at just about everything else. But, unlike most people who are forced out of their niche, I’ve ended up structuring my life so that I don’t (need to) deviate in the teensiest from what I believe “comes naturally” to me.

If you asked me to jot down what I’d be doing if I weren’t a science geek, I’d probably rattle off a few things—composing/performing music, partaking in a form of creative expression like advertising[2], being a pastry chef, … and that’s about it. If you’re looking for a common thread here, there isn’t one other than my belief that I could live a life doing any of these things with no real effort from my end—like how things are now with being a science geek.

But, while I’m quite OK with doing much in areas I deem trivial—even if I don’t particularly care for it, like the math master’s[3]—I am strictly opposed to the prospect of “working hard” toward achieving an end because it’s something that doesn’t come naturally to me.

Now, herein lies my predicament.

Since it has all come so easily to me in the one prominent and persistent aspect of my life—school—I’ve gotten quite spoilt and expect it all to naturally be handed to me everywhere else as well. Because I deserve it(TM). The rational part of me comprehends that this is bollocks, and that I’m screwed, but that hasn’t seemed to change my outlook toward the world.

Hypersensitive to detail as they are, women’s internal red-light warning beacons shine brightly when they get wind of this, because in their eyes, I’m just this ambiguous floater who won’t “fight for them” given the need[4]. And that I will flake out if the relationship shifts from play… to work. While I wouldn’t declare these fears unfounded, I think it’s harsh. Because I believe that when all the chips fall in place, relationships can be a breeze too.

Just like every other aspect I allow in my life[5].

[1] That’s 4 years + 4 years undergrad + 12 years school + 2 years kindergarten + 1 year preschool; for the number junkies in the audience keeping track of this sort of thing.
[2] Clearly, watching programs based on what sorts of ads run during their breaks qualifies me an expert.
[3] According to my math-averse friends, this isn’t in the least trivial. But that’s not the point; it’s still trivial to me.
[4] A remnant from cavewoman times.
[5] And that, my lovelies, is one of the non-trivial reasons I am still alone. And, it’s not that this is a point of view that is trivial to fix; so it won’t be.

This is a printer-friendly version of the journal entry “The triviality filter” from actuality.log. Visit to read the original entry and follow any responses to it.

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