Why are you who you are?
I have been struggling with my professional path. I’ve poured countless hours into personality tests (MBTI, enneatype, etc.), asked close family and friends what they envision me doing, and have tried my luck exploring various professional and creative avenues (music, marketing, writing, programming, etc.) with little to no epiphanies. Days go by with my ego smashed and I’m left upset that others feel the wrath of my lack of self-confidence and drive. But I may have found a fix…
To center myself, I have begun to explore my childhood hobbies.
At my lowest point, I find solace in my earliest childhood memory playing Mega Man 2 on the original Nintendo Entertainment System. Not only do I mark this as the beginning of my fascination with video games but my obsession with technology and mystery altogether. The ability to control an 8-bit sprite paired with the question of how Rockman would adopt a boss’ weapon paved way to the foundation of my creativity.
I spent many years prior salivating over LEGOs, namely the $99 flagship models. Even now, I’m having overly fond memories of the Ice Planet 2002 “Deep Freeze Defender” and Blacktron 2 “Aerial Intruder.” Sure, I’d play with the sets after completing them, conducting a war between the knights of the “Royal Knight’s Castle” and the thieves of the “Dark Forest Fortress,” but more importantly, the idea of creating something new from an incomprehensible cluster of pieces into a formidable kingdom subconsciously encouraged my building and storytelling skills.
Away from toys and video games, I spent plenty of time in front of the TV. While I enjoyed several Nickelodeon TV shows such as Guts, Legends of the Hidden Temple, Nick Arcade, Double Dare, and Wild & Crazy Kids. I (like many) absolutely adored the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Even today, I can recite every piece of dialogue, mimic every sound, and predict every special effect from the original 1987 series. As tickled as I am that the TMNT have found their way back to the limelight in the forms of a CG cartoon, toys, comics, video games, LEGOs, and (soon to be) a film, I am more excited that today’s youth can experience the lessons of family, humility, leadership, intellect, passion, and humor as I did when I was a kid.
In all, when I find myself in a funk, unsure of the next move to make or how I found myself in the position I am in today, I think back to how it all started. Like most, I enjoyed video games, but was drawn to the technology and mystery within them. Like most, I enjoyed LEGOs, but I discovered storytelling and handy-work. And, like most, I fell in love with a cartoon, but I found love, family, and identity.
While I spend the majority of my days searching for myself, my passion, and my next professional endeavor, I take comfort in understanding my foundation. It gives me pleasure assisting customers in the tech world, helps me bridge the gap between a geek and a people person, and grounds my interests in the tech and media/communication fields.
My challenge to you: Think back to those activities you loved as a child and consider why you loved them. Without a doubt, some of the answers you’ve been seeking lie within your fond childhood memories.