I came across your blog while reading Dan Shipper's blog which I came across while reading Lifehacker which I probably found during some random web crawl. I usually don't write to bloggers/people-online much but you seem pretty cool about receiving and answering mail so here goes. I am not sure where your usual readership comes from but I am writing to you from Sri Lanka, which would most likely in the minority when it comes to your readership. :)
Your interests seem pretty varied on your blog, so I was wondering, how do you choose your particular 'line' or career, or where you ultimately want to head. Ideally one would want to specialize in something, but when your interests are varied, how do you figure out what you want to be. In various times of my life I have been interested in the pure sciences (Physics, Chemistry kind of stuff), computer science, I dabble in some photoshopping even though I am not great at it, I like music even though I am not great with an instrument, I like the idea of programming even though the thought of becoming good at it is too daunting, I like writing, even worked a bit on international relations, but haven't come across something I can devote myself to. It would be nice to find my calling before I grow old and die.
How would you choose where you want to go with your life if you just like everything?
I've noticed that a lot of times when I do something and I wonder for a moment if it was the best choice or not, I tend to come to the conclusion that I don't regret it, so it must be good. For example, I was debating whether a week or so of sharply diminished productivity was an acceptable cost to go hike around the mountains in Peru.
My first instinct, with the Peru situation, amongst aothers, is to say, "Well, I had an awesome time, learned some good stuff, and had a great experience, so it was the right decision." But does that actually really mean that it was a good decision?
I'm really happy with my life and what I'm doing, so therefore I don't regret any decision I've made. The implication is that even though I didn't make every decision absolutely correctly, everything worked out for the best. To support this idea, I can think of one cool thing that happened, or one really great person I met, and work backwards through the improbable series of choices I made that led me there.
The more I think about it, the less stock I put into these sorts of thought patterns. Rather than reflecting the objective reality of decisions, I think that they reflect my optimistic nature. Really bad things can happen to me, and I'm still happy. Some circuit in my brain finds happiness and then weaves all past events into a narrative that supports that happiness: "If I didn't have hundreds of thousands of gambling profits stolen, I wouldn't have become a writer and put out a few books. Therefore I'm glad that I lost that money."