Monday, April 14, 2008

Second Life

Do you have a second life? No, I'm not referring to the online virtual world, but about the various lives we lead each day. Several years ago people were defined by one job - she is an artist, she is an accountant, he is an engineer, etc. Today it seems normal to have a second life, or even third, fourth, or more! So, what's a second life? To me, a second life is a "job" or "life" you do that isn't your main job or focus.

Here's an example. Most people fall under this second life situation...let's call this person Jane. Jane wake up in the morning and goes to her first job of the day - most likely it pays the bills, and is the job she dislikes the most. Yeah, weird conundrum right? Between breaks, lunch, and evenings she starts her second lives by forming a small business to sell online goods and does freelance opportunities. On top of that, she updates a daily blog, takes care of a household, and is involved with community volunteer projects. Plus, she teaches yoga three times a week, does taxes on the side, and bakes pies for every major event. Sounds crazy, but most of us can relate to a similar hectic schedule.

What's up with our desire to lead these second lives? Not only are schedules over-booked, but business cards are beginning to look like novels. I'm not completely opposed to the notion of a second life because I fall victim to this desire. I want, and almost need, to dip my hand in several projects and second life jobs. I want to learn photograph, I want to build a website, I want to sell goods online, I want to be a successful designer, and so much more. The negative side to my second life is tasks never seem fully complete and ideas are left dangling. Plus, I feel like I take on different roles in each job, which makes my mind go a little insane!

If you want to be good at several things, does that mean you are never great at one thing? In our society people are demanded to be multi-functional, multilingual, and multi-taskers. If you have one job it's like...well, geez, what is wrong with YOU? WHAT do you DO in your spare time?!

The question remains - do you have a second life? If so, how do you schedule your time and overcome the need to add on more lives? Another fun thing to try - combine all your lives in one word. I'm a about you?


Dianna said...

great post & i can totally relate! i think the 2nd life comes in because of the lack of satisfaction with our "real" jobs that actually pay the bills. who wants to sit at a desk all day & stare at the computer? this is why i started a blog, so i could entertain myself & feel creative during the day while i sit at work. and then there's side jobs, which keep me feeling active & creative. it gets crazy, but i think we can all do many things & do them well. no need to limit ourselves to 1 job. how boring.

Diana said...

Dianna - wonderful comments and very insightful. You are right, we start our second lives to combat the unsatisfication in our real life job. I understand your reasoning for starting a blog. I felt the same way - I had creative insight and wanted to share with the world, and keep busy between boring work tasks. Thanks again. Now, if only our second life could become our main life!

design for mankind. said...

Oh I love this!!!! :) What a fun post! I'm an adexecerator.

That's Advertising Executive/Decorator, if you need the hint. ;)

Diana said...

Oh fun - sounds like a superhero!!

Jessie Cacciola said...

I'm so glad this post turned out NOT to be about 2nd life the game -- which really makes me sad, and kinda creeped out-- but in this REAl life, I guess I'm a stuwripher.
...student/writer/photographer. =)

- Jessie -

Diana said...

Jessie - so great! No...I would not write about Second Life the online game...equally creeps me out too.

paradigmshifted said...

I'm with you on this. I'm a researcher by day, do-gooder by night... and an amateur gardening yogi on the side. :)

Decorno said...

Great question. The "2nd life" saves me from my first. I have a great job, but I refuse to allow it to define me completely (I did for a while and that was lame).

For a while, I was so obsessed by not wanting to seem like I was dabbling in a bunch of things that I never told everyone I knew about all of my interests.

Now, I am slowly letting it all out. I have been a wedding photographer (and a good one), and a popular design blogger (still). I love it. I think these outlets make me better at my first life and keep me from resenting it. I am a better employee, for one thing. When I travel for work (something that I feel cheats me out of family time) I just shift gears and do more blogging while I am away and the rewards outweighs the negatives. It keeps things in balance, that's for sure.

I am not usually all sunshine and Pollyanna, but I will say, blogging has been an excellent outlet for me, and a way to make the most of the kind of writing I loved back when I was a student and had the leisure time to pursue it. Not to mention - it's been so much fun to meet so many others (online) who are design obsessed and who also have some kind of 2nd life that they are trying to make the most of.

Fun question - thanks for asking it.

Diana said...

Thanks for all your great comments. Wedding photographer? Would love to know more about that! Seems like having a 2nd life is a good thing, and even though it makes us crazy can keep us sane.

Kate of All Trades said...

Yes! I too have a second (and third) life. For my day job I wear many hats because I run a very busy small business. It's a great situation but not enough, creatively. So I blog on the side. And sometimes I freelance. Then there's the house, the two year old, and the husband.

I guess the home and family are non-negotiables. But the job gets balanced out by the blog, even though it means I sacrifice time with the family. Right now I'm right on that edge, where things are balanced and life is working. I guess that's the trick.

littlebyRD said...

Wow - I was just thinking along these same lines the other day when I was wondering why I feel like I haven't sat down in at least a month. I am a momretailsalescrafterwife. I kind of like having many different hats but do feel as if I am not putting 100 percent into any of them.

Stephanie Ryan said...

I know it is exhausting. My paying job is great, I design for dinnerware. But for some reason I feel that is not enough, I have been searching for years to find what is enough. My second life is my stationery company which I don't have the passion that I thought I would have for it. Which means it's not the "thing". But what is??? My third life is my new blog, which I am passionate about, but still trying to figure out what I want it to say. My fourth life is my husband and everything else. I am pretty tired. My first life is an hour and fifteen minute drive from my other lives.Yikes! I think this all has to do with purpose. What is my purpose. What's yours? Great topic.

Diana said...

Stephanie Ryan - that's a great question. I think many people ask the "what is my purpose" question daily. I'm still trying to figure out my purpose, but I know it has to do something with art, design, and helping people/environment. Having a blog has helped fufill part of that purpose, but I wish I could find a full-time, paying job to help.

And, wow, what a drive! Good luck and keep creating.

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