April 13, 2019

Identity In Space

Sent by Jonathan Stark on April 14th, 2019

About a week ago, I sent out a message about periodically examining old habits or beliefs or routines or relationships to avoid being dragged down by things that have outlived their usefulness.

One of my suggestions was:

Consider the position of your desk, the quality of your chair, the accessibility of your most used books, files, and other physical reference materials. Is your workspace set up optimally?

This suggestion triggered a bit of a crisis for long-time friend-of-the-list Maciej “Magic” Sarna (shared with permission, bold mine, edited slightly for clarity):

Hi Jonathan, Ok - digested the email. Did you ever consider becoming a preacher? Although I’m on this path of change for roughly 2 years, many bells rung after today’s reading. A short story below, hope you’ll enjoy it. IDENTITY IN SPACE What might be interesting to you, happened while attempting to re-organize my desk. I used to earn a living as a medical draftsman, then mostly as a videographer - both required me to use my Wacom Cintiq drawing tablet-screen a lot. Over time I moved more into earning my living with thinking about doing video and about communicating with clients. I don’t use my Cintiq so much for drawing or editing anymore. In fact it moved from being 80% drawing, 20% typing, to 90% typing, 5% video editing, 5% drawing. The Cintiq is too low for typing - my neck is bent too much forward, and it has been this way for 2-3 years. After reading your email I decided to move my main screen on the other monitor I have, which is much more comfortable for typing. Moved it and....the crisis came ;-) It was not about getting used to a new setting. I felt as if my identity was in danger. Although I’m well aware I’m not a draftsman anymore, I felt very uncomfortable adjusting my work space. I thought my identity crisis was over and I felt comfortable in my quest to become a consultant, and in fact I’m earning my living already from thinking, typing and talking. BUT it appears there is much more to identity than conscious acceptance. Somehow the physical space conserved my old identity. I will get to it, but for now - reverted the work space to where it was. The neck can wait for the head to catch up a bit longer. Kind of personal ☺ but please do share it if you want. May be of use to some people. —M

Thanks very much for sharing, Magic! I betcha a lot of people can relate. I know I can. Hopefully, your story will open a door for someone.