Last week, Chris Clegg wrote about his love of statistics. Just like him, I wanted to be an accountant in high school.
However, I let that dream slide, because I realized I picked it because I wanted a practical career, not because I was passionate about Math or money.
My love of Math died in a first-year university Math course, which was the only class I ever dropped. A few years gap between high school and university didn’t help.
Also, there was a massive leap from Math 30 to whatever it was they were teaching. I could not wrap my head around it.
I still needed a Math credit, so in a later semester (like most arts students) I took statistics. Sports statistics to be exact. This is rather humorous as I do not follow sports at all. However, I enjoy sports movies. I love the story behind the action and journey that the characters have to push through to succeed or grow as people.
Despite the statistics class being about sports and my newfound fear of Math, I really enjoyed it. Part of this was that I was taking two creative writing classes and an English class that semester. My mind was saturated with creativity.
I needed an escape. Statistics offered that. I enjoyed having something concrete to focus on between poetry and storytelling.
It was fun to be able to sit down and work through each of the problems to figure out the answer. To have something that I was learning which could be right or wrong. Creativity is great, and as I’ve written before, that it is essential for my well-being.
However, I also like to exercise the analytical part of my brain. Once in a while, I like to grapple with something which can be solved. I like to spend time on things which have a definite yes and no.
I’ve become incredibly lazy when it comes to Math. However, if I focus I can pick it back up. When I was between my masters degree and starting work as a journalist, I tutored adult learners in Math. It all came flooding back, and I really enjoyed it. I think my students also learned a bit.
Since then, once again I’ve regressed to a place where I double check even simple addition with a calculator. It doesn’t help that I get numbers switched around.
Although Math isn’t a big part of my life (beyond balancing my budget) I exercise the analytical part of my brain in other ways. I am a highly scheduled person. I make to do lists. I keep my space organized. I track my spending. I do puzzles, which is all about seeing patterns and connections. I especially like puzzles as they combine analysis with creativity.
As much as I value the analytical part of my brain, I am very grateful I realized that my love of Math was more of an affair than a life-long commitment. I love learning the design of Math, but once I know how it works, the joy quickly wears off.
When it comes to creative pursuits – especially writing – that love hasn’t faded.
Journalism may not be the most practical career out there, but for me it is a very good fit. I hope that other people feel the same way about their jobs. If not, maybe it’s time for a career change.
Hobbies also can fill in those aspects of your personality which aren’t being met by work.
We all have two sides to our brains. Make sure to use both.