So my latest obsession is learning about all things personality related. It was something which I felt it would be interesting to look into in more detail based on my experiences with my Happiness Project. In short, a major finding is that although we can all move the needle in a more positive direction, what exactly leads to a happier life for me is probably not identical to what would for you due to our individual differences. Starting out that project, I remember reading Gretchen Rubin’s argument that one of the keys to happiness is self-knowledge, and she says that “we can build a happy life only on the foundation of own nature, our own values, and our own interests…[and in her] own case, [she] found that the more [her] life reflects [her] nature, the happier [she] becomes.” And after a year of trying all different happiness and positive psychology strategies and activities I can say from firsthand personal experience how true that is. However, although I did learn a lot about myself and what does make a difference in my own subjective wellbeing, I was also mesmerized by the alternatives that might be better suited for others. Therefore I decided to make my next area of in-depth study (for fun only – not quite as serious as that may sound) focused on learning about the multitude of personality frameworks out there and the different types therein. I’m only a couple books in so far, but one thing I have found to be fascinating has been the way that our personalities influence the types of careers that we might be interested in and where we might excel professionally based on fit with our own innate characteristics (aside from hard work, aptitude, and grit of course!). In reading this, I began to reminisce about one of the most pervasive questions of child- and young adulthood (and as it turns out – beyond!) – “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
Interesting, it seems even here, we can delineate between various types of people – there are those who always knew what they wanted to be and grew up to do exactly that, those who thought they knew what they wanted to do, but grew up to change their mind, and those who are perhaps still not convinced they know. I remember being asked this question often by both peers and grownups alike when I was as young as 4 years old. In the early stages of childhood, I of course didn’t know the nearly endless possibilities that existed, but I did know that I loved learning and school so I would usually say that I wanted to be a teacher or a writer. As I got a bit older, I remember career days and various projects focused on providing an answer to “what do you want to be when you grow up” and I remember preparing presentations proclaiming a future as an actress for awhile and then more frequently a writer.
But then with high school graduation looming nearer, “what do you want to be when you grow up” became a more urgent question. I distinctly remember feeling panic about committing to a particular area of study and also overhearing my mother say to her friend that I would probably like most to be a cheerleading coach. After being accepted into my undergraduate university, we attended an induction ceremony which included breakout sessions for parents and incoming students. We were asked to declare a major and to my parents surprise, I remember telling them proudly that I was going to study pre-med. However, only a few weeks into the second semester, I had a pretty traumatic car accident had to drop all my classes for that term. Spending three months completely bedridden, I had plenty of time to reconsider my trajectory and said instead I would study counseling psychology or social work.
Once in the psychology program, I realized more than working in an applied setting, I really loved the research and writing aspects of academia and theory. After graduating, I worked as a research assistant in a couple different roles in preparation for grad school. But then (and I’m not really sure exactly how or why) something flipped inside me and I thought that actually what I should do was go to business school and pursue a MBA. With no idea what I would actually do with the degree, I did exactly that. And throughout the course, I learned about the world of management consulting and solutions engineering. It sounded glamorous to have an extensive travel schedule and attend meetings with companies in various industries, learning about their business challenges and objectives and then offering advice about what they should do to optimize or improve. So soon after finishing my degree, I decided to move out East and found a job doing exactly that (which is by the way still my primary job). However, it’s a bit less glamorous (understatement) than I thought.
Although I do travel for work often, it’s often translates to extended workdays and very little actually experiencing the places we go. In fact last week, I was in Copenhagen for the first time ever, eager to see even a bit of the renowned city as I am a HUGE fan of Danish design and “hygge” style. Alas, the only thing I saw was the inside of the airport, my hotel and a fairly ugly meeting room. I guess I am one of those people who had to learn by experience what I do not want to be when I grow up. Thankfully, in large part due to my Happiness Project I have found ways to incorporate more of what I do want to do into my life even now – like reading, researching, and writing this blog, plus of course, my “grownup” version of being a cheerleading coach – a barre and Pilates instructor! I’m so thankful that I had the chance to see firsthand what the world of consulting looks like so that I’m learning definitively what I intuitively seemed to have known all along – what I really want to be when I grow up.
Even though I am still sad to not have been able to experience any of the sights or city of Copenhagen, I do have to say that the food I had while there was some of the best I’ve had in any of my European travels. Everything was fresh, clean and beautifully prepared. Although the ingredients themselves were simple real foods, the presentation and combination of colors and flavors was outstanding and delicious. Therefore, inspired by that trip, I hereby present a Danish inspired dish – a Whole30 Smoked Salmon and Peach Salad.
- Paleo Mayo .5 cup (recipe HERE)
- Fresh Dill, Minced 2 TBSP
- Capers 2 TBSP
- Lemon Juice 2 TBSP
- Sea Salt and Black Pepper to Taste
- Smoked Salmon Filet 2 each
- Soft Boiled Eggs, Halved 2 each
- Bibb or Butterhead Lettuce, leaves torn 1 head
- Cucumber, Sliced .5 cup
- Peach, Sliced 1 each
- Shallot, Sliced 1 each
- Creamy Dill Dressing 1 recipe
- In a small jar with a lid add all the ingredients of the Creamy Dill Dressing and then shake well to combine.
- Build your salad with the lettuce and then split the remaining ingredients arranging them on the plate and drizzling the dressing over the top.