This Life and All Its Things

Photo Credit: Aleksandar Pasaric

Greetings my frenz, I hope you all are doing well! As this post is titled, I wanted to talk about life and what’s been going on. As my post Rediscovering My Inner INFJ talked about a little bit, my life has been going through some changes lately. From quitting my corporate job to realizing that I wanted to focus more on writing to needing to figure out what I want to do for work when the time comes. Things have been somewhat hectic and hazy. 

One of the biggest issues for INFJs is the inability to commit to a decision, especially in the realm of career. It starts as early as high school when many people face this struggle, regardless of MBTI type; however, INFJs are notorious for getting caught up in that trap well after college years. Something that I’m learning about my own reasons for this is that society isn’t built with INFJs and types like us in mind. It’s built for people who can commit to a job, whether they like it or not, and are willing to do what it takes to survive. Even if the job gives them no meaning or purpose, they will do it, even if they’re mentally and/or physically exhausted. I’ve allowed the words of people close to me to seep into my mind, words that say things like, “STEM degrees and jobs are the only ones that matter,” or “if you work in anything other than STEM I have no respect for you.” 

Words like that from people you care about can really get to you, and I didn’t realize it until a couple of days ago, but I’d been affected by them to my core. As much as I loved programming and working in STEM, it was ultimately a dead end for me. The only joy I derived from it was the fact that it paid well, but mo’ money mo’ problems is real. If I wanted to go back to school at all, for example, I wouldn’t be able to do so for a few years as I wouldn’t receive financial aid, amongst other things. 

These are things I wish I’d known, but the journey of life is such that hindsight is always 20/20. 

Another reason why I feel that INFJs have a difficult time committing to decisions is because we like to be certain that things will be okay in the long run and we want to avoid failure and rejection if at all possible. If a situation seems a bit dodgy, we’ll have 10 back-up plans in place just in case our original plan fails. When we do that, we don’t have the time or energy to focus as much on the original plan, as we need to work up the skills in the other 10 plans in order to feel a semblance of comfort. The “jack of all trades, master of none” bit comes to mind heavily with this reason. When the original plan looks at all as if it will fail, we will fall back and remove ourselves from it until it looks safe again, but by then we’ve wasted a lot of time we could have spent honing our skills in the original.

For me that translates to years I could have spent saving and revising my writing samples instead of deleting them because they weren’t good enough, focusing on my strengths instead of allowing comparisons get the best of me, and so on. I know it sounds sad, but I’m actually really grateful to know this now, because I know what it looks like and how to overcome it. I can only hope for the same for my INFJ comrades.

With all of that being said, I’ve been pushing myself to make commitments and redefine who I am and want to be in the world. I wish this virus situation had nothing to do with it, but ultimately, it is somewhat of a driver for some of my decisions. While I’ve decided to get back into creative writing for the long haul, I’ve had to temporarily put it on hold. I need to put food on the table y’all! The thing that excites me though is that what I do have going on has opened me to a world of stories and ideas.

One of my commitments is to focus on the English language and become an English teacher. This means that I’ve been going super hard in order to get my TESOL certification before September. TESOL is an acronym for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, and it encompasses both Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) and Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL). The course is amazing. It’s through Arizona State University on Coursera, which I love. The kicker is that it’s really thorough and quite intense. The timeline to completion is about 48 weeks, as there are 8 modules with 6 week-long lessons a piece. Since I’m not working, I’ve been able to dedicate full time to doing two weeks a day, except for the first Capstone, where I’ve lightened my load a little bit. Suffice it to say, it has taken a lot out of me, and by the time I’m done with all of the work for each module, I don’t want to look at my computer until the next day.

My goal is to begin my journey as an English teacher in South Korea by October 2020. We will see how that pans out over the next couple of months. My hope is that I shall return and write a blog post with the great news of my acquisition of a great teaching position in the coming weeks. The next goal is to go back to school and get my Masters in English, as I would like to teach English as a foreign language overseas in either international schools or at the university level. I know, I know, I talked about not having to go back to school in order to write well; however, that was in regards to creative writing. It’s imperative that I get an MA in English in order to teach at the university level, so that is something that I just have to go out and accomplish.

The last goal, of course, is to get back into creative writing in a serious way. Luckily all of my goals, or should I say “commitments,” allow me to get knee deep into the English language, which will make me a better writer in the long run. 

I thought it’d be scary to start making these commitments, but it’s actually quite refreshing. For so long I’d been lying to myself about what I wanted in order to fit into society and make a decent living, in order to mask my eccentricities and be accepted. The reality is that I will likely always live on the edge of society, not fitting in at all, and that’s fine with me. The older I get, the more I see through the lies and the BS of the world and how much of it is unimportant. What’s important is doing something I love and figuring out how to fund it. Failure and rejection are inevitable and it’s about time I sucked it up and accepted that, too.

We’re all out here learning. I’ll be back as soon as the TESOL certification is done in a couple of weeks, if not before then.

∞ Aminah Jamil

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