"What self do you return to, when you are at liberty on vacation? Is it your college self, who is slightly more risk-taking? Or are you just a mom dealing with kids going off to the go kart place, and you're just doing your duties but in a different place and wearing sandals?"
I've been thinking a lot along these lines recently. This week I spent a few days back in Southampton, where I grew up, escaped from for six years in my twenties, and then returned to for my young adulthood. I've only recently moved away from this place, and my circumstances now are much different than when I left for college. From 2008 to 2013, I made my life here, and I built an infrastructure that, to some extent, remains here, for me to pick back up when I return for a weekend. And I enjoy doing so, though it's not clear to me to what extent I want this lifestyle to be a huge part of my life.
Right now these are questions that are a big part of my life writ large. Last week, I spent a few hours fixing a fancy espresso machine. I'm being paid to do so, but am also giving away a bit of my time in the interest of learning about how a machine works. I enjoy learning about new machines, and I'd like to think that understanding this one - a Rocket Giotto - will make me better at designing something of my own. More broadly, I consciously believe that it'll enrich my understanding of the world at large.
I'm not sure if either of these feelings constitutes a good reason to have taken on the work. I'll be paid very little, and it likely won't heighten my prestige or lead to an interesting job opportunity. It's possible, though, that I actually enjoy the work enough to make it worth my while. But this question is even more difficult to answer: Do I enjoy doing the work? Or, put a bit differently: Given that I have a limited amount of time, and assuming that I could make a rational decision regarding what in my life to prioritize, should I rank my jaunt into espresso machine repair above anything else in my life?
No answer presents itself to me, but I would love to hear your thoughts - I'm sure others out there entertain similar quandaries.