Discernment. I continue to search for the path forward I’d like to take in my career. My trip to Rakhine was fruitful, but it did not bear any immediate course of action. My attempt to try and engage in some short-term consulting work has fallen flat. So in that vacuum, I continue to search and connect with various organizations/individuals to see what sticks.

Unfortunately, this situation of little structure has left a hole for frustrations to simmer. Recent skin irritations (and the uncertainty of whether there are fleas in my apartment), and the last-minute cancelation of a trip two of my close friends were going to make to visit Myanmar, has pushed the irritation meter up a few more notches. This has been compounded by a striving to build a close community here that has felt like an uphill battle.

I don’t feel a draw to Myanmar in particular over other countries. If I stay, I will want to make sure it is for a cause I care a lot about (Rakhine could be in the running for that if it pans out).

I was thinking that I could convey some of this in graphical form.

In this first chart you can see an example of how Novelty and Nuisance play off of each other. I included labels (not-exhaustive) for each category to give you a sense. The longer I am here, the more I realize the novelty of experiencing a new place diminishes and the nuisances of being in a third world country increase. The question is where these two lines meet (I’m not sure where that is but I feel them growing closer). [please not that when I say “Locals” I don’t mean that I value the people any less, it’s just getting beyond the cursory “hello, how are you” and the giddy response of hearing a white, bald dude speak basic Burmese]

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However, an important consideration is the third factor: Purpose. Although influenced by the other two factors, Novelty and Nuisance, I think Purpose carries more weight than these other two factors (not sure to what extent though). The issue is that my sense of “Purpose” here feels kind of like a downward trajectory. This applies additional pressure on the trend of Novelty and Nuisance. You could argue that perhaps the Rakhine portion should be shifted upward, but I’m not sure I’ve seen enough traction there to warrant it.

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That’s all I have for now. To be honest, the graph concept came to me last night, which is why I thought it could be beneficial as a tool to help convey some of my thoughts.

I know in general I am blessed to have the opportunity to be here and the gift of choice. And perhaps I should be more thankful for these things rather than focus on the nuisances and discredit the novelties. Maybe I should not even call them “novelties” but rather turn them into more meaningful areas, and at the same time chalk up the nuisances to the fact that there will be nuisances wherever in the world I live, just maybe of a different sort (lawn isn’t green enough, Amazon orders not arriving fast enough, mistaken meal order, etc.). Perhaps these sorts of things take time, and it’s all easier said than done. It’s just hard to know sometimes when to acknowledge signals versus work through the challenges.