If you are anything like me, you will have about five answers at any given point in time for "What are you curious about?". And that set will change depending on the day of the week. Or, also like me, you may be having that sort of week where you (mistakenly) "know for sure, beyond a shadow of doubt" that you have lost the curiosity directive. Basically, you might immediately (and once again, mistakenly) feel like a flake or a failure or some horrid in-between. I sure do.
Luckily, arguably, a more interesting, revealing, and kinder question is; "What have you been curious about?".
You see as it happens, days glom into weeks, weeks into months and maybe even years. Only in hindsight do I discover that I have been non-casually curious about "X". That my mind kept returning to that "X". That it drove me to action in some way; a blog post written, a book read, a long discussion had, a life experiment attempted, a tutorial followed, a behaviour tried, an experience opted into etc.
For me the last year-plus became about examining the contents of my mind, identifying observing and acknowledging personal traits and oddities, making the self do things that past-me would scoff at or shy away from or fear, articulating what I want my professional life to be, and so forth.
I can tell that this has been the "curiosity drive" that I was so convinced I had lost permanently, because I recently created a "now" page that publicly reflects some of that, and ended up writing this blog post about what I want to do for fun and money(!) and ended up applying for a second batch at the Recurse Center (starting soon!).
That sounded like heavy work, but I have honest-to-goodness been playing in the sense of serious play. Among other things, I have re-framed "adult" as "still an impish, wide-eyed, curious thirteen year old underneath sediments and crusty layers of accreted life experiences and beliefs and rules and… just stuff".
And I feel a looking-back-to-curiosity exercise has power to shed light on where to look ahead (and why to do it). More so, I feel it has power to grant permission to that "insatiably curious thirteen year old self" to step out and play. Because it probably already has been up to something, while your attention was elsewhere.
So, here is a prompt (see what I just did there? ;-)) …
What have you been curious about?
(NB: This is a lightly edited version of my newsletter that went out today.)