"You have a lot of passions"

Recalling my most boring first date

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🔏 Paid subscribers received a photo + words essay on mooncakes last Wednesday. It was my first time doing this format, and I’d like to explore it more often.

The ube jam is called “ube halaya,” I don’t know why it’s called a jam and not a paste. During its making, it transformed from raw, deep purple to lavender thanks to sweetened and evaporated milks, to burgundy when folded into the skins, to a final baked result of purple-red. Ube isn’t an especially strong flavor, so the milks might’ve overpowered it in their sweetness.
words "the tanJentt" aligned left and above a full-width bracket facing down

“You have a lot of passions”

“You have a lot of passions. Do you think you’ll ever focus on just one?”

🚩 🚩 🚩

This is a quote from someone I had a first date with. We were 10 minutes into the date and discussing what I do for work. The tone implied that he believed in a single-focused kind of career and that you couldn’t be successful when you had multiple passions. I was honestly stunned. Because first, when was it bad to have interests in your career? And second, it’s not like I even listed that many. In fact, I only listed three—writing, photography, and marketing consulting—the three services that I offer.

I had to tell him that the beauty of designing my own job was that I could choose to do the services and passions I love. It’s not perfect by any means, but I’d choose this over an office job with corporate ladder climbing. That’s not for me.

So I turned the question around and asked him what he was into. “I don’t have any passions,” he replied. I gave a half laugh because that must’ve been a joke. Surely everyone has something they’re into, right? But no, he really said that because he wasn’t into anything.

“Not even your career?” I asked.

Negative. He chose data science over art because the former made more money. Confused, I asked him about the sketched portrait that he’d put into his dating profile. “Oh, it was a bunch of years ago, when I was in art school,” he waved a hand to dismiss it. “I haven’t drawn since then.” I don’t discount those who prioritize making money over enjoying their job, but usually, those who do that have some passions that balance that out.

By this point, we had sat down. I had internally decided that a meal was a bad idea and declined his suggestion to get dinner. Drinks, instead? I was trying hard here, scrambling to be a better conversationalist because who ends a date at half an hour? I should at least give an hour, right?

Him: “So what’s your goal in life?”

Me: “Make a positive, lasting impact on the communities I’m part of.”

Him: “Oh, I want to have fun and laugh.”

Insert a collective groan. Who doesn’t want to have fun and laugh, my goodness!

It was not my worst first date, but it was the most boring. We just said bye at the end, and the next day, I texted to say that it seemed like we didn’t click and had different directions in life. He had the gall to text me back—also in 3 sentences—each one paraphrasing mine as if he had come up with the original thought.

Text exchange of two texts. 1st: Hey- I've been enjoying getting to know you and our conversations so far. But the connection isn't there for me. You're a great person and I hope you find someone who complements you well. 2nd: Hey, I've gotten to enjoy our conversation too. Unfortunately we may not have the connection. But I'm glad to have met you and I wish you the best :)
The text exchange. I don't need the three-sentence letdown anymore, you're welcome to use it if you need it.

Anyway, thank god we didn’t get into my hobbies because then the number of passions I have would’ve shattered him.

I am a big proponent of not turning every passion into a career. I don’t want to side hustle my love of board games or jigsaw puzzles. I began working in coffee like many others did: it was a hobby. I blogged about it and met other coffee bloggers (most of whom went into coffee, too). But when I became a barista? I wondered what to do with my time now that I had turned my hobby into my work. This was also when I learned that you should have more than one hobby.

In some way, this newsletter is also like that. It’s not a hobby, but I’m also resistant to making it more business-like. Then it becomes a productivity machine where everything is optimized, my words carefully chosen for SEO, images produced and branded, analytics analyzed. I’d calculate how long it took me to think about this piece, if I could’ve done it faster. I’d pore over every unsubscribe (I turned those notifications off), every referral source. Writing this paragraph made me wince.

There has to be a happy medium, right? Or maybe (probably) I still have work to do in how I tie my productivity to success.

I appreciate the sentiment of this tweet, though I’m not sure if I’ll have the ability just to abandon an interest. Is it really possible to go deep into something for a season and then suddenly say, “okay, the season is over, onto the next one.”? Anyway, life is too short not to be passionate about anything, but I’m probably preaching to the choir here.

purple bracket, full-width, facing up

🤳🏻 social media

Instagram increased story video lengths from 15 seconds to 60 seconds. It’s testing a way to notify en-masse your messages and posts via DM (this sounds ridiculously spammy).

Twitter added an optional reminder to add alt text to your images and explained how their recommendations algorithm works.

TikTok decided to copy BeReal. Instagram has been testing their copied version of BeReal, too.

📤 digital marketing

Creator Economy: Everything Marketers Need to Know: Media has become more decentralized than ever, and millions of content creators have created a new space in the entertainment industry — the creator economy.

But what exactly is the creator economy, and why should marketers care?

👀 interesting reads

artful leaf outlines on left, "plant update" immediately to the right
closeup of a mistletoe cactus with a small white flower at the end of one stalk.
If you look closely, you’ll see a small white flower at the bottom. My mistletoe cactus is flowering!