i am what i am

11 March 2014

popeye_i_am_what_i_am_t_copy

I am frequently reminded that I am made to be an architect. I don’t know what else I could do. Yes, I’ve written about this before, but it is a recurring thought as I interact with others and I discover that my interests are not the same as the “average guy.” I don’t hunt, fish or get excited about cars or motorcycles. I enjoy sports, but I mostly watch my hometown pro baseball and football team. I also am sensitive to discussions that relate to one’s opinion of their job, which is often negative. I find that troublesome, perhaps tragic – a sad way to spend your life.

This past weekend my family made a three-hour trip so my son could compete in the Pennsylvania State MathCounts Competition. It was something we were certainly glad to be part of and are more than proud of our son’s accomplishments at making the team at only 11 years old and in the sixth grade. He’s amazing and he’s cut out to be a math kid (like his Mom). It’s his calling.

Speechless is the term that comes to mind as I watched these kids compete in the Countdown Round. They answer questions in less than 45 seconds when I can’t even figure out what is being asked in that time period. Some answer in mere seconds.

I couldn’t help but think about the fact that although I can’t do what they do; I’m okay with that.

Sure, my math skills were strong in school and I did very well at the math courses I had to take partially because of some natural ability and partially because of my own personal drive to succeed at everything I set my mind to do. Nevertheless, my abilities pale in comparison with the abilities of these middle school students. Hopefully they go on to use their talents and skills and understand who they are and that they were made to do this.

For those you who have observed architects at least once and remain puzzled about how we think, how we draw and how we represent things and even the way we dress, let me say for most of us this is who we are not just what we do. To me it’s a calling.

A long time ago, I got quite comfortable with knowing who I am and pursuing it. I’d like to think that one day I can be considered good. Regardless, I know that this is who I am. I was made to be an architect. I may not be able to do anything else or perhaps I may not be able to do anything else well.

I believe it is really important in life to find out who you are and what you were made to do – and by all means do it.   After teaching at a university for over eleven years, I’ve seen many students come and go with not a clue about what they want to do or are able to do. Perhaps that’s too much to ask at eighteen. They often are just doing what someone told them they should or must do. I met a physician a few weeks ago who told me he wasn’t made to be a physician, but he’s doing well at it and enjoys it. I have a hard time making sense out of that but I can at least apprehend it.

Being an architect is more than being able to draw – in whatever way you define that. It’s more than simply being creative. And it is beyond knowing about construction or even wishing to change the world. I can’t take the credit for the seed of ability given me. However, I’ve worked at developing it my entire life…since I was in the sixth grade.

Funny how that works out…

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5 Responses to “i am what i am”


  1. It is a great blessing to find a vocation in life that you feel is a ‘fit’.

  2. mcas88 Says:

    Your remarks are understood and this architect concurs.

    That said, for the sole proprietor the past six years have been a test to the dedication of the “calling” . Then coming up against things even harder, those closest say phrases like ‘do something else’. Makes the whole situation all that more difficult to contend daily, yes?

    The blessing is in knowing the architect as an environmental optimist, making ready solutions.

    • leecalisti Says:

      Thanks for your candid sharing. It’s what makes the world of social media rewarding. I want to be clear to whomever reading, there is no perfect profession or even “greener” grass so to speak. My days have highs and lows. However, I still love what I do and if I have to work, I’d want to do this. If I didn’t have to work, I’d still have to do this, but perhaps at a different pace and choosing. I have to make and I have to create.

  3. Jeremiah Says:

    Reblogged this on r | one studio architecture and commented:
    Simply brilliant. And the video at the end is pure genius.


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