Sunday, January 25, 2009


I have been writing some very personal posts lately. I am not quite prepared to post them to the world. In due time...

In the meantime, I was sent an article by a friend that described a character trait of which someone possessing would be called a "scanner." At first, I wasn't really sure how to interpret the article. I mean, was it to shed light on some deficit on my part? Or was it to aid me in digging deep into my being?

Here are the positive excerpts from the article along with any possible applicable comments:

Scanners love to read and write, to fix and invent things, to design projects and businesses, to cook and sing, and to create the perfect dinner party. (You'll notice I didn't use the word "or," because Scanners don't love to do one thing or the other; they love them all.)
I can see this. I love everything listed above, actually.

A Scanner might be fascinated with learning how to play bridge or bocce, but once she gets good at it, she might never play it again.
I was completely obsessed with Soduku at one point and once I mastered the most difficult puzzles, I quit playing. I can see this also happening with Rock Band.

The same might be said about my volunteer commitments. I taught several bible study classes (been there, done that), coordinated three years' worth of retreats (time to move on), volunteered for tutoring (class graduated). There is just too much out there I want to try, I guess, and it is hard to stay onto one track for the rest of my life.

Scanners don't think what other people are doing is empty. They're always curious to know "what's out there" and love to poke their noses into just about anything.

I love to hear everything about other people's hobbies. Why do they do it, how did they get interested in it, what are their goals. I want to learn what you know.

99 percent of Scanners spend a lot of time scanning the horizon, thinking about their next move.

Maybe. Not too sure on this one. But, I do have a list of things I would like to do in my lifetime. Does that count? I have not completely relinquished the following ideas, even how far out of reality they are (and I KNOW they are): owning a restaurant (going to culinary school), opening up a scrapbook store, writing a novel, being a public speaker (motivator), teaching, being a diplomat, learning to play another instrument, getting involved in politics. Just to name a few...

To Scanners the world is like a big candy store full of fascinating opportunities, and all they want is to reach out and stuff their pockets.

I love how this is written. Just love it. And, this probably sums up my view of life.

Here are the struggles that Scanners face:

I spent years frustrating myself and everyone around me with my constant jumping from one thing to another. What I learned about myself eventually is that I knew deep down what I should be doing all along, but was simply too scared to commit myself to it. The constant stream of alternative ideas was simply an advanced avoidance technique.
Scared to commit. That line bothers me, but only because it is true. I want to get my MFA in Creative Writing, but I don't know if I can pass the GRE or if I can stick out going to college classes which were incredibly tough to attend when I didn't have a family and responsibilities. But why won't I try, at least? Maybe I would with encouragement and support from those closest to me, but that is usually not the case.

I think I've always avoided what I really want to do because I was afraid I'd be mediocre, or fail completely, so I'd keep changing my mind before I produced anything that could be judged.
See above.

Departments of literature, the humanities, even history were seen as irrelevant luxuries. And with that decline in respect came a radical change in the stature of Scanners. No longer described as "well-rounded," "Renaissance people," or "erudite," almost overnight they were seen as irrelevant, silly, irresponsible.
How many times have I made a comment about my well-deserved degree? My "all-job procuring" American Studies, a liberal arts degree that enabled me to dabble in varied courses of study - literature, religion, photography, history, etc. How may times have I answered the question of "what's that?" and feeling like I wasted my 4 years in Chapel Hill? Even during college I constantly questioned if I had made the right choice of colleges, considered leaving for a smaller school, considered taking a year or two off because I just didn't know what I wanted to do. I graduated and moved abroad to work as an au pair (nanny) because I still was undecided and wanted to explore the world.

The problem is, Scanners are starving in the candy store. They believe they're allowed to pursue only one path. But they want them all. If they force themselves to make a choice, they are forever discontented. But usually Scanners don't choose anything at all. And they don't feel good about it.

But at some point in high school or soon after, everyone was expected to make a choice, and that's when Scanners ran into trouble. While some people happily narrowed down to one subject, Scanners simply couldn't.
Well, ok, so I changed my major at Chapel Hill 7 times. International Relations (still dream of being an ambassador), Political Science (possible lawyer), Italian (for future life abroad), Advertising (was in the School of Journalism for a while and dreamed of working in a big firm in Chicago), English (but didn't really like Brit Lit), American Studies (because I had the most credits here and enjoyed the varied courses). I think I am missing one...forgot what it was!

My dear readers, what do you think? Is the term "scanner" a legitimate one? I think that there are actually more scanners than there are those that stick to one thing their entire lives, despite what the author says. And, if the "candy store" theory is correct, how in the world will I ever commit to anything? More importantly, how does this muddle things when are try to understand God's will in your life?


Anonymous said...


Angela said...


You know what- there are seasons in life. We don't have to do everything now. There will be lots of time left without kids in the house. Every dream doesn't have to happen now, maybe just later or in a different form.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the comments, Angela. I realized that my writing wasn't very clear at the end so revised the last paragraph. The issue isn't so much to fulfill dreams as it is trying to actually commit to something, anything, even when I know it is where God wants me to be. It is always a question for me.