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I was at a bar recently with a friend of mine having dirty martinis and chicken wings when a man comes up to us and asks to have a conversation with us. Reluctantly we indulge.

The man introduces himself: He was a military man who served for eight years and has been around the world. He wanted to play an interrogation game with me and my friend. He demanded that we look into his eyes and honestly answer a series of impossible questions like “What is the best thing about you?” and “What is the worst thing you have ever done?” I no longer remember the man’s name, but I do remember his eyes burning a hole through the back of my head as he stares me down asking me questions I never had to think about before.

When he saw my reluctance, he said “Come on, I am the perfect stranger, what have you got to lose?” For the sake of humoring this man and out of curiosity to see where he was going with these questions, I answered as best I could. I found it impossible to stare straight into the eyes of a stranger and divulge such information, but I tried, nonetheless, to be honest. Any answer I gave was insufficient. This insatiable stranger insisted that I was lying. Now, he based his evaluation of my answers on the fact that I kept looking away when answering. I was thinking, and out of habit, my eyes migrate to the top right. Apparently that is the creative part of the brain and so my eyes reverted there to pull BS (as he called it) out.

Now I’m not sure about his interpretation but he got me thinking past his insignificant questions.

Do I really know what the best thing about me is?
What is the worst thing I have done?
What do I really want out of life?
Where do I see myself in the future?
What is my passion?

Alas, I drew blanks. I, therefore, began evaluating my past decisions in a self discovering effort, only to figure out that every decision I made was not out of conviction. In fact, I had actually managed to manufacture conviction out of thin air, after I had already made the decisions based on what I thought made sense. A haunting realization, which sprouted new questions I could not answer.

Did I major in Journalism only because out of everything else, writing came easiest to me?
What if what I am working towards now is not what I really want?
Is it possible for a human being to have no distinct passion in life?
What if I keep changing my mind and remain a temp for the rest of  my life!?

I know, being a journalist, that you should never publish questions you can’t answer, and I sincerely hope you were not expecting me to have answers by the end of this post. I do however, have a plan!

My current conviction: I want to go to graduate school and get an MA and Ph.D. in International Affairs/Relations/Foreign Policy, so that I could work in the public/private sector, and eventually end up in the UN, and then make a difference in Lebanon. If that fails, or when I retire, I will then turn my attention to the universities in Lebanon where I will teach and publish. (Ambitious, I’m aware)

My mission: Full on investigation to see if my conviction developed before or after I made the decision. How? By actively researching the field and careers in that field.

Therefore, I will be starting a new series entitled, Convictions, which will include posts about my findings and may also serve as a guide to any one else considering a career in government, or international relations/affairs/foreign policy.

The next posts of the series will include my comments on + analysis of a book entitled: The Mighty & The Almighty: Reflections on America, God and World Affairs by Madeleine Albright (U.S. secretary of state from 1997-2001). Not to mention a summary of a book entitled “Careers in International Affairs” by Maria Pinto Carland and was published by the University of Georgetown. Stay tuned!

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