A good friend of mine responded to a recent email about how life is going. (I'm torn between finding a job in the states or going abroad again, in case you were wondering.)
She was talking about Meat Head: the Worst Dog in the World. What she exactly said is that "It's niche` and I love it." I've heard that about Dr. Bob, too.
And yet it's the word niche` that struck me. Niche` dates back to the 1610's. It's origin could come from vulgar Latin or French. In French it meant a recess in a wall or a dog kennel. In Latin it meant nest. People were probably using it as slang a long time before it was recorded. (Upper class and lower class, and all that jazz.)
Whatever it's origins the word now means a place or position suitable for a person or a specific market. And yet, I think niche` has a large scope because it applies to life itself.
From the earliest age we are saddled with expectations: teachers, parents, peers, siblings, friends, grandparents, aunts and uncles and our selves. As we get older, universities, coaches, but especially our bosses become a huge player of expectations.
We all have things we are good at and things we are not. When we are not good things that people expect us to be good at difficulty arises. And then some of us are just plain old weird. (If you did not laugh at this joke then you have failed my expectations of you.) Moving on.
The only way to navigate life is to be hard on yourself, but not too hard. To work hard but not too hard. To play hard, but not too hard. But above all else you must carve out your niche`.
I'm going to use writing as example, but this applies to anything you do... If the traditional mode of publications is securing an agent and then a publisher, carving out your niche` might include that or it might mean doing it on your own, or a third option that nobody has thought of.
Finding your niche` is a great thing, but a word of caution: don't forget that as we grow older we change and our niche` today may not be the niche` we need tomorrow. If you build the walls too high, you run the risk of self imprisonment.
What's your niche`? Do you like it there or do you feel stuck?
Mariel R. is an ESL teacher, horse trainer, writer, editor, sporadic blogger, and lover of beer. She lives in South Korea with two cats, three horses, a German Shepherd and 17 chickens.
Bear (Gom in Korean) then (above) now (below)
Geumbi (Goldy in English) R.I.P February, 23, 2018