There are a few questions I find quite difficult to answer. One of those questions is “what I want to do with my life.” I have this fear of standing in a room full of doctors, psychologists, and engineers, and then being asked to define my passion but not really having one answer. The other guests are smiling kindly as I try to answer, but they secretly pity me. Lately, the easiest answer has been “I want to do photography,” but it is not the only thing I like to do. It is rather part of a long list of things I enjoy doing. Unfortunately, as I grow older, the pressure to define my aspirations seem more crucial to not only having a clear direction but also earning a comfortable living.
When I was about eight or ten years old, my uncle asked me what I wanted to become. Even though I enjoyed drawing fashion sketches, I also enjoyed acting, writing stories, dancing, giving advice, playing radio host, languages (I was learning Italian phrases from my aunt and french from my mom), and writing songs. I answered my uncle with utmost sincerity and enthusiasm, “I want to be everything!” It was the last time that answer would feel correct or appropriate.
The Career Counselor in college was so dissatisfied with my goal to “be everything” that she made me do a career and personality test. It produced results that I wasn’t even remotely interested in. It also made me even more confused.
Nowadays, society has gotten better at accepting people like me. In its ever-pressing need to put things into categories, it has developed a title for people like me. Instead of saying “I want to be everything,” I can now say “I am a Creative.” Until, of course, they ask, “Creative in what field?” then anxiety stirs up again…
For a long time, this website has been hard to define. I have struggled with writing the About Me page or explaining what the site is about to anyone. I’ve changed my answers so many times: a photography portfolio, a creative outlet, a case study, a blog, a website, the list is endless. There are days where the thing I enjoy doing on my site is redesigning the front page and chatting with IT specialists. Am I now a web developer? ( Humblebrag: I took web development in college for kicks, in a class full of programmers, and I topped that class.) This is also the reason my site is one of my most prized possessions. It gives me the opportunity to be what I’ve always wanted to be, “everything!” The limitless opportunity of the internet allows me to transform this site into as many things as I want.
In one college application, I wrote that I believed the world was like a puzzle and I enjoyed having a taste of everything in order to piece them all together to create new meaning. NB: I was not accepted to Stanford University.
The truth is when Emilie’s lecture on not having one true calling showed up as a recommendation to watch on my Ted Talk playlist, I avoided it like the plague because I didn’t want to identify with that at all. I wanted so much to be able to define and narrow down my goals in life that anything that reminded me of how all over the place I was felt like bad news. Today, and I mean at this exact moment, I have come to terms with the fact that the “about me” page on my website may never be quite complete and the direction of the site may never be a clear-cut path. I will continue to dabble in everything that interests me, I will allow my heart to lead me, and I will (try to) be patient with myself not necessarily in finding my thing but in understanding that that could be several different things, including my interest in Interior Design and Architecture. And maybe, just maybe, I might be right about creating something meaningful.
I also want to say thank you to my ever supportive family who allows me to continue to dream, even though my dreams have been all over the place. The world needs more people like you. To all of my readers who feel as if their life has no particular direction, remember your heart is your compass, even it spins all over, at least you would have discovered that your full potential meant reaching all your many potentials. I also highly recommend that you watch Emilie’s Ted Talk if you haven’t seen it yet.
For my fellow Jack of all trades, I am curious to hear how who are dealing with this or have dealt with this. Or perhaps you are like me, and are just now realizing you have multiple interests let’s chat below.