I am passionate about a lot of different things. There are just so many brilliant and fascinating things in this world and I find myself wanting to pursue ALL of those that catch my fancy. Surely you are familiar with Mozart and his passion for music and ONLY music? Yeah…I’m not like that. If I could only engage in one thing my whole life, that would be a sad day for me and I would have a very difficult time choosing.
Over the course of my adult life I have thought about learning botany and flower arranging, owning a bookstore, becoming a pilates instructor, dancing professionally, becoming an esthetician, teaching yoga, selling my paintings, starting an herbal body care line and those are just the thoughts!
In college, I changed my major several times, going from photography, to dietetics, to dance, to art and finally settling on a general studies major that would let me do multiple things in one. I chose dance and art with my emphasis on photography. I have taken classes to learn Spanish, drawing, painting, pottery, herbal studies, yoga and even drove to California four weekends in a row one summer to learn how to make glass jewelry with a kiln. I still have all the glass and the kiln to prove it!
I have had minor careers in photography and blog writing, and one major career in dance. AND under that one major career I have been a performer, teacher, choreographer, artistic director, and designer. Not to mention, on a day to day basis I paint, write, read, study and practice yoga, study herbal medicine and make herbal beauty products.
I think you get the idea! Phew, I’m exhausted just writing about it all! Let me be clear, I have not mastered ALL of these passions, but they are passions nonetheless and I enjoy bouncing around, engaging in them all.
There have been many times when I have thought that something is wrong with me; that I am a “master of none.” Why can’t I just pick one thing? Why do I get so bored? Do I have ADD? I would often get bogged down and end up doing nothing because I couldn’t decide what to work on or which passion to choose. I would get idea after idea but never accomplish anything because I was too overwhelmed.
But all that is in the past my friends, because I found THE book of all books! Its called The Renaissance Soul: How to Make Your Passions Your Life by Margaret Lobenstine. You guys, I cannot express how much this book has changed my life! Because after reading it, I now realize that there is nothing wrong with me, I can do more than one passion at a time and yes, I can still be good at it! Any book that compares me to the likes of Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Benjamin Franklin is a win. It’s all about claiming who you are, thriving on many interests while not feeling scattered and designing a life that fits you.
The chapters that were pivotal for me were as follows:
Chapters Three and Four – You establish core values and then choose focal points from a list of everything that you’re interested in or passionate about. By choosing four or five points to focus on, you are not limiting yourself to only one dream, but now will avoid getting overwhelmed by everything on your list. My list is quite long, and that can be very overwhelming!
Chapter Seven – Offers great resources and ideas for pursuing your passions without having to go back to school. Unless it’s a small time commitment or a set your own schedule type deal, going back to school was just not an option for me. But now I realize that traditional schooling is not the only way to get an education!
Chapter Ten – This one is all about time management. She teaches you ways to set aside time for your pursuits, make a list of what you would like to get done for the week and how to build your focal point time into your calendar. And the beauty of putting “Focal Point Time” on your calendar is that you have time put aside to work on whatever you are feeling like you want to work on, and you cross off your list as you complete things. This is gold for someone like me who likes to bounce around my passions!
Growing up and all through my 20’s, I continually made myself stick to my dance career because I thought that having multiple passions and careers was not the smart thing to do. That to be good at anything, you had to devote all your time and efforts to that one thing. And I never could decide what I should pick, so I just kept doing what I was good at. While I don’t regret for one minute the happiness I found through dance and all the knowledge I gained in my years of doing it, I do often wonder if my life would have been much more fulfilled If I would have known that I could do dance and all of the other things I love. I could have done them all! Maybe not all at once, but over time, and I wouldn’t have had to give up on some of the passions that I did.
This book has given me permission. Permission to be passionate about many different things, to actually DO all the things and not be afraid to live a multi-faceted life. I guess I really didn’t need permission from anything or anyone, but it feels nice to be so supported and validated! If you are at all like me, even just a little bit, then you NEED to read this book! I feel truly blessed that I found it.