Remember when we were in kindergarten and our joyously curious teacher went around and asked each student, “So, what do you want to be when you grow up?” It seemed like most kids had a vivid idea of what they wanted to be in life.
There are children who discover their talents early, but there are others who have latent talents they find after experiencing more in life. The lingering question that hovers over us growing up, “What career do we want when we grow up?” makes some of us believe that we must choose only one profession to pursue. It’s almost as though we should narrow our focus down to one talent when, in reality, there are some of us who have many talents and interests.
Because we live in a culture that worships the idea of having a pipedream career, it makes us neglect our other talents that can be useful and profitable. Life gives us many ways to explore avenues and discover our other hidden talents along the way. In the age of “side hustles,” being a multifaceted person is a great advantage. But before I go into that, here’s a brief history of my intricate career search…
As a small child, my head was high in the clouds. I was not quite in touch with the physical world just yet, but ironically, I lived in the moment. Living in the moment meant that I did not think about my personal future as much as others. So, when I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would either give a very general answer (“A teacher!”), or I would perkily say, “Don’t know yet.” It just wasn’t something I pondered much. It was like I was walking down a poorly lit path that became illuminated with every step I took; I may not have known what I was going to do 20 years down the line, but I always knew what I wanted to do the next day. But every day I lived, my future became more vivid and crystalized.
Metaphorically, I swam through my sometimes overly active imagination with school and family being my grounding mechanisms. This made it difficult for me to think about my future in a practical sense (and not many things prompted me either). This went on until high school, which is the final frontier before college—a place where you “must” know your niche. It was ninth grade “life skills” class that began my future-oriented thought process. For me, that particular course was like “Soul Searching 101.” I recall doing creative assignments that required emotional, intellectual, and physical self-expression, as well as assignments that helped us pinpoint our personality type and our desired career. This was a huge grounding mechanism for me because I needed to find myself before discovering my passions.
All throughout high school, I searched for potential careers that I could pursue, things I was comfortable with. I skated through journalism and being an interviewer, through wanting to model, and through dancing (which is still a passion to this day!). But my family would pin me down from time to time and tell me I need to pursue something more practical with my life. Long story short, I chose a secretarial direction and even went to community college for it…until I was spiritually led to write and changed my major. I knew writing was for me because my past options never connected with me long term, and it was something I knew and did especially well.
THE RENAISSANCE WOMAN
Everyone’s heard of the Renaissance man, the multitalented person who is so well-versed and appears to prosper in all they do? There is a story behind that, and it could possibly be they’ve explored many fields of interest until they found their niche. But after they found that niche, they still engage in their other talents. Sometimes being indecisive about our careers leads us to explore different avenues and birth new talents along the way. It allows us to have side hustles, to have a “Plan B” if our initial plan doesn’t flourish, and to be practical in many fields.
Life isn’t about narrowing it down to one career; it’s about discovering your possibilities! And becoming your own Renaissance woman!