You ever wonder what in the actual hell you are doing with your life?
Me -- nah. No way.
I walk around planet Earth just outrageously certain of myself, confident in my every decision. And man, it shows.
Daily, I'm stopped on the street by people who all have the exact same thing to tell me: "Good god, woman!" they exclaim. "You look like someone who KNOWS where she is going. Not just, like, directionally-speaking, by the way. What I mean to say is --" they pause briefly, struggling to find the words. "What I mean to say is that you seem to have this general sureness about yourself and your future. The heavens smile down on you for your fearless determination towards your singular, unwavering goal. Good for you, girl. GOOD. FOR. YOU."
I then respond to this commonplace occurrence by simply shrugging my shoulders, smiling, tossing a mixture of glitter and five-hundred $1 bills in the air, and laughing as I mount the back of a motorcycle driven by my good friend and Grammy-award-winner, Rihanna. We ride off into the sunset together, leaving behind a trail of superfluous sparkle and currency.
And then I wake up.
The honest truth is I am never stopped on the street by such admiring strangers. Rihanna is not a close, personal friend. I am sorry if I misled you.
And the other honest truth is that I'm not always outrageously certain of myself either, particularly when it comes to existential matters of the what-am-I-doing-with-my-life variety.
See, I've got this condition, and perhaps you've got it too: I like a bunch of stuff.
In other words, I'm multi-passionate.
This means that I am seldom working towards one focused, singular goal. In fact, I'm often working towards multiple goals, fueled by a vast spectrum of interests, regularly dropping other ambitions in pursuit of new ones (a cardinal sin, many would say). Instead of living my life like a golden retriever on a treadmill running towards a steak attached to a fishing line, I live more like a chihuahua who got loose in an unsupervised butcher shop (i.e. I have several interests vying for my attention. There are many, many steaks, if you will).
For reference, here's a list of things I enjoy/care about/am skilled in, in no particular order: writing, reading, organizing events, traveling, being alone, being with people, being with some people but not other people, theater, music, podcasts, television, video editing, musicals, psychology, teaching, public speaking, leading small groups, Twitter, babies who wear glasses, convincing people to watch The Great British Bake Off, wearing fuchsia, Photoshop, design, singing, working with kids, baking, improv, blogging (oh yeah, that), feminism, activism, performing, wearing jumpsuits. The list goes on.
Offhand, this certainly doesn't seem like the worst condition to have. I always tend to agree with the adage that to be interesting, you must first be interested. (Doesn't that just have the very best ring to it?)
But the problem with being multi-passionate is that it can have the effect of making the road of life, particularly the road of a professional or artistic life, feel a bit winding and full of detours. The moment you start to pursue one interest, you immediately feel like you are leaving all of the others in the dust.
Here's a terrible diagram I drew to help illustrate this point:
If you're multi-passionate, perhaps you are familiar with what it feels like to experience life in this way. Others around you seem to be progressing at a normal speed towards something concrete while you are pulled in a million directions towards this vague idea of feeling "fulfilled."
This habit of falling in love with a million different life paths can make it hard to feel like you are ever really achieving expert status in anything. How could anyone ever possibly find the time to turn each of their multiple passions into honed disciplines?
Thus, for the non-expert, unsure, multi-passionate human being, a nagging question can sometimes start circulating in the mind, seemingly out of nowhere --
What in the actual hell am I doing?
That's the question that arrives in my mind, at least. Perhaps in your mind you use less salty language, but you get the idea.
This question, by the way, doesn't stand alone. It has friends: other kinds of questions that are all sort of similar but daunting in their own unique way. Questions like --
- Am I wasting my time?
- Am I in the right career?
- Am I good at this?
- What does everyone else think about this path I'm on?
- Am I doing what I'm doing for the right reasons?
- Am I being true to myself?
- Should I just give up already?
If any of this is sounding familiar to you, then unfortunately, the prognosis is official: you're multi-passionate. You like a bunch of stuff. You're doomed.
That is, until you consider the alternative.
Think about all of those other guys: the ones who know exactly what they want and always have known and won't stop until they get it.
What happens when they reach their goal only to find out that it's not all it's cracked up to be?
Or worse yet, what happens if something completely derails them from ever reaching their goal in the first place?
What if the won't-stop-until-I-become-a-scented-candle-maker guy loses his sense of smell? (Is that possible? I hope not.)
What if the won't-stop-until-I-become-the-first-person-on-Mars lady realizes that space is a vast wasteland that is better left unknown? (My personal opinion and I stand by it)
Certainly, this results in a crisis of sorts, and a big one at that.
But you, my multi-passionate, multi-talented, multi-fascinated friend: you're different.
While many people throughout your life will accuse you of being a head-in-the-clouds, impractical nutcase, I would argue that the opposite is true.
I would say that you're a hyper-realist (and so am I! Phew!). You know that there is more than just one option for you. You know that life is essentially just free sample day at Trader Joe's. You can try stuff. You can love stuff. You can hate stuff. You can combine stuff. You can even build a whole goddamn meal out of JUST. FREE. SAMPLES, you clever thing, you!
So when life throws you a curveball, you've got options. You may not know everything there is to know about one subject, but you know at least a decent amount about lots of subjects. At worst, this makes you a wonderful conversationalist, and at best, it makes you a valuable asset wherever you go. Seriously.
But it's a trade-off, right? For the singularly focused passionate person, there's potential for a HUGE crisis if a goal isn't met. For the multi-passionate person, there's even greater potential for a series of mini-crises for, like, the rest of your life.
(Sorry, but it's true.)
So if you're feeling like you're in the midst of one of those mini-crises right about now, I've got just the thing for you!
I've created a FREE workbook for your multi-passionate ass! This 6-page document is essentially an interview between you and your existential crisis. I'm giving you the tools to ask yourself questions that are far more helpful than "What in the actual hell am I doing?" so that you can get on the road towards feeling confident in your choices.
Ready to feel a little less panicked and a lot more sure of yourself? Click below to snag your free download!