I HAVE SPENT most of my life apologizing for not being single-minded.
"Find your passion!" is advice often given to people who are struggling to figure out what they want to be when they grow up.
Last night I listened to a podcast of my daughter Melanie Gillman. They are as driven and passionate about their field, comics, as a person could be. They're even keeping track of their hours spent comic-making so that they know when they reach the magical "10,000 hours" that should mean mastery. And here in their mid-20s, they have a master's degree, were nominated for an Eisner award, and are regularly interviewed and written about. They're amazing! Check out Mel's Eisner-nominated webcomic here.
And I felt so ashamed.
What have I ever given that much focus to?
"You're like the ADHD of passions!" the nasty voice in my head snapped. And he's right (I think of him as a 'he'). I have grown and cultivated passions and talents in so many things: painting, drawing, calligraphy, music, theater, education, child sponsorship, puppetry, sewing, and even some odd, less-traveled roads such as Ukrainian Easter eggs and African drumming! And it's not just that I "dabble" in lots of things--I fling myself into them, sign up for classes, TEACH classes, drag family members along. Each one is truly a passion, not just a passing interest.
"Just CHOOSE ONE!!" snaps voice-in-head
The problem is, I can't. As soon as I start to drill down on one, I start whining, "but what about ____?"
I have now made a resolution. Ya ready, world?
I am a SMuP (Someone with Multiple Passions). Always have been, and apparently always will be.
Are you a SMuP? Can we decide once and for all, that it's an okay way to be? The world admires single-mindedness and the success that follows. But the jack-of-all-trades can come in and fix ALL the things. A SMuP can carry on a conversation with anyone, any time, because they are likely to find some common ground somewhere.
I may never be successful in our usual definition of the word. Certainly I will never be famous for my mastery of, well, anything.
But I am never bored!
SMuPs of the world, I salute you!