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Renaissance Woman? No, Thanks.

Submitted by Emily Snedecor on March 9, 2010 – 10:00 amComments

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By Emily Snedecor at Reasonably So

I learned a new word today: ”A polymath (Greek polymathēs, πολυμαθής, “having learned much”) is a person whose expertise spans a significant number of subject areas” (Wikipedia). In other words, a Renaissance Woman, or Jill of All Trades. I am not a polymath, but I have spent my life trying to be. It hasn’t gotten me very far. Here are some examples:

Instrumental Lessons Taken (as a child): Piano, Flute, Recorder, Saxaphone, Guitar.
Instruments I can play now: NONE.

Dream Jobs (as a child): Writer/Poet, Actress, Photographer, Fashion Designer, Chef
Current Job: Preschool Teacher

Majors in college: Anthropology, Theater
Grad School interests: Journalism, Education, ?????

After all these years of trying so hard to be so good at so many things, I have realized that I’m only kind of ok at most things. It’s no surprise that I have a hard time focusing my energy these days.

My newly developed goal, rather than spreading myself thin over a number of activities, is to excel at one. For I have discovered a bright side to this whole conundrum: I have enormous respect and admiration for gifted people. Last weekend, I saw a musical performance by cellist Ben Sollee and his band-the positive energy in the whole venue was buzzing with their Bluegrass/Indie/Folk melodies. This past fall, I had the good fortune to meet Clare Vivier, whose luxurious handbags could stop traffic (and have caused a leak in my bank account). Even the children in my class dumbfound me with their capabilities- imagine a four year old who can read and write, all on her own.

While I try to sort out my piles of hobbies, daydreams, and future plans, I find inspiration in these kinds of people. Some of them are naturals, some of them are working hard to make a dream come true, and others are just living and growing. They are, however, a beautiful reminder to do what you love the most.

Now, I just have to figure out what that is…

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  • amaliamcg

    I once heard this interesting piece of advice: to carry around a photo of yourself as a kid in your back-pocket, so that as you go through life and make certain choices you remember to look out for that kid. A way of tricking yourself into taking care of, er, yourself. So yeah, this post reminded me of that for some reason...I guess the way you remember back to what you wanted as a kid and think it's worth honoring? Keep us posted!

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