Since when you were a toddler, people asked you who would be as a grown up. Your parents, your teachers, your friends: literally everyone wanted to know your preferences in the vast amount of skills and knowledge you had, and how you would apply them to life as an adult.
Probably, they let you also learn and improve a variety of skills as well: you enjoyed a sport, music or art class, foreign language class, and many of us did both sport and classes as well. We were busy discovering and growing up our preferences, our centers of personality, our future paths.
This sound a little weird, isn’t it? You are performing in so many areas of the human knowledge (arts, sport activities, hobbies) and then BAM! they ask you to choose. They ask you to cut out “something” in order to make your road to your future being more straight, and clear.
In some cases this is not a bad issue. Chaos need to be restrain to a certain amount of doubt, and too many choices to choose from could be dangerous also, because they can lead to procrastination, unclarity and stillness. No action can be taken without a little clarity of mind. This is obvious.
What it’s not so obvious, is that you don’t need to specialyze yourself in order to give your life a Why. You don’t need to take a role, stick it to yourself and hold it firmly. Once a Bruce Lee said “Be water, my friend”. And this is one of the biggest and better advice you would ever take in your life
What’s take to be water
To be water is hard, is challenging and is also the right opposite of what you were told since your childwood. To be water mean to be in action, to be flowing, and not just to stamp on the first rock that comes on your path as an obstacle or a challenge. It also mean that you can pick interests, preferences, knowledges as you would pick flowers from a beautiful and rich garden (a metaphorical garden, or you’ll be probably jailed for it).
So, you start as a daughter, or a son. You are as well a sister or a brother, a nephew, a friend, a scholar and so on. Then, as school starts, you are suggested to choose and let yourself be tagged. So you become someone who likes music, the actress, the cheerleader, the football player, the weirdo, the nerd and so on. Then you face college or you start to search for a job. The things are getting harder in this part: you must really choose the path to follow. So you choose: you become a scientist, an artist, an employee, a teacher, an engineer and so on. Perhaps you’ll even be a partner, a wife or a husband, and then a mother or a father.
And some think that’s all. You follow a ladder (that’s your life) and you must take all the steps in a particular order, just to reach the top. This magnificent, mythological top, where you will be happy, satisfied with your life, complete and in peace. Well, in some situations and for some kind of people this is true. For me is incredible, but let’s face it. But for other people this is a lie. And is counterproductive to be expected to live like this, to grow up like this and to die like this.
That’s not all, at all. You are a magnificent sum of many qualities, aspects, choises, preferences, roles and interests. You are a rainbow, you can’t just pretend to be an orange, or a red, c’mon!
Let’s pick some examples
This is a list from Buzzfeed of famous people that are quite good at doing something else besides being famous. Even those people who we think about as the most. And this is a simple test you can take, just for fun, to become aware of the multiple intelligences that make you yourself. What for? Just to understand that
It’s not how smart you are that matters, what really counts is how you are smart.”
~ Howard Gardner
Paraphrasing it, I dare to say that
It’s not how happy you are that matters, what really count is how you are happy, and why.
This is not, in fact, a race. This is not a challenge with everyone else. This is a challenge with yourself, with the persone you were yesterday, and the day before and so on, to be better and to be happier, because it is your own right. This should be your life projects, your main projects, your bigger life project that will contain all the others.
I suggest you to just give a try to a new state of mind. Be free, set yourself free to be what you want. Just right now, not tomorrow or in ten years from now. What to do you think, that right now, will make you better, and happier. A new hobby? Maybe you want to know more about women literature. Or about bugs. You don’t have to be the most aknowledge scholar about it. You don’t have to maximize your investment in something, not for now. Just try to be good at it, just start.
You can do what you want
The opportunity’s on
And if you can find a new way
You can do it today
You can make it all true
And you can make it undo.
~ Cat Stevens, If you want to sing out sing out