It has never been any different as long as I remember: I have always been interested in, well, too many things.
Back at school I joined the English and German drama groups, I took extra classes in physics, was regarded particularly talented as a dancer, really enjoyed psychology and philosophy, loved programming, played music semi-professionally, got involved in the local table tennis league – I could go on forever. Not to show off, just to make a case.
Finishing school I was, unsurprisingly, confronted with an impossible decision. Alright, I knew I wanted to go to university, but I did not have the faintest idea of what I wanted to study. Not because I was lacking inclinations, no – I had too many.
My private life, too, knows the ‚path of too …‘. It is quite common for me to order more books than I could ever read. Consequently, I never read just one book at a time – just to give an example.
My professional life has turned out accordingly and when I say that I am a graphic designer, programmer, author and psychotherapist I just skip the rest of the list. Simply because I don’t want to talk in monologue when being asked what I do.
Generally, I regard this „character trait“ of mine more as luxury than a problem even though sometimes I feel the pain of knowing that I will never be able to squeeze everything into my life I would like to pursue. But, after all, no need to complain.
One thought has been particularly useful when I was once again forced to reduce and select: You should never ever do everything you are capable of. Comes down to: don’t say yes to everything, even when you would love to do it and it is in your area of expertise.
A more severe pattern of thinking has caused more problems. I have always imagined myself as a specialist in something. Read a typical career guide and what you will learn in Chapter One is: focus, focus, focus. Alas, you can’t specialize if you don’t focus. Well, I have stopped worrying about a proper career quite early, but being interviewed by Armin Wolf as a specialist in x, y or z on ZIB2 has repeatedly tickled my fancy.
In my despair I turned to the place of all wisdom: Quora, where, to be honest, I seek amusement rather than enlightment. But, finally, here is a gem, which I found there and which actually made me write this blog post. I think it so beautiful and powerful that I don’t want to add anything to it. It reads:
Don’t choose a career…
Instead, let your work choose you. Do what is most interesting to you at the time and don’t worry about how it fits together. When you look back twenty or thirty years from now, don’t worry. It will all make sense.
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