I’m reading a book that has me in a tizzy.
It’s called Refuse to Choose: Use All of Your Interests, Passions, and Hobbies to Create the Life and Career of Your Dreams. I admit to loving self-help books, because even though many of them end up being cheesy or underwhelming, every now and then there will be a nugget of inspiration that makes me see things differently.
This book is all about “Scanners”… people who have a bajillion different interests, who start projects but don’t finish them, who want to learn and try and do and experience EVERYTHING. This book is about me.
I can’t explain to you how excited I was to read the first few chapters… I actually ran into the living room and interrupted Justin to explain it all to him. It’s like I make sense to myself now… and I finally feel that there are other people out there like me who just can’t settle on ONE career, ONE hobby, ONE life.
I made a list of all the things I’ve done in my life… from moving to Boston to starting yoga teacher training… from cooking at a bed and breakfast to performing in one-act-plays… from learning photography to cooking to learning about cocktails to knitting to sewing to learning French. There are so many things in this world I want to do! And until now, I’ve always felt like such a quitter… I never finish anything. I stopped halfway through yoga teacher training and personal chef training. I took half of one chemistry class for pre-med. I stopped knitting when I could knit a scarf easily. I stopped sewing, and embroidering, and scrapbooking.
The author of this book, Barbara Sher, says that I am not necessarily quitting at these things, I’m just finished with them. While others may delve into a topic so deeply that they eventually master it, I prefer to do something until I feel competent at it, then move on. My goal is not to master each thing; it’s to feel that I am competent, that I could apply those skills to help others, to satisfy my curiosity and then move on. And, most importantly, THAT’S OKAY.
Ohmyga, internets! It all makes sense! I want to take barista training, I want to work in a restaurant. I want to teach English in a foreign country, I want to document everything I eat, I want to learn French and Japanese. But I don’t want to do any of these things for the rest of my life, and THAT’S OKAY. It’s exhilarating! It’s like a load has been lifted from my shoulders!
I am learning how to speak French now. And once I feel competent in it, I’ll probably stop. I am learning photography… but I have no desire to become a paid photographer. I like to cook, but do not want to be a chef.
It’s like I’ve finally given myself permission to try anything I want to, and, more importantly, to stop doing that thing when I’m satisfied, without guilt. It’s possible that the rest of the world will still judge me… I still hear it sometimes…
“When are you going back for med school? Are you taking any classes this semester?”
“Are you interested in finishing yoga teacher training?”
“Are you going to sell your photographs?”
“Are you going to write a cookbook? Become a food critic?”
“Why are you learning French? Do you plan to live in France?”
No, no, and no! I just want to do these things, until I don’t want to anymore. And, unbelievably, that’s okay.
Heck, I’m not even finished reading Refuse to Choose, and it’s already changed my life, just by giving me permission to be me. This is why I love books… I learn something amazing from every single one (I’m reading Little House in the Big Woods right now also… and learning how Pa made bullets and loaded his rifle and butchered hogs… fascinating!). Anyway, I just had to share this with you all, because I’m so excited for tomorrow, and what new thing it will bring… and I’m so excited to be able to drop a project when I’m done with it, instead of when I think others would be satisfied with it. Amazing!
Happy Saturday, internets!