We all reach points in life where we, naturally and appropriately, question how we view ourselves in relation to the wideer world. We ask, am I primarily a parent or a worker? An employee, or an employer? Mostly working at building a career, or mostly holding down a day job to fund a passion project? Winner or loser? Someone or just one amongst many?
Personally I don’t believe that any of these are inherently good or bad, right or wrong. Nor do I believe that any one quality, status, or identity need fit one person for their whole life.
When I was ten, I would tell everyone that I was going to be a writer when I grew up – a novelist, specifically – and to please tell me off if I ever even CONSIDERED being anything else.
At fifteen, I insisted I was going to be a graphic novelist.
At eighteen, a social worker or art therapist.
At twenty-three, I probably would have shrugged and said “I won’t grow up, I’ll probably be dead sooner than that.”
And now, at twenty-eight?
Technically, I’m a 3D modeler, VR engineer, artist, and writer. I do both less and more than I had planned as a younger human.
I have never published a novel, but I’ve written a few, and I am currently writing a novella that I plan to self-publish. I have never finished a graphic novel, but I’ve done a few one-off comic books. I have not gotten a degree, so I’m not a social worker or art therapist, but I’ve had the opportunity to run groups and do workshops and presentations about my recovery from mental illness. Unexpectedly, I’ve gotten some training in 3D/VR software, and I do 3D model design and VR engineering. I also run a small YouTube channel, something I’d said was definitely not for me.
I am not dead, and am hoping not to be anytime soon.
So basically, I guess my point is that you never know where life is going to take you. You’re going to gain interest in, stumble upon, and learn about things that you hadn’t even been aware of ten years ago – so how could you know where you’ll be in ten years?
And that is totally okay. Dream like you’ll live forever, live like you’ll die tomorrow. Do what you love, even if that’s never the same thing twice. Be yourself, whoever that happens to be today.
Change is not inherently good or bad. Our reactions to change determine how we experience that change. I used to hate the idea of “me” changing. I wanted to have a single identity, never changing, something I could lean on. I wanted to just be so passionate about something that I could point to that one thing and say “That’s what I do, that’s who I am. I eat, sleep, and breathe that.”
But to be honest, in practice, I don’t actually think that’s healthy. If you have something that consumes you to the detriment of you being you, it…well, that doesn’t work for me.
Much as I may resent it, I’m just a human. A complex, flawed, multifaceted human with a lot of interests, a lot of hobbies, and a lot of skill sets. Sometimes I’m happy about working in 3D/VR, other times it feels like “why am I even trying to do this?!” Sometimes I feel that ache of need to just be a writer or just be a comic artist, but really, if I just did one thing, I’d miss the others.
Am I easily distracted? Do I have focus issues? Am I scattered? Am I just really, really a Gemini when it comes to work?
At this point I don’t really question it. If it’s a noveling day, I work on a novel. If I feel moved to work on art, I pull out the paint and brushes. If my heart is crying out for 3D modeling, I boot up Blender.
It’s okay to have a lot of interests. It’s really okay. Most people are more complex than we realize, or indeed give them credit for. Very few people can be defined by one vocation, especially if you include all the years and seasons of their lives.
It’s romantic to think that we can just love and be one thing forever, but not realistic. And that’s okay. Be who you are today, do what you love today. Sleep, dream, wake up, and take tomorrow as it comes.