As I jumped from an art project to my computer, then off to do laundry only to circle back to the art table again, I noticed my dad peering at me sideways, studying my comings and goings. Wondering what he was thinking, I asked, “You look deep in thought. What’s on your mind?”
The year was 2012, and I’d been caring for him since my mother’s passing 9 years before. Crippled, he spent most of his days sequestered to his frayed recliner, eyes closed. But on this day, he was alert and watchful.
Taking his hand in mine, he stared sweetly into my eyes, then said, “It’s exhausting to watch you. You’re always so busy.”
Shocked, all I could think was, Aren’t we all busy? Isn’t that what life is all about—being productive?
It’s been seven years since I heard those words. Dad passed away shortly after he spoke them, and today I find myself still darting from project to project. I begin a painting, getting it to the point of the finishing touches, then leave it on the easel for nine months. The next book I’m writing is in semi-complete pieces, but I can’t seem to find the inspiration to finish it because I get sidetracked with something else. There is a pile of books on my nightstand with only a few chapters read in each. And I spend hours researching this or that on Google, skimming tidbits but never the full article.
I don’t have one job—I have four: realtor, author, adult fitness instructor, and youth dance teacher. Yes, I can see why my dad would call me busy, but I sometimes worry that my scattered behavior is due to something serious, like an attention deficit issue that has gone undiagnosed. Or, perhaps, I just get bored easily.
Recently, I had a discussion about this problem with a group of highly intellectual and artistically inclined women all confessing the same thing. Surprised at our common issue—I thought I was the only one afflicted—again I Googled. And to my surprise, I found we’re actually a unique clan known as multipotentialites—people with way too many interests and creative pursuits. We don’t have one calling like a specialist, we have many, and we want to explore them all. But time is always our worst enemy, so we flit from this to that to get a taste of each.
There’s no denying we’re all wired differently. The right side of my brain, which controls my artistic interests, consumes my every waking moment. I sometimes wonder if the left ever truly developed. This imbalance, if you will, has made traditional learning a bit difficult for me. Over the years, I’ve had to foster a different set of skills to navigate through my daily life. I can’t just read something and absorb it. I have to taste, touch, and feel it as I move around the room. Sitting still can become painful.
On the bright side of being a multipotentialite, it would appear that I’ve received a PhD in perseverance. With each new interest constantly popping up, I begin and fail over and over. I’ve done it so many times, it feels like all I’m doing is throwing spaghetti on the wall hoping something will stick. Fortunately, many do, and I relish guiding them to the finish line. As for the ones I leave behind, I chalk those up as more fabulous learning experiences that have expanded my mind with new information. And that’s always a good thing.
So, to all my fellow multipotentialites out there, stop worrying. There’s nothing wrong with us! Our innovative nature just can’t help itself. The world is a big, exciting place filled with wonder, and we want to experience it all. We’re not handicapped, and we’re not scattered (well, maybe sometimes). We’re the innovators of the world, and because we thrive on inspiration, life will never be dull nor one dimensional—for us or for those around us. Without our creative spirit, there’d be no color in this world.
Just remember: “While a Jack of all trades is a master of none, it’s oftentimes better than a master of one.” Go forth and create—a lot!