More and more, people are finding that one set career path is just not enough.
It begins with pre-school...then kindergarten, grade school, middle school, high school, college...and then for some, grad school. There are distance learning opportunities, vocational schools, certificate programs...the list goes on and on. With all those options, it can be hard to find a career to commit to. In an age where commitment itself is called into question quite regularly, how do we choose what direction to follow?
For some, it's as simple as following the money. A major is chosen in college, the payout is assessed, and the dedication follows to the paycheck. Does it always equal happiness? No. But for some, it equals security, and that's enough. Not everyone looks to fulfill their lives through vocation, and some are quite adept at keeping the categories of their lives fairly separate.
I do not fall into that category. For as long as I could remember, I have been an all or nothing, follow my heart, feel the fear and do it anyway type of person. It was why I rarely, if ever, dated more than one person at a time - I don't have the required attention span. I invest or I don't. So if I went on more than one date with someone, I might not have known where it was going, but I was finding out before I turned my attention to anyone else. And that's just one aspect of it. In school, if I couldn't commit 100%, I didn't commit at all. So when I started my studies in Interior Design at the tender age of 18, and it was overwhelming and not as much "fun" as I'd anticipated, I jumped out and got into Fashion Marketing. It was much more my speed, at the time, and it led me to an internship with Revlon. And then I leaped again. Into the world of cosmetic and fragrance marketing. Then I lost my taste for it - after one very "Devil Wears Prada" experience - and I leaped again. Within a couple of jumps I found myself in the Fitness industry. Then I got back my taste for Interior Design (coupled with some design of fashion and home accessories) and I'm now enrolled in a course for that.
So how does this happen? Given my personality, the pick-one-career-and-stick-with-it methodology seems like a no-brainer. And yet..not so much. I've always thought of myself as an ambitious person, and now feel a bit scattered. After some introspection, I realized that my passion is simply "Art & Design". It is not limited to accessories, or rooms or even people. It's all encompassing. I have designed lifestyles and sculpted bodies for 10 years in the fitness world. Now the calling has surpassed that and is branching into designing adornments and homes for those bodies as well. On one hand it sounds lovely, doesn't it? And so natural...And yet on the other hand, I recognize that it also can sound completely nuts. How can people do it all? And should they try?
Simply put, I believe the answer is yes. As a mother, I try to teach my children that the world is their oyster. And I'll be damned if I'm going to raise them to think they can only collect one pearl. They can start with one. If they're happy, great. If not, the hunt continues. While part of me greatly admires those who can choose one career and stick with it, there is another part of me that feels if I tried to do that, I might lose too much of myself. I would be unable to perform a job I didn't love, no matter what the compensation. I want to be happy doing what I do for a living, and I want my children to see that. What I find interesting is, I'm clearly not the only one.
I've seen many friends and acquaintances (even a frenemy or two) jump from one career to something totally different and seemingly out of character/line with studies/experience/interest. But it really does make sense. Because we were raised to be self discoverers; leaders; artists; readers; and travelers. We were told we could be anything we wanted, told to reach for the stars - The sky's the limit! So we called the universe out on it. Will it make us rich? Maybe, maybe not. Will we all be successful? I say yes. Because sometimes the success is in the journey, not the destination. Sometimes it takes saying you tried. And sometimes it takes falling down to see how well you can stand. And sometimes you have to stand in a number of different places before you find the place you can truly call your own.
Some may see us as the disorganized; unfocused; delusional even... But I say we are the fearless. We are the new Renaissance. We will try on as many hats as we can until we find the one that fits. For some, there may never be a perfect fit. We may continue to chase dreams and switch gears and follow our hearts. We may fall sometimes, and it may not always be pretty. But we will live to fight another day; we will switch gears and try again. And that part will always be beautiful.