I have always been jealous of people who are gifted, filled with a passion and a purpose, committed to a specific act. Growing up, these are the kids who emerge from the pack with a talent and seem to pursue it with relish. Maybe it’s singing, or playing the piano, or driving a golf ball, or delving into science experiments. I went to school with many students who had a gift, perhaps a passion, to follow one specific path to excellence. These kinds of directed people always seemed to have an advantage, to be more focused and to achieve their goals. Of course, there can be a price to pay for singular vision but there can also be great reward. When you focus on one area, deeply, you can excel and develop a talent.
I feel I have been aware of these kinds of people – the people I think of as gifted – all my life. And I harbor a certain level of jealousy toward them because I have never held such a singular vision. I have never committed myself to one endeavor so deeply. I have never known such passion for one specific thing. Sure I dabble in art, I took piano and dance, I write when I can, I have attempted to develop my skills set on a tennis court…but I have not focused on one area to master, one talent in which to truly excel. I am a scattered person and I have not found one area that can hold my attention long enough for me to become an expert.
Sure there are lots of benefits to being a scattered person. We call it multi-tasking, being a Renaissance man or woman, a jack-of-all-trades. But in reality, to me, it simply means that I lack a true focus and am destined to be good at alot of things and great at none. Maybe that’s alright…but some days it is frustrating. I feel myself jump and pop all over the place, chasing ideas and becoming involved in one cause or pursuit after another, able to give only fragments of myself because I am so divided. Do I want to give my time and talent to writing? To animal rescue? To political causes? Do I want to get better at yoga, at tennis, or try to learn to swim faster? There are so many choices, so many options in a day. I wish I could pick one thing to be passionate about and it would compel me to act. It would give my life a focal point, something I imagine many others have.
I watch students at my school and marvel at their commitment to art making. Many live and breathe the creative process and confess to me that when they are in their studio, they forget the rest of the world. Hours slip by and the only reality they experience is the hand applying paint to a canvas or molding clay into a new shape. I have rarely found this level of connectedness with an experience. I have rarely lost myself or time in an activity…To do so seems like a magical goal. Even when I am doing something I love, like hitting a tennis ball or walking my dog, I am hyper aware of the physical world, of time passing. Whether it’s the limitations of my body that keep me grounded or the noise and vibrations from the external world, I am aware and so seldom slip in to that state of transcendence, something I image those who have a true calling, a viable gift upon which to focus all their attention and energy, experience on a regular basis.
I guess I have to accept the fact that there are many types of people in this world and that some find a true calling or vocation and others experiment, invest in new projects and follow new paths as they present themselves. I am still in awe and wonder at those people who can give themselves heart and soul to something. I am mildly jealous of those who feel such deep passion for their work that they forget all else. I suppose there is still time for me to find something that can hold my attention, deeply and for extended periods. But for now I have to be content to dabble, to dip my toe into many waters and realize that I may not be a champion swimmer but at least I am in the pool.