Thursday, March 23, 2006

Find one thing you love, and do it well.

I've heard this advice from another of sources, most recently while watching Mad, Hot Ballroom, a documentary about fifth graders in NYC who learn ball room dancing.

Of course, being me, I absorbed the advice and am now trying to figure out if I have applied it in my own life or ever could apply it in the future.

In high school, we were taught that "well-rounded students" were the ones who got into the best colleges and were the most successful in life. I still remember sitting in that cafeteria (that always managed to smell like french fries) during Freshman orientation. "You must be well-rounded," we were told. We were advised not to specialize too much and to try a little bit of everything.

So, I did, and I do. The advice I got then carried me through college where I took classes in many disciplines (English, Education, Psychology...Italian), worked multiple jobs, took on various responsibilities in my sorority and otherwise kept really busy doing a lot of different things.

Now, I'm entering the library profession, and my well-roundedness finally comes into use: Librarians have a reputation for knowing a little bit about a lot of things. Also, if they don't have an answer, they always know how to find one. That describes me fairly well, so I suppose that professionally, my "one thing I do well" is knowing a little bit about a lot of things.

Personally, though, I'd like to excell at one thing. What that is, I can't decide. I do enjoy engaging in many different hobbies: cooking, baking, photography, writing. But after years of being well-rounded (otherwise known as institutionally sanctioned ADHD), I don't know if I have the attention span to focus on just one activity.

Maybe I don't have to.

What I love doing is enjoying life and being an active participant in my own life. While I'm not necessarily anyone's go-to expert on photography or an internationally recognized baker of cookies, I do like to keep busy trying new activities.

So, what does this mean?

It means that "In May, when school is finally over" (my quote for this semester), I will devote more of my energy to doing things I really love. Who knows, maybe I'm special enough to be really good at a lot of things! Perhaps someday soon you'll taste my chocolate souffle in a bakery in the city and follow that up by a visit to my photo exhibit at a quirky gallery. Who knows!?

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