coming out as a polymath

A lot of people are not monogamous when it comes to career. Yet when filling out an information form or when asked about one’s work at a social gathering, a one-word answer is usually expected. “I’m a banker.” “I’m a lawyer.” “I manage a restaurant.” Well what is the answer for those people who are knowledgeable about, experienced in, skilled at, and impassioned by multiple fields of work? I’m not talking about a jack of all trades, master of none. I’m talking about a master of many trades, also known as a polymath. (Sometimes they are referred to as “Renaissance Men/Women,” bringing to mind da Vinci, Galileo, and Copernicus.) I’d be so excited if I asked someone, “What do you do?” and was told, “I’m a cross-country skier, Russian language interpreter, cake decorator, sculptor, and attorney. Oh, and I just got certified as an electrician.” I’d be talking with someone who didn’t have any part of herself on pause! That is something to which I most certainly aspire.

So to you polymaths, maybe it’s time to just put it all out there. Who cares if you are met with crinkled brows or people who want to put you into tiny boxes? Own it all, every part of you! (And to you people who have polymath tendencies but haven’t fully explored them yet, maybe this is the time to give them a try. Un-pausing a passion feels really good.)

Allow me to introduce myself. I am an actor, writer, and Interfaith Minister who can crunch numbers, organize anything, and who can talk excitedly about American history, spirituality, politics, train rides, New York City, and the theatre. And I am also the VP of a really cool company called The Bacana Plan.

What do you do? (Take up all the space you need!)

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