| 7 Apr 2008 @ 19:29, by David Bartholomew|
Maybe I am just a numbskull.
I have a problem… but I believe it is a good one. I love it and hate it. It is the best and worst of me. In all of it there doesn’t seem to be a resolution. A minor war rages within. And it’s cool with me, most of the time.
It’s just that I get interested, enthused and excited… about everything. Well, many things. This has contributed to me being a jack of all trades, master of none. It keeps me perpetually interested in learning something new. It has me jumping from thing to thing. It makes me question my focus. It helps me to be a good “big picture person”, but to also appreciate and admire the “detail people”. It got me a shot once on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” with Regis. And I know enough to be dangerous on a lot of subjects, but am never really able to craft detailed arguments and stories that don’t ramble or ping-pong into all kinds of other areas. It helps me “get” the references in just about any Dennis Miller rant and to understand the nuances within most comedy and appreciate a lot of Charlie Rose interviews. It’s a real pisser when it comes down to answering someone’s question of, “So, what to you do?”
When listening to music I want to immerse into this genre and be able to play each instrument that comes forward with a solo… until the next song, that is of a different genre and highlights other instruments. On Saturday mornings I can find myself switching between the Topeka and Kansas City PBS stations, delving into the garden shows, home improvement shows, art classes, quilting shows, and cooking shows… and to then chastise myself for having spectated the morning away as opposed to having participated in one of these or any of my other interests during the same period. I think I sometimes freeze amidst maybe too many choices. At times I hear the echo of my feisty, New Yorker roommate from Annapolis, chiding me to, “Do something… even if it’s wrong.”
This universal interest in things makes me lose myself in front of a magazine rack or in a bookstore or on internet searches that take me from A to D to J and back to B, and 12:45 to 4:30 pm, without my having known how I got moved around the gameboard.
“Fires can't be made with dead embers,
nor can enthusiasm be stirred by spiritless men.
Enthusiasm in our daily work lightens effort and
turns even labor into pleasant tasks."
-- James Arthur Baldwin
"Catch on fire with enthusiasm
and people will come for miles to watch you burn."
-- John Wesley
“Charisma is the transference of enthusiasm."
-- Ralph Archibold
There is a huge plus-side to such enthusiasm and interest in us, in my book. It helps to enjoy conversations with people from any background or walk of life. It keeps one from being bored. It allows one to adapt tools and solutions and models from one area to another. It’s great for being able to think outside of the box. To be able to connect the dots between folks isolated in different cubicles or disciplines and to facilitate interdisciplinary solutions that incorporate the strengths of each. And for asking things like—how do we think outside of something other than a box? Or—is there such a thing as “outside” of any box?
The downside is—questions like that can make you crazy! Along with those other questions that crop up, of—“What am I doing with my life?” The downside is a to-do list or books-to-read list that is longer than one’s arm. It always makes me feel like a dilettante when faced with anyone who knows an immense amount about one field or even one corner of one niche of one field. It sometimes gives the illusion that there isn’t enough time to do it all. It’s really bad for knowing when you are actually doing what you are supposed to be doing. And whether this lack of focus is attributable to something like ADD, too many sweets or just a healthy (possibly overactive) imagination and appreciation.
It possibly makes it easier for people to know what to buy you for a present when you have a lot of interests, but is also conducive to shelves of unused, dust-gathering equipment, specialty tools or paraphernalia from past or back-burner interests, should a degree of self-discipline not be exercised [note: it’s perhaps the greatest thing-- to find people like this, make friends, and scoop up on great garage sale deals as they move onto each new interest! Better than Ebay. Their loss is your gain].
“this is my life. it is my one time to be me.
i want to experience every good thing."
-- Maya Angelou
“Experience is the child of thought,
and thought is the child of action"
-- Benjamin Disraeli
Coming from where I come from—on the other side of dabbling in so many arenas-- I, more than not, see both sides of any coin, and a lot of gray amidst the black and white. The more I know, the more I understand what I, and we, don’t know. Being less sure of things is, in a lot of ways, a great trait when compared to those of the strident and arrogant among us, and a great relief. It doesn’t throw me for such a loop if previously held beliefs are amended, modified or dissed. I don’t find myself having to cling so desperately to a mindset. I get more and more ok with change, and with “capital-T” Truth that doesn’t change.
This drive, this seeker-and-appreciator-of-newness perspective brought forth such ideas as the One World Flag— an international symbol of diversity “Honoring the Talents, Abilities and Uniqueness in Each of Us, as Strengths that can Benefit All of Us”, and this magazine, both of which (along with our other work) are aimed at cheerleading us all to bring forth our essence and to share it with others, to bring our favorite dish and enjoy the great potluck/smorgasboard.of life.
This propensity to check out what’s available in the world has motivated me to hang it out there and try anything that comes to mind… knowing full well the consequences of not “going for it”.
To die without having done anything remarkable… in your own mind (forget absolutely the minds of others)... would be the ultimate shame in looking back upon a life. To have walked your path without having sampled all that you would have wanted would be a pity.
On the other hand-- to experience as much as you can, along the lines that interest you, in every moment… provides satisfaction, meaning, and disallows as much of the time for questioning as is possible. It is only in the questioning of one’s life and its purpose and all of the inherent doubt and hand-wringing that fear and worry creep in. Try asking a heavy question while dancing, yodeling, climbing a rock, traveling at speed, wielding an instrument of art or music… participating fully. It’s just not possible. To encourage everyone to jump into life in this way, and to have perhaps continued to show how to do this to those within my circle… in my own peculiar way… I believe is a major component of my purpose. To urge us all to stay active and engaged in all facets of life, and to craft your own unique perspective on things, that is my manifesto.
My hero, Albert Einstein, was a proponent of solutions coming from outside a given school of thought. My friend Chris Mayes has always made be feel better about running apart from “the herd” and occasionally dipping back in.
I think, in my case, this quality of chasing new experience, and its inherent pluses and minus, boils down to a contemplation on balance. And focus. The line between thought and action. Potential vs. kinetic energy. A (mostly) healthy judgment/barometer/debate/ assessment that keeps me on-point in trying to live up to a perceived purpose and potential.
Yes-- balance. Regular feedback, correction and adjustment on whether all legs of the physical/mental-emotional/spiritual triangle are being attended to.
I very strongly encourage you all to keep DoingIt! in your own special way… every day. Stay active, active, active. Never be a spectator in your own life. Dive in and get dirty. Wrestle with whatever wants to be wrestled with. Resolve the past. Share what you have learned. Commit with 100% of your being unto any undertaking. Renew your level of enthusiasm. It is catchy.
“One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a
Cheshire cat in a tree. Which road do I take? she
asked. Where do you want to go? was his response.
I don't know, Alice answered.
Then, said the cat, it doesn't matter."
-- Lewis Carroll
When you get to the fork in the road… take it.
-- Yogi Berra
"Curiouser and curiouser!"
-- Lewis Carroll