“Find your one true calling and follow it for life.”
That was this morning’s version of an idea that shows up on my newsfeed most days. Find your passion. Find The One Thing you are good at. Better than all the other things (known or unknown). Make tons of money from it. Do it forever. Easy.
Am I the only one who feels caged by the idea that we can only have one? As a person with many passions, many things I am good at (or want to be some day), I’d like to offer an alternate view.
Recently I took a wonderful train trip where I was surrounded by strangers much older than me. The overwhelming majority took the trip as a “bucket list” item. Many had husbands/wives who had passed, so were travelling with neighbours or best friends in honour of their lost loved ones. Most had grown up children. Most had spent their lives working super hard to reach this train ride moment. They adored the train ride, but there was a sadness in the voices I heard.
Their stories touched me.
I know that playing full time and working only occasionally is ground usually reserved for uni students and the under 20, where that kind of seemingly wanton hedonism is expected, but the happiest people I know (of all ages) live this way. And I like it.
So, what if? What would change on the planet if we chose the 80% play 20% work model? More tolerance, less borders… more sharing, less hoarding? More ease, less fear? Could we laugh and play and love at a scale that’s not even been imagined yet?
The usual reaction I’ve heard is that “society would fall apart.” This really doesn’t scare me one bit. All things end, including me. And I think I’ll end before society does.
Even my values, which are theoretically set for life, are formed from past experiences — not future ones. Who knows what I'll hold to be valuable when I know more; when I am more?
So I’m not doing the picking just one thing. What I am doing, is jumping in more puddles and flying from more trapezes, and embracing the idea that I am allowed to be many, many things at once. I can be full. I can be limitless.
The irony here is that by not choosing A Thing, I have created A Thing for all the things I want to explore. It’s lucky irony is my favourite part of life.
My thing is called Borderless, and the aim of it is to show that there doesn’t have to be one passion or path for each of us - but teach the skills to follow any one of those passions anytime. If you’ve got and adore your one thing, awesome (and I want to be you just a little bit, because it seems slightly easier). But if not, if you are not one thing, that’s awesome too and I think that’s worth exploring with joy and wonder.
And that is wonderful and perfect.