Lately, I’ve been feeling like a jack of all trades, master of none.
Listening to “Dear Sugar,” one of my favorite podcasts the other day, I was reminded that we all reinvent ourselves countless times in our lives.
We are so many different people as we make our way through life; the ambitious and rebellious 20-something, then the still-ambitious-but-slightly-wiser 30-something; the aspiring dancer, the aimless student, the hopelessly romantic single girl…I have been all of those, at one time or another.
It really got me thinking…is it time for another reinvention?
Anytime I start to get restless about my career, or think about what I’ve accomplished (and not accomplished) at this point in my life, I have this compulsion to crumple up and throw away whatever I’m working on and start over. Reinvent.
Isn’t it easier sometimes just to start from scratch, rather than go back and try to fix it?
Back when I knew I wanted to leave my corporate job, I was paralyzed by the overwhelming unknown. What would I do next? What job would I be able to get? What kind of lifestyle changes would I have to make? Wouldn’t it just be easier to stay where I was?
To talk myself down from that never-ending spiral, I started thinking about all the jobs I have been paid to do in my life. When you’ve been working since you were 6, you can wrack up a few job titles. These include:
- child wrangler (seriously, it’s a job title)
- art teacher
- retail salesperson
- tradeshow booth rep
- customer service supervisor
- retail store manager
- communications specialist
- marketing manager
Ah, that last one. I remember the first time my dear friend Laurie, an accomplished and well-respected writer/actor/director introduced me to one of her colleagues for the first time. “This is my friend Sam,” she said. “She’s a writer.”
I coughed up a good portion of the cheap wine I was sipping.
No one had ever called me a WRITER before. Don’t you have to be indoctrinated into some kind of super secret society before you call yourself a WRITER? It sounded weird. And I felt this unsettling whir of embarrassment, pride and giddiness when she said it.
That was 10 years ago, and I have been making a living as an editor or a corporate communications expert for more than 14 years now. I’ve even written and published a few children’s books. And yet when people ask me what I do, I say, “I’m a marketing strategist.” Or “I’m an editor.”
I don’t know why it’s so hard for me to own that last one on the list. Is it so impossible to believe that writing is my calling?
Writing is what I do. It’s what I’m doing right now. I do it every day, in the lists I make, the work I do, and the ideas for future blog posts I catalog in my brain.
So what I’m realizing is this: I can be a whole lot of different job titles—I’m sure I’ll wrack up a few more in this lifetime. But I don’t need to reinvent myself at the core.
I am a writer.
There, I’ve said it.
No need to reinvent again. I am also lots of other things…a wife, a student of yoga, a painter, a smart ass…I am 32 flavors and then some. And I will always be a writer.
So there’s no need to crumple up this page and toss it. I’m just going to keep writing on it. And see what happens next.
P.S. I just finished my latest children’s book, to be published in 2017. Super secret society, I’ll be hitting you up for membership.