This is another post inspired by Barbara Sher’s book Refuse to Choose. I’ll be doing a few of these, as it’s one of my favorite books for multipotentialites, and it has so much practical advice.
In the book, she asks readers to make a list of everything they’ve done in their lives (read my review).
The reason is that many multipotentialites, by nature unable to settle down to one thing, often reach a point in their lives when they feel as though they haven’t really accomplished anything. While friends have gone smoothly up the corporate ladder, or smoothly down the homemaking trail, or smoothly into whatever field they’ve loved forever, for mutlipotentialites, our patchwork lives can seem…lacking.
I made my list, and it was a great exercise in reality. I’ve often felt that my life has been very piecemeal; this bit here, that bit there, this interest over here, but nothing connected, nothing coherent.
My timeline of accomplishments will never be coherent (hallelujah), but it does help me realize that I have actually done a lot in my life.
- Painted my own storybook and table set (to match, aww)
- Made jewelry
- Made baby clothes
- Made dolls (knit, waldorf, felt) and doll clothes
- Knit a blanket for my neighbor
- Knit a sweater for my mom
- Won prizes for equestrian showmanship and Western riding
- Learned to ride Western and English
- Learned to jump
- Learned etiquette at Cotillion
- Learned to dance (waltz, foxtrot, jitterbug, swing, Charleston, English Country)
- Knit mug cozies, scarves, gloves, socks, hats
- Embroidered bags
- Placed in an art show in high school
- Taught in Taiwan
- Volunteered at a therapeutic horse riding center and won an award
- Wrote a novel
- Played D&D (a performance feat if ever there was one)
- DMed Dungeons and Dragons
- Began woodworking
- Made natural beauty products
- Made herbal medicine
- Learned Chinese and Korean
- Learned basic Swedish
- Drew comics
- Traveled to Russia, New Zealand, and around the US
- Taught in Korea
- Designed a car with my friend in middle school
- Made a pinhole camera
- Developed pictures myself (from negatives in a chem bath)
- Learned HTML/CSS
- Graduated college Summa Cum Laude
- Got a promotion
- Learned to tat
- Got the highest score on my AP art portfolio
- Made several fantasy/sci-fi/medieval costumes
- Sewed clothing
- Made a quilt
- Painted portraits
- Owned horses
- Made scrapbooks/art/bullet journals
- Cut paper art
This list is like a love letter to myself, gently reminding me that yes, I have done things with my life. Yes, I have used my time well. I’m young, objectively speaking, but it’s hard for anyone over 12 to feel objective when 12- and 13-year-olds (or even younger, who am I kidding?), routinely do incredibly amazing things in art and science and performance. It’s hard, but it’s necessary. Just because I didn’t publish my first book at 10 doesn’t mean I’m not a good writer. There’s no correct or best timeline for anyone.
If you’ve ever struggled with feeling like you’ve never done anything, make your own list. Include books you’ve read or games you’ve played or places you’ve lived or people you’ve met. Those are all accomplishments. And big or small, they are important.