Oct 20, 2013


Do you sometimes think back about what you wanted to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a writer. I also wanted to be a singer in a rock band. And a police detective. Shakespearean actress, judge, CEO of a multinational company, teacher, museum curator, military strategist and President of whatever country would have me were also on the list.

I have wanted to be all those things. Note, I'm not saying I have wanted to be any one of those things at any one time. No. I wanted to be all of those things. All of the time. And then some.

When my parents told me I could grow up to be anything, I misunderstood and thought they meant I could grow up to be everything. Like Leonardo.

Can't you picture it? Res Da Vinci - Renaissance Woman.

Sure, you could say this is but another sign of my inability to commit, a symptom of my Dabbler-itis. Heck, that's what I usually think when I decide to take an (uncharacteristicly?) negative view of things. But what's wrong with one little person wanting to embrace all that is remarkable and good about human knowledge and creation? (well maybe not all of it, I'm not so deluded to think I could actually ever learn how to cook). The Renaissance was a remarkable time, credited with dragging our sorry humanity's ass out of the Game-of-Thrones style Middle Ages and into Enlightenment, all thanks to great men (sadly, yes, just men) who knew how to paint, do math and provide excellent political counsel, all before lunch.

Did anyone ever tell Leonardo he should just commit? Like maybe just focus on learning anatomy and leave the painting of mysterious smirking women to someone else? Not that I'm putting myself in the same category, obviously - but maybe there's the rub. If you're the most talented human being of all time, it's fine to mess about a bit. But if you're merely average, then its all David Ricardo and specialization for you (trust an Englishman to ruin it for everybody).

Seriously, though. When did we decide it was a sign of immaturity and flightiness to want to do more than one thing? To want to be more than one thing? When did the Renaissance man go out of fashion? And what can I do to bring him back and turn him into a woman?


Anonymous said...

W here - sniffing at the dig against Englishmen! But that aside, good to see you missiving again. x

Anonymous said...

Ah the penny drops - a tactical slight - absolute genius! W

Res I(p)sa said...

Dear W,
I fear I may have identified you now. Did you and I ever share a spy-cation in East Germany, by any chance? Did that W come from a nickname I may have given you?

Anonymous said...

Dear Res,
Perhaps. And what did Ethan Hunt discover about anonymity. And just as his perception of an identity is turned upside down, so a W becomes...