A vague title as I sit here and try to figure out what’s the best way to talk about this topic. Do you get what I mean? Do you feel like the society our ancestors (ok, maybe not MY ancestors, but…you know…) have built in the U.S. is stifling to some degree? Especially in this changing world.
About two years ago, I had this exact suffocating feeling when I first started my B-school program. I walked into my classes and felt that, as groupthink, many of my classmates wanted to be nothing more than hardcore businesspeople. I struggled during that time, trying to figure out “Am I only just a hardcore businessperson myself? But what about my creativity? Can I be both a writer and a businessperson?”
Even though nobody was outright telling me I couldn’t be both (and more), I felt strongly that society wants us to be in silos: you’re either a creative person or you’re not. You’re either in finance or you’re in painting; NOT BOTH.
Fast forward to the present, and I still see this prevalent in how the media portrays current events/etc. Have you heard about our former President George W. Bush and his paintings? There seems to be a lot of shock and awe over his newfound talent and pastime. As I read over the article linked above, seems that the media (and the general public) assumes that “He was our President. He can’t also be a painter.”
It’s this kind of mindset that keeps us in shackles throughout our lives. I was fairly upset trying to compromise my life during business school…until finally I decided, enough is enough. I CAN be a writer AND a businessperson. I CAN knit and also do business strategies. I CAN be more than what society would want to box me into!
From that point forward, I felt liberated. Sure, sometimes I still get the reactions of “Wait, what do you do? You do that AND this?” and I end up getting self-conscious for a moment as I get this innocent yet pointed question from others. But, in the end, I know that I must take those shackles off from my mind, my life. I don’t have to be just one profession.
And you don’t either. You, too, can break free and know that, whether you write poetry and play rugby, or you draw caricatures and do PR…you can be whoever you want to be. You don’t have to be in a box. We weren’t meant to live this way anyway.