I have always been passionately curious about a wide variety of subjects. The almost constant cycle of my life has been to try something, fall in love with it, and immediately try to learn everything about it. If my curiosities were thought of as men instead of hobbies, I would have an embarrassingly long list of lovers. And they would be able to say that we parted as friends. Except we haven't parted as friends because we haven't parted at all. That's right: when it comes to hobbies for my spare time, I am a bit of a jezebel.
The first hobby I ever picked up was reading. I was read to as a child and loved it, but when I was able to do it on my own, I was heady with power. Nothing was too minor for me to peruse. This love is still passionate and I still avidly read everything from cookbooks to mystery to biography to history.
But then I met cross stitch. Cross stitch and I were a little awkward at first. I'd already tried a variety of crafts and had decided that I wasn't very good at them. But as I brought the graph on the sheet of paper to life on that cloth in full technicolor (and really, way more colors than the pattern called for), I fell. Hard! As soon as that project was completed, I launched into another. And another. And another. Christmas ornaments, bookmarks, tiny wall hangings. Then, just when I might have started getting bored, I realized I could design my own cross stitch patterns. WHAT? I don't have to rely on someone else? I can do it all? Count me in! By the way, I'm pretty sure this is how people get into the meth lab side of the business. At first they are all, "Yeah meth!" Then they decide (probably while on meth) that they can just take this process in house. "I am the Iron Chef of Meth!" This does not end well for them. Yet another reason to stay off drugs and stay in school, kids!
Anyway, as I have mentioned before, cross stitch slowly opened up a whole world for me. Embroidery? Kind of cross stitch's less uptight brother. And I already had the keys to the house. *wink* Some of these same stitches are good for sewing? Well I guess I could dabble in that a little bit! Oh! This is all I have to do to quilt? Well I do have all the equipment already! Wait, can I do some of this on paper? Yeah I can! What else can I do with paper? And photography? And yarn?
As you can see without me listing everything, this has been quite the rabbit hole to tumble down. And everything consuming my free time and attention. This was a bit concerning to my grandmother I think (although I still don't know why since she was really just as "bad" about it as me). More than once she reminded me, "Jack of all trades; master of none." They are words that have stuck with me for years.
I never have enough free time (who does?) and I have a million and one demands on that time. When I am feeling overwhelmed and there are projects and supplies sitting around waiting for my attention again, that phrase resonates strongly . If only I picked one thing. I could be a master at embroidery. But I sure would miss knitting. Ok, well I could do that sometimes. But I would definitely miss creating a handmade card to go with the items when I gift them and I do have all these stamps and punches.... Every time I try to get out, I drag myself back in!
So here's the reality that I've thought a lot about lately: I love me as a "jack of all trades." And I think I'm good at all these things I attempt. Maybe I'm not a "master" of any one thing, but doing them is part of who I am and a part of how I continue to shape who I am. And who is judging my mastery level? If I give an item I've made as a gift and it is appreciated and used, then that seems like mastery enough to me. I've sold things I've made before. People have actually given me money for things I've made! That seems indicative of a certain level of mastery, too. And finally, do I really even care that much if I "master" everything I take on for fun? If I worry that much about it, it might not even be fun anymore.
What about you? Are you a jack of all trades? Are you worried about mastering everything you take on or does that not matter for you? And what's "good enough" for you to be happy?
Maybe you stuck to one or two things and you are a master now. How did you manage to keep it narrowed down? Am I missing out on something by not having one focus?
Let me know in the comments! I'm passionately curious about all the paths! (Of course I am!)