I Do, Therefore I Am…?

I Do, Therefore I Am…?

Written by Emilie

Topics: Thoughts

Hi multipods! Before we get to today’s post, just quick reminder to grab your spot in the Puttytribe today. You have 24 hours. See you in there! -Emilie


There’s this person I know who’s a great songwriter. I was a fan of theirs in high school. They can write beautiful, haunting melodies and catchy-AF-tunes that get stuck in your head for weeks.

That was then. This is…17 years later?

This person is still making music–the exact same kind of music (only, I might be bias, but I think their old stuff was better).

They’re obviously successful. Not a superstar by any means, but they’re making a living off their music, and that’s great. I’m happy for them.

But I’m also just… floored.

I mean, how does someone do that?!

I wrote music in high school, too. Grungy-ska-punk-teen-pop-songs (followed by acoustic/folky stuff). I can’t even fathom still writing the same kind of music now! I could see myself writing a song from time to time, but writing grungy-ska-punk-teen-pop-songs as my only form of work, year after year after year?! I can’t imagine doing that and being happy.

But that’s me. I’m a multipotentialite.

When We Become Our Projects

I think it’s really common to find something we’re good at, put a project out into the world, get positive feedback and then the medium we used for this project instantly becomes our identity.

For example: someone writes a novel that they’ve been thinking about for a decade. This novel is raw, honest, and brilliant. It’s also a financial success. Now everyone starts calling them a Writer. They start thinking of themself as a Writer. And what do Writers do? They write. So they continue writing more books because that’s what they’re supposed to do. But their big idea–this story they’ve been pondering for a decade–they already expressed it in their first novel. They don’t have much else to say and their subsequent books just aren’t as good.

Maybe, just maybe, we should all appreciate that first brilliant novel for what it is and let the creator decide for themself if they want to continue using the medium of writing or not. Perhaps it’s okay to have just one great novel or song or painting in you.

Picking the Best Container for an Idea

Imagine what the world would be like if, when we have a creative idea, we think: which container would best suit this idea? Is it writing? filmmaking? sculpture? interpretive dance? Heck, an app?

After we choose the best container for the idea, we begin working on our project and gain skills as we go or collaborate with someone who already has those skills and bring our project to light.

However, we don’t then automatically go on to become the medium we used (Writer, Filmmaker, Sculptor, etc.) That decision is up to us. It’s not assumed.

And when we have another idea for a new project, we ask the same question: “which container would best suit this idea?” Maybe it’s the same medium, maybe it’s a different one.

Of course, there are reasons we might want to identify with a medium. I’m a fan of adopting labels when they help and ditching them when they hold us back. But there are also reasons we might prefer to focus on the project itself and not on what that project says about who we are and what we should be doing with our lives.

What About “Honing Your Craft”?

According to Malcolm Gladwell, the Beatles put 10,000 hours of work into music before they were able to write their most critically acclaimed album, The White Album. But what about all those musicians whose “old stuff” is their best stuff and the novelists whose first novels were better than any that followed? That happens, too… A lot!

What if, instead of automatically moving on to album #2 or book #2 or film #2 simply because it’s the “natural next step,” those people had decided to try a new medium or do something different entirely? What if they had asked the container question? Perhaps their work would be stronger and more inspired.

Your Turn

Have you ever felt like you needed to work in a particular medium or assume a certain role simply because that’s what’s worked in the past? Have you ever broken out of that and done something radically different?

Note: I focused on the arts in this post but I think a lot of this applies to non-artistic careers, as well.

Emilie Wapnick is the Founder and Creative Director at Puttylike and The Puttytribe, where she helps multipotentialites build lives and careers around ALL their interests. Unable to settle on one path herself, Emilie studied music, art, film production and law, graduating from the Law Faculty at McGill University. She is the author of How to Be Everything (HarperCollins). Learn more about Emilie here.


  1. Catherine says:

    Thank you for this post! I have had this conversation so often recently when talking about celebs, more specifically sportsmen. I like watching motorsport but I could not do the same sport for 20 years like some of them do. I mean, literally stay in the same type of motorsport- MotoGP- for 20 years or so! How do they not get bored? How do they keep their interest high? It baffles me. I’ve been called ‘sad’ for moving from interest to interest so often, but I just can’t comprehend doing ANYTHING for 20 years straight! I would just die.
    That Container question is brilliant! We wouldn’t be ‘a writer/ film maker/ sculptor’, we’d be a ‘whatever our project is’-er. I’m trying to think how to phrase it. Instead of the medium we’d stick to our overarching theme, whatever it is.
    A big thumbs up to you!

  2. Matthew wooldridge says:

    this is true for me in some respects however there are interests and hobbies that i have kept as a constant. although, i can directly relate to your art work example as I used to do a bit of drawing and instantly everyone considered me as an artist and this was going to be my “calling in life”. to me it was simply a few drawings as a hobby.

  3. Beth says:

    I love this post! It’s freeing to think about ideas outside whatever box you’ve started in or had success in. I have ideas all of the time that don’t fit my typical container (writer). I think it applies to so many areas of life. To consider different containers opens so many pathways for new ideas. Thank you!!

  4. Gabriela says:

    I am quite ok with “becoming” more than one thing. But … I love to master my craft. I usually do things until I get to the level where I can teach it to others. Even when I don’t consciously mean to people come to me and ask me to show them or teach them a thing, something in my aura must send off the teacher vibe.

    I am good with that too, because I love teaching people how to do stuff.

    I don’t get bored, ever, because I do so many different things, and am always thinking of the next thing.

    When people learn about all the things I do, they say “You are one of those people” and I say “Yes, I am.”


  5. Kristina says:

    I’m actually jealous of those people who just have found that one thing. It would give me a lot of ease but then again, would I be happy doing just ONE thing for the rest of my life? Even only the thought of it makes me uncomfortable and fills me with dread. Thinking that I might have that one thing but unable to live off it doesn’t sound very good to me neither.
    I know it’s okay – and even great – to be a Multipod but knowing that I’ll find the next thing again and again and again has led my mind thinking of how restless my life is and doesn’t let indulge in new things all that much.
    It’s the same with being a fan of a movie/book/comic/whatever. I stopped buying merchandise because I know I’ll eventually find the next fandom anyway. It all comes up as clutter anyway.
    There is only one thing I want in life and that’s gathering knowledge and experience.
    Because even if you found that one thing – music for example like David Garrett, his music is still varies from album to album and that’s why I believe Lady Gagas style and type of music changes so often. Because even IF you have only one thing, there is still variation and diversity to find.

    • Robin says:

      Kristina, your fandom comment made me laugh, because I go through the same thing! It doesn’t bother me, but it seems to annoy the “experts” in whichever fandom I’m currently into. Okay, maybe I can’t give the title and original air-date of every Star Trek TOS episode; maybe I refuse to pick a side in the Marvel vs DC debate (I kinda prefer Dark Horse anyway lol); maybe I can’t reel off a list of every race that populates the Star Wars universe – but just because I don’t devote my life to trivia doesn’t mean the love isn’t there, however temporarily.

      I’m de-cluttering my house because I’m on a modified minimalism kick, so I’m getting rid of the things I bought when I thought that Harry Potter or Sailor Moon would be the big “It” for me, the one fandom I could stick with forever and become an expert in. It took awhile, but once I realized how miserable the experts are who gain in-depth knowledge for the purpose of making noobs feel inferior, it freed me and let me see how much joy there is in appreciating other people’s creative efforts in an infinite variety. The experts can tell me that I’m not a “real” Batman fan or Kingdom Hearts fan, but I no longer care, because I’m happily skipping on to my next infatuation.

      It also gives me joy to know that there are some iconic characters who I return to, time after time, like old friends. It doesn’t matter which new game/anime/movie/novel/whatever I’m currently enthralled with, Kirk will always be my captain, and 11 will always be my Doctor. :)

      • Maryske says:

        Interesting sidetrack we got here! :-)

        I have a similar habit of moving from fandom to fandom. Some hypes are fairly shortlived, others last for many many years (and I have no qualms of being into several at once). During the hype, I’m actually pretty geeky and want to know any little detail that interests me. Not because I want to brag towards those fans who know less, but simply because I want to *know*.

        What I find interesting is the fact that even though my interest may fade with time, it never really goes away. Most of them I regularly return to – with new ideas, new stories (I’m an avid fanfic writer), new projects. Those ‘return hypes’ tend to last much shorter than most of the ‘real’ ones, but I enjoy them just as much. It’s like you say: returning to old friends.

        At the moment I’m in André Rieu mode. I’ve known his music forever, but about two years ago, suddenly it clicked and outside work, my mind is occupied with little else than things concerning his music and orchestra. And I love it. I know that in time, the interest will fade again, but for now, I’m enjoying it every day and learning an awful lot. And that’s what multipotentialism is all about, isn’t it? ;-D

        Meanwhile, Robin, my favourite ST character will probably remain Data – the ultimate multipod ;-) Brenda once promised to look into writing a post about fictional multipods, but I don’t think she ever got around to it. Or did she, Emilie? I’d love to read about some fictional role models!

      • Kristina says:

        Are we the same person? I just felt SO connected and I’m glad I’m not the only one who struggles with this.
        I used to be so into Harry Potter but didn’t bother learning the spells. I wanted to learn parsel tongue like I did with Na’vi, Aurebesh and Sindarin. I simply like languages and what they tell about a certain species or culture. I remember how much I wanted to be part (and made my OCs) of the LeStrange family and part of the Deatheaters. This was for long my world. Then came Naruto and the next fandom and next one.
        Currently it’s Star Wars again because of Kylo Ren and Doctor Strange because I’m so interested in the mystic arts but yeah exactly because of the constant switch from fandom to fandom I stopped buying merch and limited myself to one piece per fandom. Saves my shelf and wallet.
        But there is also this ‘I wonder what fandom it’ll be next’. This is kind of taking the fun out of it.
        What you experienced with the “”” experts”””” happened to me to punk, visual key, emo, decora and goth scene I was part of when I was a teenager. There were always people who put me down because I didn’t do it “right”.
        So I stopped completely and I’m not mad at it. I can like something and not be a part of it. But yeah those kinds of people suck and they are everywhere. That’s why I stick to my best friends to talk about fandoms and things I like.
        BUT nevertheless please, don’t loose the fun in engaging in your fandom.

        • Robin says:

          Kristina, I was into punk and goth when I was younger too, and I’m fascinated by the mystic arts, so we might be the same person. lol I like what you wrote about liking something, not having to be a part of it, and not being angry about it. That’s what ended up happening with my brief foray into steampunk. I still like the artwork, but I don’t own a pair of brass goggles. Reading about living “in the moment” has helped me set aside the nagging question of “what’s next” and the vague disappointment I used to have with myself because I couldn’t settle on one thing.

          Maryske, absolutely, there’s a huge difference between wanting to learn something to make others feel inferior, and wanting to learn it because it fascinates you and you love learning. On the topic of fictional multipods, I wonder if Sherlock Holmes would be considered one. I mean, he did stick with just the one career forever, but at the same time, he knew about such a wide variety of things.

          Do either of you ever get accused of switching from one fandom to another just to be trendy? Someone recently put me down for apparently jumping on the Doctor Who fad, and I found myself falling back on an uncomfortable old habit of trying to justify my interests. I defensively informed him that I have been a Whovian, off and on, since long before the general public had ever heard of The Doctor. It was the “off and on” part that convinced him he was right: I hadn’t been consistent, so my love of The Doctor was somehow not legit. Why he felt he had the right to judge my feelings was beyond me, but it made me think – why should I have to defend myself? Sure, his accusation awoke my insecurity, and that pushed me into a negative reaction to cover my own doubts, but did it really matter what he thought? He was a borderline friend at best, and yet I was letting his arrogant, unkind opinion bother me. It took some effort to let it go, but I no longer have his toxic belittling to contend with, and I still have my love of The Doctor, so who really won? And blast him for making it a contest! Of course, it’s harder to deal with such accusations when they’re coming from people I really care about, but I figure he was good practice. :)

          • Kristina says:

            oh Steampunk! You mentioned something here. It fascinates me as well. The music, the costumes, the art. I still like cogs and vintage but I’m definitely not a part of that scene whatsoever. I never had the money to create an outfit or even diy anything. Expect for scrapbooking steampunk-like with patterned paper.

            oh boy, I had one of those conversations back then when I was a Dir en Grey super-fan. (That’s a japanese rockband) I always felt like I HAD to excel and know it all – buy it all – go to every concert until I realized it was no fun for me anymore. I didn’t like their newest stuff, so I stopped and let go. During that time there were many fans I felt intimidated by even just by how they dressed. They wore brands and clothes I could just envy and here and there they left comments that weren’t really nice. There was especially one young woman who called me a hyprocrite.

            This year I’m truly trying to be more in the moment and stop to overthink everything and just go with it and so far I had great results. I went over to trust the universe and so far it hasn’t let me down. (But this is getting too spiritual now)

            Back to your topic: I sadly don’t have many people I talk to about fandoms. A friend of mine is also a long term Doctor fan and it was kind of hard for me to tell her that I got into it as well and fell in love with the 12th Doctor and started to watch the other episodes as well. I was afraid she would judge me for just “jumping on the bandwagon”. Gladly she didn’t but it was hard tiptoeing around it.
            I feel sorry that you had to go through a conversation like that. That’s not okay at all. Those kinds of conversation cost a lot of energy and they leave after effects that the person simply doesn’t deserve. But I’m the same. There are so many things I shouldn’t mind and yet my mind is overthinking about everything. Being a fan isn’t a race where you need to surpass everyone else. I totally understand your reaction because this is probably how I would respond aswell because….I’m nice….all the time and I hate it so much! I wish I could be a lot more forceful and tell people to back off or point out how not nice they might be, but I’m used to be nicey-mousey. It’s an automatic responds. Only hours later I would think of something I should have said instead.
            I’m also someone who doesn’t want to annoy my friends about a fandom. I totaly don’t mind if others tell me all about something they are fan of. I don’t mind at all but I don’t want to bother or annoy them. It kind of hit the fan the last time I mentioned Kylo Ren to a friend and she just rolled her eyes. I know she didn’t mean it bad because I know her but it still keeps an irk-feeling everytime I might say something about it. The same happened to me when I was a Twilight fan and just went on for a while to talk about it to a friend and at some point she started to not respond to it. I got the hint but that’s what drew me away from any fandom community. Which is kind of a little sad but yeah.

            I just smiled so hard because I found someone to talk about it! I’m thrilled!
            What is it that fascinates you about Doctor Who? Is there a specific thing? It’s terrific but is there something that’s resonates so much with you?

            I think Sherlock is a Multipod! He knows fencing and plays violin and does martial arts and excells in every area of science.
            What do you think about the Doctor? Is he one, too?

          • Robin says:

            Hey Kristina, sorry it took me a while to respond; I had some stuff to deal with outside of fandom. :P It’s horrible that someone called you a hypocrite; that kind of mean-spirited comment takes the fun out of it – which, I suppose, is what she was trying to do. Just think how insecure she must be, to buy her personality at Hot Topic then put others down for not spending as much as she does! (Okay, maybe that’s a bit mean-spirited of me, but insulting someone for liking the same band she does? Really???)

            Laughing about “trusting the Universe” and “getting too spiritual”, because I have similar beliefs. :)

            I do think The Doctor is a multipod – especially 11, because everything in the universe fascinates him. I have a soft spot for people (and other beings) who are kind, misunderstood, and lonely. The Doctor can take the TARDIS anywhere and anywhen and meet anyone, yet what does he long for most? A companion. Not even a lover, just a friend. I guess I relate to that. It enchants me that he has two hearts, so he can love twice as much. He can also be hurt twice as much, but he doesn’t let that stop him. Then there’s the sense of freedom, independence, and adventure. Part of me wants so much to see where the road might take me – I’ve wanted that since I was a kid – so I admire The Doctor for living part of my dream. He values fun and spontaneity, and also knows when it’s necessary to set such things aside. If you’ve done any tabletop gaming, I’d have to say he has a natural 20 in intelligence, wisdom, and charisma. :) He’s a trickster, and a “wise fool” in the spiritual sense. In 11 especially, I see what is best about being sentient. So I don’t feel the need to complain about how inaccurate an app that lets humans write in Gallifreyan is or isn’t (though I do know what the First Question is lol); the way I see it, I know what really matters about The Doctor, and that’s good enough for me. :)

          • Maryske says:

            Regarding the trendy question: I can’t really think of any situation where that became an issue. Most of my hypes are fairly minor fandoms, and most people there are just happy to have found other fans with whom they can talk about their interest. So of course I can talk about it with my ‘regular’ friends as well, but since most of my fandoms are totally unknown to them, there’s not much point. And therefore there’s little inclination for them to accuse me of being trendy or whatever in the matter.

            Either way, I agree with both of you that being a fan of something is not a contest. You embrace what you like, and you don’t bother with the elements you don’t like. And no one else should have any say in that. It’s just none of their business.
            Especially in the ST fandom I’ve come across people who consider their opinion to be sacrilege. For example that TOS is the best series in the fandom, and oy vey if you happen to have a different view on the matter… IMO, it’s all a matter of taste and preferences, and in that field, there is no absolute right or wrong.

            As for Dr. Who… I confess I’ve never seen anything of him, but from the little I’ve heard and read over the years (like here from you two), I’m getting a little itchy. Maybe that’s going to be my next fandom? LOL

          • Kristina says:

            Hello hello you two,

            sorry, I had friends over the weekend and no 5 minutes for the internet. (which is a new to me)

            Can I say one thing, Robin? I love how you write about the Doctor. So loving, versatile and caring and I feel the same. haha “the wise fool”, I love it. That’s also my favorite Tarot card ever! You perfectly describe eleven, even though I love the cynical of twelve.

            I have another question from your first reply: Is there a certain book you read? I’m always looking for recommendations.
            As soon as I’m done with “Emergence” I’ll read Emilies “How to be everything”.

            Take the Doctor that looks good to you and work your way into it. (sounds weird and actually wrong because one might think you should start from the beginning but that never worked for me) Watch a couple of episodes and give it a try. That’s how I felt about ST Discovery. I was never a fan of ST and thought about giving it a try, it’s new and all and what can I say? I love it! I really like the scientific part of it (even though the show ended up different)
            But I also had another case with American Gods. Started out really great – in my opinion and likeness – and after a couple of episodes I dropped it. Was just not my kind of show. The same goes for Iron Fist. As soon as it was only bloody and violent without any deeper storytelling I stopped.

          • Robin says:

            Hey, Kristina and Maryske, we keep missing each other! lol Hopefully you’ll both see this response. I’ve only got a minute, but I’m really enjoying this conversation, so I’m not ready to give up yet. :)

            Maryske, I agree with Kristina. Find a Doctor you like the look of, rather than trying to go in numerical order. 10 is a lot of people’s favorite, but it took me forever to learn to like him; personally, I love 11 and 4 – but it doesn’t matter, because they are all regenerations of the same Doctor; each one just expresses different aspects of the same Time Lord. It’s a bit like instant reincarnation, without having to start over with diapers and memory loss.

            Kristina, I’m glad you like my description of The Doctor. :) I don’t often tell people things like that, because it makes me feel awful when people make fun of how much I love the things I love (insert pithy Simon Pegg quote here lol) – but I had the feeling you wouldn’t do that, so thanks!

            Gotta run… hopefully I’ll hear from both of you again soon!

          • Kristina says:

            I knew I wouldn’t be the only one stalking on here because I truly enjoy the conversation we have!
            I, myself, gonna leave a short note here:

            I do love your description of the Doctor simply because I can feel how passionate you are about it and that’s what I absolutely adore; when someone is passionate about something!

            Just like that one poem I so love from the Doctor: “I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night”

            Thus, go forth and continue to be passionate about something no matter if someone beats you down. This is – in my eyes – what life makes worth living.

    • Catherine says:

      “Gathering knowledge and experience.”

      That is EXACTLY the thing I’m interested in. How do we make that work in today’s world? Maybe we should produce a project, essay or other thing to spread our knowledge and experience around.

      I can’t think what else we are here for.

    • Emilie says:

      “There is only one thing I want in life and that’s gathering knowledge and experience.”

      That’s what we call an overarching theme around here. Or maybe it’s just the definition of being a multipotentialite. ;)

      • Catherine says:

        I’ve found out that curating is a good thing for me. I’ve got paper.li and elink.io and I’m starting to make guides for people. That is why I visited puttylike today- to put your site on my guide for multipotentialites/ scanners/ renaissance people!


  6. Kayla says:

    I so resonated with this post!! I’m a new Multipod and I’m also learning disabled so a lot of people think I’m crazy when I try to explain it to them and my parents think I’m indecisive and a jack of all trades. I’ve tried fitting in with doing just one thing for the rest of my life but then I discovered your website and I feel like I’m finally home and it feels right to finally put a name to what I’ve been trying to figure out!! Thank you Emilee!!

    • Catherine says:

      Did you know Kayla, the full quote about jack of all trades?

      Jack of all trades
      Master of none
      Oftentimes better
      Than master of one

      A jack of all trades was to be found on a sailing ship. If the captain had a jack of all trades aboard his vessel, he was delighted as he could ask him for any help and he’d be able to do it.

  7. Rick says:

    Great post! I think one thing that keeps us in a titled mindset revolves around one common question- “What do You do?” This is often one of the first questions we are asked by a new aquaintance. It makes us feel like we have to label or box ourselves in order to gain that lersons’ acceptance and to form a connection. I believe that this question and answer is proposed to ourselves, in our subconscious mind, and it has a main role in directing our focus toward tasks or jobs which help lead us to a socially acceptable answer. This then leads is through a life of doing something that may not be what we want to do or be, but it gains us that deep desire for a connection.
    In our minds, the asker of said question has labelled theirself already. The part of us that wants the bond and acceptance makes our brains naturally lean toward an acceptable answer, an answer that makes them accept us. The answer then becomes closer to being part of our core, as we adapt ourselves to become acceptable.
    What if we could find a way to answer the question from our core? A way to answer it without alienating ourselves from the asker. Then, we grow our true self, while still maintaining the desire for acceptance, and possibly helping someone to see their own potential.
    I may be off, or I may be on to something. What does the Puttylike community think about my take on this? How can we unbox ourselves in a way that will not ostracize us at the same time? And how can we do so without saying a version of F-society?

  8. Anna says:

    I really like the idea that you develop in your post, Emilie. Very thought provoking. I’ve been thinking recently of the concept launched by Simon Sinek – start with the why. So if everyone knows their why and what idea and change they want to bring to the world, then yes, the container is just a tool that overtime we can assess and see if it helps us spread our idea or not.
    It sounds beautiful, but this leads me to another consideration – can everyone ‘afford’ to change the container? Are we all so talented and creative and capable that we can switch to one container to another (in the reasonable amount of a lifetime)?

    • Robin says:

      Anna, I get what you’re saying, but I think it depends in part on whether a person feels s/he has to become brilliant in every type of container s/he tries, or if “good enough” is sometimes good enough. The world has already had the Beatles, and still found room for an endless stream of one-hit wonders, and the kid down the block with the garage band.

      It’s true that not everyone is going to be another Van Gogh *and* another Curie *and* another Gaiman *and* another… fill in the name of someone famous in whichever medium you like. And that’s okay, because perfection is not a requirement. In fact, if the idea of having to be amazing at everything keeps a person from feeling free to try new things, then I’d say that perfection is a pretty horrible idea.

  9. Anne Hessen says:

    … I think exactly the same when it comes to the matter of loving one person. How can they fall in love with only one person and be happy all the time with the same one person without getting bored or needing someone else? I know, “romantic love” comes from another realm different than “doing things in life love” but anyway…

  10. Sarah says:

    I made an album several years ago and since then people have asked me, “when are you making another one?” And I just haven’t wanted to so far… I said everything I needed to say already! But I do still get stuck in variations of the “container” problem, maybe with music. For example if I feel that a new project would be good, I try to push myself into joining another band or writing a piece of music, because “that is what musicians do”

  11. Some people are also defined by their hobbies and interests. When I learned belly-dancing the teacher wanted us to go to every extra weekend workshop on offer, all of her public performances, and dance at all these community events. Choir was the same – expectations we would perform at things and go to see every acapella group that came to town. Some participants got swept along and it became all-consuming for them. I just wanted to dance and sing without it taking over my life! Doing anything to the exclusion of everything else makes people one-dimensional and boring. Like jobs, hobbies and interests have their season. You try things for a while and when it no longer serves a purpose in your life you move on to something new and stimulating. It’s a good way of being in the world for we multi-skilled, multi-talented multipods!

  12. Patrick says:

    I’m fairly new to the multipod concept but something about this post certainly resonates. I’ve spent most of the last 30 years trying to simultaneously live a creatively fulfilling life but also defining myself by each successful project or each skill set I’m currently developing. The balance between working in areas that I’m confident will bring financial reward, but allowing time to experiment and play can be a tricky one.

  13. Richard says:

    I agree a wholeheartedly.
    We’re all slaves to our past. Who we think we are is defined by what we do. So what we have done so far has an unusual stranglehold over us.
    The problem is we need novelty, change and growth. But doing what we have always done means we will always get what we have always got.

    There’s a safety in the remaining in the past. For a long time, I was too scared to venture out and try and change my life.

    How we choose to identify ourselves has an impact on how we face the world.
    We can get so caught up in labels. For a time I tried to decide if I wanted to be a writer or not.
    My solution was to ask myself ‘do I have something to say?’ My answer was an emphatic yes. So I write on my blog, labels are damned.

    Sometimes we have to cast aside the past. Letting go is a necessary step for growth and change.

    I like to call it ‘Creative Destruction’. I’ve written a post on it.

    It’s a reminder that progress happens because we need to destroy or let go parts of ourselves.
    The Buddhist idea of enlightenment is a path of self-destruction.

    Keeping hold of an identity is just one way we try to find certainty and safety. We know who we are.

    To give that up is to invite uncertainty and fear into our lives.
    No wonder we find it so difficult to say goodbye.

    If we want to grow and learn that means giving up on old labels.
    We grow out of them like children growing out of old clothes.

    But it’s more than that. It’s giving up on the need to always label ourselves at all. We are not defined by any idea or category we care to use.

  14. Laura Gutierrez says:

    Hi Emilie!
    For me, the girl is absolutely right, one of us wants to be police, doctors, but as time goes by you get to know new subjects you are interested in everything you wanted. It is good to have a well-planned future so as not to waste time. And it is true, we can all be engineers, but at the same time doctors, nutritionists. Not everything has to be a speacially. If you want you can study whatever it is and more, if there is a kind of passion to study.

  15. Kim says:

    Recently I have been feeling an overwhelming sense of guilt for not continuing a craft I am skilled at. It isn’t the right container! At least not right now. I’m 40 and have rediscovered this craft a few times before. I thought “I’m an adult now so must stick with it.” But after a few years it didn’t feel like “me.” It might spark within me again. Or not. I’m glad to find this community.

  16. Stephanie says:

    I love the idea of sitting with the thought ‘how’ or which form this new idea will look! That is SO what I do with my ideas. I’m almost amazed at how varied I like to see them. And I also fall into the pressure of feeling I have to choose one thing to call myself.
    I simply love these articles and sharing. Thanks Emilie for making our experiences ‘normal.’ :)

  17. Jo Clutton says:

    I’ve been writing/editing my novel forever! Thirty years ago I dreamt the idea of a devastating cowgirl who’s the fastest gun in the west and also bisexual and I started writing it after the birth of my first child. It helped keep me sane during depression and young parenthood.

    I’ve written ‘The End’ many times, and, since my recovery I decided it was time to get it ‘out there’ with the help of my brilliant Husband. So, I am a writer, and I write my blog, Creating My Odyssey, and I’ve had many articles published, but this is the only novel I’ll ever write (although I might have other, non-fiction books in me!), because I’m also an artist, traveller, wild west and ghost nut intrigued by science and a renaissance soul, because so many things interest/fascinate me.

    I’ve never been a ‘one thing’ person and never will be, and I’m rather proud of the fact! I’ve thought about having only a couple of subjects to stick to but the idea just doesn’t hack it, and having oodles of projects on the go at any one time is actually quite exciting! I love it, despite being totally disorganised and confused a lot of the time!

    Jo, Hampshire UK
    Creating My Odyssey – Liberating the Real Me After Thirty Years Of Depression and Anxiety http://www.jo-b-creative.blogspot.co.uk

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