“Jack of all trades, Master of None”
Ever head that before? Well, I’m calling total shenanigans.
The Classy Hippie was born from a life-long struggle with that phrase and society’s obsession with telling all of us to pick one thing - because we can’t possibly be or do more than one thing.
Well, frankly, that’s a load of crap. You aren’t one thing, you don’t have to do one thing & you can be and do all the things. Yes. It’s true.
For some of you, reading that might sound obvious and like common sense, but it’s not. If you’re a natural born, multipotentialite [made famous by Emilie Wapnick] and you grow up surrounded by people telling you to choose - hearing that thought can cause a ton of confusion & anxiety as well as identity crisis after identity crisis.
I spent the first 24 years of my life searching for my “thing.” Where was "it"? What if I miss "it"? Oh, God - if I miss "it", I’m going to waste my entire life. What if I spend my whole life focused on finding “it” that when “it” finally shows up, I miss “it” because I’m too distracted looking for “it” to begin with.
Add that to the fact that I’ve always been drawn to things that seem to be contradictions and oxymorons like spending my days working passionately on things I believe in to change this world for the better while also traveling the world in leisure or being a stay-at home Mom one day while running four businesses.
As far as aesthetics and cultural influences - I love clean modern lines, classic movies, learning about cultures, drinking wine, going to fancy dinners or art gallery openings AND vintage antiques, tapestry covered walls, dancing in the rain, wearing cut-offs, schlepping through the river, jamming to Tom Petty and hugging everyone I meet. Black & White AND tie-dye. Cary Grant AND Janis Joplin. Why did I have to choose?! Why can’t I be and have BOTH?!
During a rant similar to that with my husband, as I exclaimed in exasperation, “I love modern design & bohemian design. I believe in learning about other cultures, education, fine art AND sleeping under the stars, messy hair, peace & love…sigh. I don’t know how to choose,” he calmly replied, “You’re like a… Classy Hippie.”
That was it! I WAS BOTH! As soon as I came to that realization I was set free from having to choose and I could just be. From there, I began diving deeper and deeper into this concept and found - it was nothing new. There were SO many people who were just like me - creative, adventurous souls that had the capacity to hold space for multiple dreams, beliefs, passions, skills, ideas and more.
Though this idea of choosing ‘And’ over your “one thing” isn’t new - it’s still not mainstream. It’s still very much popular belief that you need to find your one true calling, that you can’t be or do or believe in or see both sides of things that seem in opposition to each other. But the thing is, you can.
There are two aspects of ‘And’ that I love.
One: You can be all the things. Which we’ve discussed…
Two: You can be two things at once that seem in opposition to each other.
Shortly after realizing the power of ‘And’ I heard Samantha Bennett of The Organized Artist Company give an interview talking about how she teaches people to choose And. She mentioned a woman who was stuck in her creativity because she was walking around telling herself, “I’m a fashion designer BUT I’m not glamorous.”
Those thoughts kept her down because she believed in order to be successful she had to be this glamorized person she’d seen portrayed in magazines and on tv. Sam helped her switch the ‘but’ to an ‘and.’ She was a fashion designer AND she wasn’t glamourous. Making that simple switch allowed her to be who she was and it built her confidence to go on to design casual women’s clothing that was a big success.
For me, I was facing the dichotomy between classy sophistication and down-to-earth hippieness. I walked around telling myself, “I want to be classy, but all the people I know who would call themselves classy wear pearls and think they’re better than everyone else. I’m kind of a hippie because I believe in love and peace and being true to yourself. I love the ‘lifestyle’ but I’m too responsible and I like showering.”
I held the belief that Classy people were snobs and Hippies were lazy and not well groomed. Yeah - I’m not proud of that. I held those beliefs because that was what had been presented to me and that’s what I had experienced. I enjoyed living in both worlds but as soon as the Classy people started making fun of others and as soon as the Hippies wanted to continue laying around all day for the second day in a row - I was out.
The thing is, those views and beliefs I held, though true in my experience up to that time, were NOT true overall. That’s the danger in saying things like, “you can’t deny my experience,” and then leaving it there. It’s true - you can’t deny someone’s experience, but your experience alone doesn’t show the whole story. We can get stuck on one side vs. the other when we stick to only our experience and only our beliefs and only what our environment shows us.
I don't know why I internalized that awful phrase so deeply - looking back, it seems trivial or nonsensical to have cared so much that I wasn't fitting into a nice, neat label or that I didn't care too much about mastery but rather pursuing a life filled with learning and experiencing as much as I could that this world had to offer. I can't change that, but I can help encourage others that might be experiencing their own version of that AND I can live out this life the way I was created to live it - being who I was created to be.
Through the last three years, I've come to know that I'm absolutely not alone and that I'm not "crazy" and that I'm completely and massively excited about living a life of 'And.'
If you’re reading this and the light bulb is going off because you’ve spent your whole life trying to find your thing or trying to choose one side of you over the other, I’m here to tell you - CONGRATS and welcome to the first day of realizing you can do and be both! What you discover from this point forward is going to blow you away AND your best days are ahead of you.
Since choosing to live by ‘And’ my life has been so much more exciting. I’m not as confused anymore - still confused - just not as much. Accepting that I can be more than one kind of person and I can do more than one type of job and it’s ok - no it’s AWESOME - has been completely liberating.
Finding your one true calling comes down to realizing that your calling isn't something you do - it's who you are. It's more about being than doing, and in the words of Craig Groeschel, "When you know who you are, you'll know what to do."
Whether you're a multipotentialite or a specializer, it ultimately doesn't matter, what matters is that you accept who you are, how you are and you help others do the same because we all have a part to play AND we need both.
Love & Blessings,