The Musings of an Elective Orphan

Sarah Brandis

Patience is a virtue (that I do not possess)

Grumpy cat always says what I am thinking

Grumpy cat always says what I am thinking

As a child, I had to be incredibly patient waiting to turn sixteen so that I could finally escape my parents’ tyranny.  And I managed it, but I may have used all my patience up.  As an adult (well, big kid really) I am terribly restless most of the time.  My book is due for release any day now, I am just waiting on the e-publisher to do the necessary conversions and then the e-book stores to put it on sale.  I had hoped that this would be a ‘sitting back with my feet up’ stage, with everything out of my hands… but who was I kidding?  I am super restless, so I blog!  At least there is blogging, and I can give you guys sneaky peeks from the book.

Today’s sneaky peak is a very short chapter about my restless personality, and how I need to do everything at once.

19 – Jack Of All Trades


It has taken me until very recently to work out ‘who I am’.  You hear that expression all the time, along with ‘finding yourself’, and I must admit I didn’t always get it.  Of course I understood the semantics, I just never really thought I would have a moment of finding myself, that was until I accidentally stumbled over it on a recent holiday.  All it really took in the end was a period of quiet away from the constant distractions of everyday life, and a bit of self-reflection.  How cliché!

Since my early twenties I have been very concerned with being able to do everything.  I was never able to just focus on one occupation at a time.  I have frequently had two or three jobs on the go at the same time, or a job plus a college course/university degree.  Or sometimes a small business, plus a job, plus classes in something or other.  I am never happy being in just one role.  Until my recent awakening I had considered this a problem.  It had made me feel that I was flaky and lacking direction.  I have always really admired people that were one hundred percent dedicated to their one cause, assuming that they must be very happy people knowing who they are and what they are meant to do with their lives.  I wished to have that for myself, but never managed to pick just one focus and stick to it.  So while I was away I came to the understanding that my thing must be being a ‘jack of all trades’.  That is my role.  And the minute I accepted that as a fact I just felt better.  There is no single thing I wish to do over and over again for the rest of my life.  But there are lots of different things that I do reasonably well, maybe not like a master, but like a jack.  And I can multi-task.  So why not enjoy the variety of doing a bit of this and a bit of that?  It certainly makes for more interesting dinner party small talk.  “What do you do?”  “Oh I’m a ________” and then the small talk is over, cue the uncomfortable silence.  I have a list of things to reel off!  I am currently a student of Cognitive Neuroscience, an event First Aider, an Etsy seller, a dog walker, a tribal fusion belly dancer in the making, and a first time author.  All that combined might sound ridiculous, but if I am going to be a ‘jack of all trades’, then I am going to rock that job title!

I have often wondered why I am so inclined to pursue to many roles at once.  I have now accepted myself as a ‘jack of all trades’, but what made me that way?  Could any of this be down to my genes?  Well perhaps, but I am currently wondering if it is more nurture than nature.  During my studies I recently learned about the work of Henri Tajfel, and specifically his 1971 Social Identity Theory.  Tajfel believed that a person forms part of their self-concept based on the social groups they belong to.  Self-concept is very import if we are to be happy and healthy, and again this relates to that idea of knowing who we are.  Tajfel believed that membership of social groups with a positive image would assist that person’s positive self-esteem.  This makes sense to me, and has led me to think this might be why I enjoy having so many roles.  More roles mean more social group memberships, and therefore I have more sources of input for my positive self-image.  Now my self-concept, which did a lot of it’s forming in my childhood, when my parents taught me that I was useless and unlovable, has taken a bashing over the years.  Perhaps my membership of so many groups is helping me to stay happy and feel like an almost normal member of society.  It might also be that I am hedging my bets on a subconscious level.  Perhaps I cannot afford to belong to only a few groups incase one of them lets me down in some way.  I am also probably compensating for not belonging to a family group.  But I’m sure a lot of people are in the same situation there.  It is really hard to feel like you belong when you are estranged from where you came from.  A tree must have roots, so I can’t be a tree then.  Perhaps I am more of tumbleweed, or an island.  Reading about Tajfel’s Social Identity Theory really opened my eyes and gave me a lot to think about.  It was nice to recognize myself in what he was saying.  It’s nice to feel like you make sense, to belong to something.


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This entry was posted on May 9, 2013 by and tagged , , , , , , , , .
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