I’m sitting on my couch, in my Christmas pajamas (don’t judge), watching Good Morning America and I just heard something I think I truly needed to hear.
Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, Love is being interviewed about the 10th anniversary of her book. I read Eat, Pray Love several years ago and I liked it and there are things I have taken away from it but I am certainly not as devoted to the altar of the book as other people are. I know people who’ve said the book changed their life and I wouldn’t have said that it did change my life, but today she said something that really resonated.
A person in the audience asked Gilbert for advice on how to follow her passion when her passions feel scattered. Gilbert responded that there are two kinds of people in the world: jackhammers who dig relentlessly at one passion and hummingbirds who “cross-pollinate.” She pointed out that while our culture rewards the jackhammer our life is a scavenger hunt and we are projects that have never been done before so we SHOULD continue to pursue passions and identities and dreams.
Whoa. I have always thought of myself as a jackhammer. I am a type A overachiever for sure. But I love the idea of cross-pollination–how one area of our life can influence the others. The scavenger hunt analogy! That one place can lead us to another and another and another. That we aren’t stuck in one spot or one position or one role.
I’ve been in flux this year, for sure. I’m trying to navigate my identities as teacher, mother, friend, wife, runner, student, reader, etc. I think one of the reasons I’ve been struggling is my jackhammer tendencies; I have this idea that I can only pick one of those things. But maybe I’m all of those things, and all of those things help to inform each other. Definitely some food for thought in an unexpected place today!