I distinctly remember when I was in first grade and adults would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up.
I would proceed to make a list for them: athlete, artist, writer, teacher, mathematician, architect. In my mind, I could be anything that I thought was moderately interesting, and I was constantly frustrated when I was told I had to choose just one.
This was a struggle for me up until 2012, for goodness’ sake. Our society now tells us that we have to go to school to learn one thing and then have a career in that thing. Here’s my problem with that: I don’t want to do just one thing. I never have and I never will.
The art of the Renaissance man is practically lost, yet the art of the Renaissance woman is practically unheard of.
There are few women I see in pop culture and society today who I would consider the closest thing to a modern Renaissance woman. There are many women I find to be role models, but they are no Leonardo da Vinci. I don’t see our culture producing anyone quite that impressive from either gender in the near future, but I wish I saw more women doing – well, more things.
This is where the modern bit comes into play. J.K. Rowling, for example, has done a variety of amazing things in the past two decades. Do her range of skills and endeavors as world-famous author, Forbes list-maker and creator of the Lumos Foundation make her as impressive as Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello designing and Declaration of Independence writing accomplishments? In this day and age it’s likely.
I like to call myself an aspiring modern Renaissance woman. Some might call that pretentious, but I truly want to be good at as many things as possible. I’m a lover of education and a seeker of experiences. I still want to write books, make movies, teach skills and be an athlete. So I write, take every opportunity to teach, stay active and study film.
I changed my major three times before settling where I am now, but there is no way that once I obtain that degree I wont get another and another again after that.
With the change in time brings different expectations of societal figures and their greatness. Big names like Rowling, Tina Fey and Chelsea Handler stand out to me because they are doing things that get them noticed. They are doing things that are successful and things that people like. The positive impact, and greatness of the impact, is what makes these modern Renaissance women stand apart.
Of the many women who are taking the multiple roads less traveled, there are smaller names who are forging their paths from a new modern medium: Youtube. Women like Hannah Hart, Grace Helbig and Mamrie Hart are taking multitasking and technological creativity to the next level over and over again by using non-traditional yet innovative mediums like social media to create their accomplishments.
Music, books, movies, food, comedy, art and advice-giving are just some of the contents of the pool of variance that come from the minds of people who are growing in popularity in today’s pop culture. Who knows if any of them will design structures or write any documents that stand the test of time 200 years from now, but I wouldn’t count out the possibility.
I will do what I want – not in the bratty, ostentatious sense, but because I can. There is no reason I should have been pushed in high school to choose a single thing to settle on for a major, and there is no reason that I should settle on one thing to do for the rest of my life.
I want to be great, and I want to be good at it.
So I will.