pigeon hole

Caged Birds

From a young age I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. You probably were too. It is the easiest way we label people in our society. He is a teacher, she is a lawyer, they are baristas, bus drivers, salespeople, and astronauts. It is clear; the contribution I make to the world is through my title.


But what happens when you don’t have a specific title? What happens if the work you are doing does not fit into the defined pigeon holes of our culture? Are you not making a contribution? Are you unrecognizable?

I’ve made up a title or two for myself (Opportunity Cultivator was one) and this only leaves people scratching their heads. I don’t fit into a box for them. They are unclear about what I do. My work seems inexplicable and irrelevant. 

When you are working on a few projects, that are nothing alike, how do you craft a neat little title that encompasses them? Or do you have to choose only one traditional title, one facet of who you are, to placate the asker and shrink into a single piece of who you are? 

I am a dabbler who follows many paths of curiosity at a time and this leaves me struggling with my contribution. It is as though I am walking through a library and reading only the first chapter of every book. I don’t want to finish each book; I want to see the context and connection between the books. How do the first chapters compare? What is the same? What is different?  

The world does not welcome dabblers as contributors. I have no specialization they can point to for my years on earth. I have fallen short of the 10000 hour rule in countless disciplines. Does this mean I have not made a contribution?  

No. It means I must find my validation internally. The world cannot be my yardstick. It will never understand my need to peek inside the cover and then move on to the next book. It will never recognize the many contributions I have made and how the collective of these gives me a unique viewpoint on the world. The world cannot define me in a pigeon hole.

I am not a pigeon. No loss there. I don’t want to be a caged bird anyway.