Thank you, Emilie Wapnick!
If only you were not so young.
I have nothing against young people. The problem is that Emilie was born too late. Too late for me. Too late to make the significant change she would have made in my life if only I could have met her fifty years ago.
Fifty years ago, I was 19, at university, and stuck in a sort of limbo. I loved studying, but it was not enough, I was in love with the man that would soon, unexpectedly very shortly, be my husband, but I felt I was missing something. I did a lot of different jobs for my pocket money without knowing that that would be my style of life forever. The only thing I knew for sure was that “my way” was a problem. Someone called me exuberant. Someone else said I was fickle. Many just gave up trying to understand me. Not long ago, I overheard someone saying, “She will never have enough of it.” Yes, it’s true! I’ll never have enough of what life can give me.
When I lived “my way” because nobody was paying attention to what I was doing, my life was full of achievements. My mother-in-law always reminded me of the glorious 1976: I was the mother of two kids, a three-year-old and a one-year-old. I successfully passed all my exams at university. I got my driving license and earned well with translations and knitwear (yes knitwear), and in February 1977, I bought our first car. It all happened because I lived “my way.” I can’t do one thing at a time. One thing at a time is depression. I need multiple projects.
My life is certainly not dull, and I don’t know how many different working and life experiences I explored and am still experiencing, but always with the second thought that I am not regular. When people in the past asked me: “What do you do?” I froze and started babbling, “errr…. housewife? Mother? I do translations, and I also teach. I love reading.” After a couple of decades of this babbling, I started answering, “I do, Patrizia.” It was not a successful introduction.
Ten years ago, I chose one job to stick to, leaving all the others flying around me like mosquitos, sometimes sticking to me, then disappearing for short or long periods. If they ask me the same question today, I answer full of self-confidence: I’m an English Language Teacher. All the rest is only my business.
What does all this have to do with Emilie Wapnick? She’s the one that gave a name to what I am. I am a MULTIPOTENTIALITE.
After watching her Ted Talks video, I wanted to cry but instead laughed and jumped around in a crazy joyful dance. I am not weird,”I am wired differently.” There are many people like me. There is a word MULTIPOTENTIALITE that defines the way I live.
So I can say I am Italian. I am bilingual. I am a mother etc. etc. …and I am a MULTIPOTENTIALITE.
Emilie has also written a most precious book, How To Be Everything. A guide for those who (still) don’t know what they want to be when they grow up by Emilie Wapnick – published by HarperOne.
She has also built a community online, Puttylike.com.
Well, Emilie, you couldn’t change my whole life, but you sure have changed these mature years of my life. Well done, and thank you, again and again.
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