“Jack-of-all-trades, master of none”
That phrase has always haunted me ever since my teenage years ended. It was not until I was 18 that I learned the second part of the infamous adage. This is my story.
During my formative years as a kid, I only knew the first part of the saying and how it was admirable & taxing & glorious to pull off a lot of things at the same time. I actually looked at it on a positive note to the point that I aspired to be one. This conception fueled me to be the very best that I can be. And so I did. During my high school magnum opus period, I joined every extra-curricular activity I could get my hands on. It was like seeing a frenzied toddler crave for some milk in the mouth. Come recognition day, I garnered 10 medals in one year– ranging from CAT cadet honors to photojournalism to computer programming & even as far as performance dancing. I was on top of my pathetic ‘lil world. I felt like I could do anything. I wanted to pursue being a blogger, a writer, a photographer & an engineer all at once. My pride was full.
I, as a human, am insecure by nature. By college, I dreamed hard and, again, took on whatever I could. I thought I could do it again since I was able to pull it off before. But college is light years away from high school. Work work work work work, that’s all I did. I soon noticed something that bothered me. Every day dragged on like forever; I felt I wasn’t growing. I saw my colleagues achieving feats, driving their zeal to the sky as they made their goals a reality. They were successful, while I wallowed in self-pity. As Antoinette Jadaone’s That Thing Called Tadhana said: “Akala ko magaling na ako. Marunong lang pala.” I questioned being a jack-of-all-trades. Indeed, I was a master of none. To make matters worse, someone asked me: “So what are you then?” And I couldn’t spit a freakin’ answer.
I’ve thought about things, observed people in my walks & how much of a jungle the world is. Some will kill for their ambitions. Some think their time is up after their return from Saturn. Some will act fake to reach the top. Some will choose career over love. Some believe all of that is worth it. It boggles me to be honest. We fetish over winning too much that it prevents us from feeling satisfied of what we truly have. We throw ourselves to the wolves time & time again even though it’s not needed. We’re thirsty for something that we think is the very core of our humanity. But I guess the biggest influence in this matter is how success-obsessed we are as a society. There’s this notion that if it’s not productive, then you might as well regard it as a waste of time & effort. We base our lives based on how successful we will be & not for felicity’s sake. We are made to think that the happiness of doing our hobbies is not the main priority. Hence, this explains why many regret their college choices soon afterwards.
I may not deem myself successful of my endeavors so far. Even so, when I look at throwback photos, it amazes me how I’ve matured from the kid I see who doesn’t seem to know what he’s doing. And this somehow puts a smile on my face. I may not know when I’ll arrive at my peak or if I did reach it already. Who knows? Life is a learning process & I am glad I’m climbing up the stairs. Slowly but damn surely.
Do whatever that makes you happy. Indulge in it even if you still have a long way to go. If it makes you better as a person, why stop? What if a lot of things interest you? What if your passions prove to be more diverse than what you initially thought? What if you want to explore a lot of fields because that is what makes you happy?
The ultimate goal in life is to love & be loved, so they say. I’m gonna continue doing what I love. And though my passions don’t necessarily love me back yet, I am gonna struggle on. Better to have loved & tried than to never have loved at all. Being a jack-of-all-trades right now scares me. I am still young though & I have yet to see if my passions will become something I master. But if circumstances prove otherwise, I wouldn’t let some phrase get in the way of my happiness. Never.