Wednesday, June 22, 2016

On the Wearing of Many Different Hats

So far my German adventure hasn't quite gone as planned. To cut a long story short I've basically gotten everything lined up for a successful life here but I'm being held back by some bureaucratic nonsense. But once they figure out what type of visa I'm actually applying for and realize that all of the boxes are already checked, then they'll green light me to start working. Fortunately I have a summer position already lined up (starting next week!) in Leysin, Switzerland. I've also applied for a position in the public schools of Switzerland starting in the fall and I've been in a bit of contact with the director of the program for that so I'm optimistic there as well.

Which leads me to the purpose of this post. On hats, the different types of hats in my closet and how I'm learning to sew them all together.

I don't remember when I first heard someone use this expression - it seems a bit odd in retrospect. What does a hat have to do with anything? Well, the idea is that for each hat that you have, it's another skill set. So when I'm wearing my music hat I'm teaching the flute, my english hat has me in front of a language classroom, my pool hat is more of a beanie and belongs in the pool hall. You get the drift.

The thing that I have ben consciously recognizing and focusing on lately is this: I have many hats and I wear them all with ease. I have a lot to offer a future employer and, thanks to the way my parents raised me, I have the work ethic and dedication to really make an impact on the work environment that I find myself in. I'm comfortable in a wide range of atmospheres - from the bar and pool hall to the concert stage, from America to South Korea, teaching children to teaching adults. Somewhere along the way I've picked up the flexibility, empathy, and compassion that are necessary for the type of worldly travel and living that I've immersed myself in.

The problem is not that I'm lazy, unqualified, and unmotivated. The problem is that my unique skill sets does not fit neatly into one specific box. Going hand in hand with that is my general unwillingness to settle for a lifestyle that I don't find myself content with.

That is not to say I have some sort of irrational concept of the perfect life that is holding me back from settling down in one place or another. I'm more than happy to compromise and focus my talents and skills into one specific area. The end goal, of course, is always a life of music alone - education, performance, etc. Yet along the way I'm more than happy to pursue something else for a while.

The thing is, if I'm going to settle in one area of my life I need to have something really positive going on in another area. As I get older and meet new people, learn about new cultures, and struggle with the day to day demands of living (not travelling) abroad, I'm starting to fine tune what those important things are. I need to take one part of each hat, the size and shape directly proportionate to the influence of that pursuit on my life, and sew them together. The end result will be an ugly mess of a thing (especially considering I am grossly incompetent when it comes to sewing) and to many people will not be desired at all. But it will make me happy, it will be my life not theirs, and how I feel about it is the important thing.

This post is simply a public reminder to myself that having a closet full of different hats isn't a bad thing. Even if general society and cultural norms likes to make you believe that it is. There's nothing wrong with having a large range of interests, skills, and purposes in your life. It's all about finding the balance, being honest with (and eventually true to) yourself, and letting yourself experiment along the way.

Who knows where you will end up, the journey is the important part.

1 comment:

  1. Well said! And I think it's important to be flexible and willing to change hats as necessary