May 13, 2021 in Dag

The trials of being a Renaissance man

My job (the one that pays, not the writing) covers many different areas, and allows me to learn all sorts of different things.

One of the things I’m currently learning about is the Renaissance. It sounds like an amazing time. All that culture and learning and creativity. Definitely one of the more exciting times in human history. Learning about what people were able to achieve hundreds of years ago is always an eye-opener, and puts lots of so-called modern day achievements into perspective.

One of the most alluring concepts to come out of this historical period is the idea of the Renaissance man – the polymath – the person who is good at lots of different things. Incredible historical figures like Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo who could paint and sculpt and write and design and know about and do all sorts of other things.

I’ve always had something of a yen to be like that. I’ve always wished I could be a master of so many different skills. So how exactly have I gone achieving that ambition?

Well, I have to say I give myself points for trying. I’ve always been willing to have a go at different things. How successful I’ve been at those things is another question.

Let’s start with physical activities. I’ve always been a sports fan, but unfortunately I’ve never been much of a sporty person. I did play cricket for a while, never to a great standard, and I was reasonable if not especially good at tennis. Football was pretty much a non-starter, though I did teach myself to at least kick the ball well – something I’m still kind of proud of. But the less said of my attempts at golf, the better.

What about the creative arts? As far as music goes, I do have limited proficiency on the guitar. And I’m kind of not too bad at drawing – I can do strange sorts of cartoons, but that’s about the limit of my capabilities. I’ve even done a few bits of animation, which people say have an odd sort of charm. And I write. I like to think that if I’m actually really good at any of these things, it’s the writing.

As far as a range of knowledge, I’m not too bad in this area either. Mainly thanks to the job mentioned above, I’ve worked across a bunch of fields. Business, politics, economics, psychology, science, mathematics, history, education. I’ve dabbled in all of them. I can readily hold my own in a general discussion. But once things get more complicated, I’ll be quickly bailing out.

There are plenty of other things I can kind of, sort of do. I can juggle. I can cook. I can make up jokes pretty quickly on the spot (I’m not claiming they’re good jokes). I surely am a man of many talents.

At this point, the old cliche starts to rear its head – jack of all trades, master of none. I can’t help feeling this applies to me. And I’m not sure I mind. I kind of like the idea of being across all of these areas in a general sort of way. I like the idea of being a Renaissance man, even if it’s hard work being very ordinary at lots of different things.

And hey, when it boils down to it, whatever my limitations in other areas, I still reckon I’m not too bad when it comes to this game of writing.

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