What does this have to do with anything?


Recently, the Strong Towns blog linked to one of my posts about car dependency. This was awesome, as Strong Towns is one of those blogs high enough to be a member of my esteemed “check most frequently” list. I ended up getting a bunch of new folks reading my site, all of whom were presumably interested in urban planning and transportation, two interests dear to my heart.

But imagine if you are one of these folks, reading through my site for the time. It’s easy to imagine the following internal monologue:

“Okay, what else is here? Hmm, here’s a post on highway congestion and goals. And another post on induced demand, nice. But here are a few posts about travel. And wait, here’s one about credit cards. And debt? Van Gogh? A lawn mower army!?

“What does all this have to do with urban planning and transportation?”

Whitman had it right

The above confusion is understandable. There are many blogs with a single straightforward subject. I think more people are used to that idea, that you go to a certain site to read about one thing, and another site to read about another thing.

However, I have more than one interest. And I don’t feel the need to only promote one of them here.

Do you only have one interest? One hobby? I didn’t think so. You may have only one job, but I bet that you use more than one interest or skill while you’re there. And make no mistake, this is a good thing.

Here is one of my favorite Whitman quotes:

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

There are some people who find themselves from flitting from interest-to-interest, job-to-job. My friend Emilie calls these folks multipotentialites. You may or may not feel like this resonates with you. I know that my natural tendency is not this, actually; I tend to do one thing to the exclusion of all else for a very long time. But I’ve learned that there is danger in working like this. If you’re like me, I would urge you to consider diversifying your pursuits. While the main reason for this for me is to avoid burnout, it’s also because your multiple interests can inform each other and allow you to make interesting connections. It’s just more fun, too. For me this isn’t natural and takes work, but it’s worth it.

Everything can be interconnected (if you want it to)

For me, there is a strong connection between highway congestion and debt, between travel and personal goals, between self-employment and interpersonal connection. For me, it is to explore the question of how to live an life of intention, action, and protest, while still existing in the real world. This exploration has taken me to many subjects and interests, and more importantly, will lead me to new and different interests that I haven’t even discovered yet. Who knows, I may be talking about gardening or salsa dancing soon. But when I do, it will have an important connection. And won’t that be interesting?

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Understand: it is all interconnected. I contain multitudes. I bet you do too. And if you don’t feel like you do, why not explore something new and discover the multitudes waiting inside you? You may be surprised what you find. I know I was.

But enough about me. Do you ever feel like you’re interested in things that seem to have no connection to each other?

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