I am a Renaissance Soul

The Renaissance Soul: Life Design for People with Too Many Passions to Pick Just OneThe Renaissance Soul: Life Design for People with Too Many Passions to Pick Just One by Margaret Lobenstine

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I enjoyed rediscovering this book. A friend (Ratogi) suggested it years ago when I was having a bit of a professional identity crisis. I bought it right away, but I didn’t get very far for some reason. I held on to it the past six years, never giving it a second thought. As of late, I’ve found myself at a professional crossroads (again) and without intending to, I stumbled across this book on my shelf. I flipped to the introduction and recognized myself in the first few lines:

  • Do you feel a pang of envy when you hear someone say, “I’ve always known exactly what I wanted to do ever since I was a kid?”
  • Do you get down on yourself for being a “jack-of-all trades, master of none” because you are fascinated by many subjects but have never become an expert in any of them?
  • Or are you an expert in one or more areas but feel trapped by other people’s expectations that you will stay in your current field for the rest of your life?

And on it went. Right from the start, Lobenstine identifies key traits that makes one a renaissance soul, and I found them to be a welcomed affirmation of self.

Lobenstine has written a practical book, chock full of specific steps renaissance souls can employ in designing a satisfying life. I read the book rather quickly, refusing to get bogged down in some of the longish sections, and ignoring those which were obvious or irrelevant (the chapter dedicated to undergraduates, for instance). She has lots of exercises, some of which I’d figured out on my own over the years, and others which will be great additions to my repertoire of strategies.

I recommend this book for anyone who has wildly divergent or ever-evolving interests, and yet feels unsure of how to proceed in life without starting over or sacrificing self.

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