One of the things I love the most about living in the millennial world is our ability to explore all the different parts of who we are and the opportunity to be as many things as we want to be. How many have people have you met who told you that they are one thing by day but another by night: “I’m a marketing exec day-to-day, but I am a podcast host and Pilates instructor on the weekends.” And how many Instagram bios do you come across that have a whole list of self-describing titles: “Mom of 3/Founder of X/Sustainability Warrior.”
We are no longer confined to being just one thing, and we are no longer defined solely by the career path that we chose. We are in the era of the “slash,” and being a multifaceted individual is something that is both encouraged and celebrated. I learned about “the slash effect” from author and motivational expert, Brené Brown, in her book where she credits the model to Marci Alboher. It seems that we are finally beginning to feel free to nurture all of our creative passions, hobbies, and interests. If we want to be an activist/yogi/writer, then we can go be all those things, and if we want to be a stay-at-home mom/skincare expert/content creator, then we can be all those things too.
The “slash” got a bad rep for a while, and many of us shied away from describing ourselves in this way: there was an unspoken assumption that if someone told us they were “this/that,” then they must not be excelling at, or fully committed to, either of them. But without a slash, we limit ourselves to only showing one side of who we are, and we prevent the world from seeing all that we have to offer. What a waste of talent that could be. Just imagine if Whitney Houston didn’t become a singer/actress and we never grew up watching The Bodyguard, or if Stanley Tucci didn’t embrace his passion for cocktails and bless us with his mesmerizing Instagram tutorials over lockdown.
Give yourself permission to be as many things as you want to be, but I also encourage you to let go of the expectation that everything that defines you has to be something that makes you money. You can literally be anything you want for no other reason than the fact that you enjoy it and it makes you feel good. Remember, you are not defined by your job alone but by all the things that make you feel like the best version of you. So, if you want to describe yourself as a “lawyer/wellness advocate/adventurer,” then own that and celebrate it. Or if you want to be a “content creator/writer/illustrator,” then own all those parts of yourself too.
So the next time someone asks you, “What do you do?” don’t limit your answer to your day job. Tell them all the things you do and celebrate it because self-expression and self-celebration are also self-love. Own your slash because in doing so, you will empower yourself to live the most fulfilled and beautifully interesting life possible.
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