I tend to dip my toes very shallowly into a lot of different pools.
I have a lot of interests: music, physics, history, architecture, philosophy, science fiction, space, movies, guitars, cities, economics, politics, baseball, hockey, comedy. And I try to stay abreast of all of them, which is difficult being married and having a child.
But I don’t know I single one of those fields intimately. Anyone with more than a surface understanding of any of those topics could easily lose me in conversation.
Some I know more than others. I can hold my own with a seamhead talking baseball. I know a lot about the development of successful cities, and that is about it.
I think the problem is that I’m not terribly passionate about any of them. At least, not passionate enough about them to let them define me. I want them all to define me, but instead it feels like none of them do.
My sister is built this way as well, lots of interests, not many deep understandings of any of them. But she is and always has been passionate about her work and is able to converse about it and really help people with her skill set.
I think part of why I am the way I am is that I was always interested in new stuff. I love to find something new to learn about, to dive into. It is also probably true that I’m not smart enough to get very deep into understanding. I’m probably also a quitter, as soon as it gets too hard I’m out.
From the time I was a little kid I always wanted to be extremely well read, able to pull information from the depths of my mind that would make me a great conversationalist. I think that is why I started on my quest for cursory knowledge. But the problem is that once I laid the foundation work, I never got back to digging deeper.
For example, take reading. I primarily read two types of books and this has been true since I was about 9. I read science fiction, and I read literary classics. I remember consciously starting with classics because why not start there? But I guess I didn’t realize how many there are. I’m still, 20 years later, reading classics. I do not have a deep understanding of modern literature because I’ve never read any of it and I don’t have a deep understanding of even the classics because there are so many to read!
Or take music. I was into heavy metal pretty much from the first time I heard Metallica on the radio as a little kid. But I never dug deep into metal mostly because I found that it got boring fast. So I splayed out, got into pop, and classic rock, and jazz. But never dug deep. Never got past the classics.
I guess I am just the type of person who hangs out in the shallow end. Maybe one day I will have the gumption to really dig into something, but probably not.