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  • 1.  I Am Not an Expert

    Posted 06-24-2022 09:00

    I am not an expert.

    I'm more of a collector-- of knowledge, of hobbies and interests, of supplies for half finished projects. I can tell you a lot of animal facts, play you a song on the ukulele, and probably have everything you need to build a small art installation. At times it feels like I am just accumulating a lot of unnecessary fluff. Not much more than filling the gaps in conversation. (Did you know crows can remember human faces and hold grudges?)

    But it's so fulfilling when I can turn my interests and passions outward. I do enrichment with the dogs I foster and dog-sit. I can put my love of birds into action with the Chicago Bird Collision Monitors . I'm new to gardening, and I do not naturally have a green thumb, but the discussion about dandelions, made me realize that even knowledge about the smallest things can be helpful. Eventually, I would like to grow veggies so I can donate the surplus to a local Love Fridge. I still have not found a use for my limited ukulele skills though. 

    What is your area of expertise (big or small) and how have you used it for service? 

    Elisa Meggs

  • 2.  RE: I Am Not an Expert

    Posted 06-29-2022 09:11
    @Elisa Meggs - I relate to this so much. There's a line from the movie Playing By Heart: "my mind has an endless capacity for useless information." While all of the things you've mentioned have value (and are certainly NOT useless), I think of this frequently as I also collect random tidbits here and there. Feeling like more of a "Jack of some trades" than an expert in any. As I was growing up and searching for The Career that was Going To Be It for me, I was a little self-concious about this. I thought, "I should become an expert in something, rather than knowing a little bit of everything."

    Nowadays though, I enjoy collecting knowledge from various topics. Both professionally and personally. Your question got me thinking about how I can (and sometimes do) turn these random bits of intel into service/helping others.

    I like knowing enough about fixing bikes that I can mostly tell if something's wrong with mine and how to do some basic maintenance for me and my friends. I've got a lot of bike routes floating around in my head and can generally tell someone the best route/roads to take to get somewhere via bike. I also like knowing a decent amount about camping and being out in the woods. I would never think I could survive in the true wilderness on my own, but I can get by.  My friend Norah is a guide for a group called Out Our Front Door, and I'm thinking about doing that next summer. 

    Also, I did know that crows can remember human faces and hold grudges! That's a fun fact I learned from @Chris Balletto! ​​

    Stay awesome,

  • 3.  RE: I Am Not an Expert

    Posted 06-30-2022 07:48
    "my mind has an endless capacity for useless information." - This is 100% me. Put me on your trivia team, I'm a ringer! 

    But I agree with so much that's in this thread already. I find I get a little obsessed with a fascination of things (blaming streaming services for never ending sources of documentaries), and then build on things that have been long-time hobbies or enjoyments (cake decorating, American Civil War, why I'm still angry that Star Wars novels are no longer canon since Disney took over, complex board games).

    I think it makes for a more interesting existence to have a cache of random facts and knowledge - and helps in connecting and making conversation with just about anyone!

    As far as service, I love scheduling and logistics - I see it as one big logic puzzle. While it may not be hands-on, seeing someone who is overwhelmed, underwater, or just bogged down, helping them find that clarity is in my wheelhouse. I've also found that knowing a little bit about a lot of things can help, as long as you can identify the point where your limits are, as well as help you learn some new things as well.

    Amy Hopkins

  • 4.  RE: I Am Not an Expert

    Posted 06-29-2022 13:04
    Edited by Arnie Grahl 06-29-2022 13:09
    Variety is the spice of life. The good thing about knowing a little bit about a lot of things is it keeps life fresh. At various points in my life, I have been way into backpacking, bicycling, gardening, painting,  cooking, woodworking, and a litter of other things. That's just hobbies. I will find myself going wild (for a season) on random topics like the French Revolution, wine vs. beer, English royalty, the American Civil War, botany, the workings of a motor, and many more. No common thread that I know of there -- other than the big buckets of history and booze I suppose.
    Like the other commenters here, I used to think that a bit odd. But I think it's probably more common than not. I do remember reading that Thomas Jefferson, another temporary fascination of mine, was sort of a jack of all trades in many different subjects.

    Arnie Grahl