I recently saw a post on Facebook from one of my relatives who made a comment about her brother now adding art to his repertoire of talents, making him a ‘Renaissance man.’ I had to laugh only because for years now I have been referring to myself as a ‘Renaissance woman.’ As a fine artist, self-published author, and entrepreneur with several on-line businesses who also has personal interests in weight-lifting, golfing, walking, and reading, to name a few, I certainly have aspired to be deserving of the title ‘Renaissance woman.’ So this spurred me to look online to see what I could find out about the term ‘Renaissance woman or man’.

I found some interesting information, as I expected I would. Originally, a renaissance man was one who was knowledgeable. He possessed knowledge in the fields of science, literature, politics, culture, grammar, and mathematics. He should also be in good physical health and have a regular exercise routine whether it is running, cycling, or lifting weights. Socially, he should be involved in his community either through community service, the military, or local government. And finally, he should be involved in some artistic endeavor be it music, painting, or writing.

The modern Renaissance man should be a traveler who goes off the beaten path, talking with locals and exploring on his own. He should learn a new language, play a musical instrument, exercise regularly, get involved in his community, plan social events, and write down all those creative thoughts. Not a complete list but you get the idea. Read about Brian May, Viggo Mortensen, and Douglas Hofstadter to name a few modern Renaissance men.

Then I looked up definitions for a Renaissance woman which, as I mentioned, has been my goal in life. Mostly because I have always been interested in doing and learning about so many things. The definitions I found did consider a traditional “Renaissance Woman” someone who is gifted in a variety of topics (of course, mostly to find a man who would think her interesting). And then I read a wonderful article from Aspire Magazine that asked the question “Are You a Modern-Day Renaissance Woman?” by Amy Beth O’Brien. She compiled a list called “7 Signs You May Be a Modern-Day Renaissance Woman” that explained a lot for me.

  1. You still don’t know what you want to be when you grow up (mostly because so many things interest you.)
  2. You can think of at least three ways to earn a living (and choosing one feels suffocating - you love having several streams of income.)
  3. You’ve worried you may be a Jack-of-all-Trades (even though you may have mastered several.)
  4. You’ve felt ashamed about your inability to choose one thing (I wouldn’t use the word shame – feeling a little scattered sometimes, yes.)
  5. You’re a natural multi-tasker (doing something different every few hours sounds perfect to me – I will never be bored!)
  6. You want more freedom (although the article talks about giving up something you love to work a full-time job I actually gave up a full-time job so that I could pursue my many interests.)
  7. You’ve often wondered if you have ADD (I joke about this all the time with friends when they comment that I’m so talented because I paint, I write, I have several internet businesses that I manage – but as the article says, I do finish many projects that I’ve worked on over the years, one of them being publishing my first novel last year which a person with ADD very likely would not be able to do.)

I remember once being introduced to a new employee by a former co-worker, who later became my boss, as “a jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none”. I thought this a little rude since at the time, I didn’t know much about her and she certainly knew nothing about me. This woman, as it turned out, was never complimentary to me nor was she supportive in the least bit. And now, years later, although I do sometimes think I’m a jack of all trades, I also know that I have spent more than a little time to become proficient in several areas. And after reading Ms. O’Brien’s article, I feel confident that I am, indeed, a modern Renaissance woman and feel fortunate to belong to an elite group of people that includes Leonardo DaVinci and Ben Franklin.

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