Saturday, July 30, 2016

Renaissance Man?

A neighbor called me a renaissance man this morning. Hmm, sounds kind of cool but I'm not sure I earn that title. I was on a treadmill at the time and the rest of our conversation was about music, women, jobs and apartment construction techniques of the 1990s. Yep, exciting topics for a Saturday morning in the fitness room.

The mention of my guitar lessons triggered his evaluation. I know what he means but I decided to research the term a bit anyway. One definition of Renaissance man: a cultured man of the Renaissance (15th century Italy) who was knowledgeable, educated, or proficient in a wide range of fields.

Cultured? I do occasionally wear a tuxedo and I like Mozart, although I'm usually more at home in shorts listening to Kenny Chesney, U2 or Stevie Ray Vaughn. On the other hand, my iTunes does have a wide range of music and my social calendar runs from charity balls to beer bars.

The part that might fit me, and many people I know: knowledgeable, educated, or proficient in a wide range of fields. My job, for example, includes writing, voicing and producing commercials, promos and specials for radio stations plus interviewing non-profit organizations about their missions. My hobbies: photography, writing poetry and this blog, reading and taking the afore-mentioned guitar lessons. I am good at some of this stuff but mostly average. A Renaissance man?  I don't know.

One obsession I have is studying people, another is pondering the meaning of life and trying to make something significant out of mine. I think those are pursuits common to many boomers. As we age, we often ask ourselves why we are here and what it all means. Well, some of us do. Others of us follow a simpler path. Sometimes I am jealous of them. They are quite happy living the plot line of Luke Bryan's latest song "Huntin', Fishin', Lovin' Every Day."  Their lives are somewhat Renaissance-like in that they're knowledgeable, educated, or proficient in those three fields.

A confession: I didn't graduate college. That is unfinished business for me and I might never realize that dream. But I do consider myself a life-long learner. My personal library contains books on presidents, actors, religion, philosophy, music, self-help, Navajo culture, history, urban studies, photography and life in Italy.

The heart of the Renaissance movement was Italy and one branch of my family tree is rooted in Sicily. Am I a Renaissance man?  Are you a Renaissance man or woman? Perhaps I'll ponder this topic in greater depth tonight with the aid of a nice Chianti Classico. Caio.

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