Most people don't read this blog. But then, you’re not most people, are you?
I recently attended a business conference where a highly educated, beautiful presenter described her recent job as diplomatic attache. She hated it. What she really wanted to do – – the thing that fired her passions – – was traveling around Europe with a guitar on her back, writing songs, and playing music.
It's too simple to say that everybody's looking for their artistic voice. Not everybody flares with that spark. But everybody is looking for a way to get their shine on, one way or another.
There are professionals I know who would be perfectly content just to spend their weekends on the couch watching the game or running around in the park with their kids or going to pricy restaurants. Don't misunderstand: running around with your kids in the park is a terrific thing to do! I’m a big fan of doing it with my own, just as I also enjoy an occasional reservations somewhere swank with my sweetie. But I’m not interested in a life principally built of entertainments. Fun? Sure, and lots. Pleasure. Of course. Endless pursuits of both? Not really.
The thing that matters here concerns personal definitions of ourselves. Some of us define ourselves by our lives as parents. Some of us, alternatively, want our parenting not to be our defining attribute, but instead to simply be part of our lives. But some of us can't control ourselves, forced by some unseen engine to stay up late writing novels were applying pigments to canvas. Some of us start and end the day churning over a hazy 3/4 melody that won’t leave us alone. The guitar player I heard at the business conference believed she had a voice that spoke through her songs. It was a business conference, not a concert, and I can’t assess much more about her goals beyond my brief exposure to her story.
I didn’t care much for her presentation. Yes, she had a lovely voice and spoke four languages, but for a number of reasons her schtick didn’t resonate for me.
Except that one bit. She knew before she got too old that what she thought she ought to do was not what she really wanted to do, and then she changed her life to accommodate that personal discovery.
That’s not very realistic for most of us, I realize. In fact, it’s not really fair, because most people have certain hard limits confining their abilities to drop the lives they have to be replaced with the ones they want. But the vital take-away message is this: if you can’t at least recognize where your interests and passions lie, you’re not even on the road towards approaching them. You’ve given up your shine altogether, and if you’re a creative person, that means you’re close to giving up on your own brief life.