Bear with me while I set you up for my current musing. Passion and purpose.
I began singing professionally at the age of fourteen. Yup. Fourteen. On stage, every weekend, for a minimal, but weekly fee. Someday, if I ever get around to scanning them, I'll share some pictures. My grandmother dressed me and you can tell. *g*
I sang professionally throughout my teens. I went on the road with a band two days after I graduated high school. I was seventeen. I sang on the road six nights a week, 50 weeks (or close to it) a year, for eight years. At age twenty-five I settled in Atlantic City and I performed almost exclusively in the casinos.
It was difficult to work as a full-time singer in one town, so I branched out. Character actress, dance motivator, emcee. Between all of these things, I managed to keep afloat, although there were times that I had to take on a day job. But even when I had a day job, I still performed. I couldn't imagine ever not performing professionally. I'd dreamed of it since I was five years old.
Over the last three years my performance schedule dwindled. The reasons are numerous. It was an adjustment. A painful adjustment. I'm happy to say I am 99.9% over it. I've moved on and I'm better for it. The passion I once felt for performing, I now feel for writing. I'm fortunate. I have friends who are only driven to perform and when the world you're used to no longer wants you--not because you've lost your talent but because you've gained a few wrinkles or lost some of your hair (Read: aged)--life loses its luster. Having experienced that mindset, I can say it's, well, beyond depressing.
This mindset does not pertain exclusively to entertainers. I merely use it as an example as it is the life I've lived. We all, each of us, have felt passionate about a hobby or job. So much so that we allowed that 'passion' to define us as a person. But what happens when life deals you a blow? What happens when knitting or fly fishing becomes difficult because of arthritis? Or when the higher-ups decide that your job (the job you love) is better suited to someone--ACK!--younger? Or more aggressive. Or more cutting edge. Never mind that you excell at your work. Suddenly, against your wishes and will, that part of your life is over. What then?
Here's my take. One must always be sensitive to opportunities and interests. One must never allow fear or laziness of any shape or form to prevent one from rediscovering passion and purpose. I refuse to believe that any of us are born with one talent, period. Nor with one passion. Nor one clearly defined, super specific, never-to-be-strayed from purpose.
Someone once asked me why I thought I was put on this earth. I answered: To make people happy. That was my gut answer and I still believe it. But I don't have to have a contracted gig to make people happy. I don't have to write for a major publisher to make people happy. There are other avenues should I need them. All that's required is a sense of adventure and a shred of determination to rediscover passion and purpose.
Are you sensitive to your interests? To opportunities? When's the last time you tried something new? What else can you imagine yourself doing whether as a hobby or job?