One Life to Live
What are each of us meant to do with the life we’ve been given?
By Amanda VanRookhuyzen, Business Analyst
I watched a surprising movie the other day. It revived a very deep question that has been dormant within my middle-aged days. This question has been knocking on my door in increasing volume throughout the pandemic, as core values and ambitions have been challenged with increasing constraints. And while the question is now loud and clear, the journey of answering it begins.
The movie, Clouds, is based on a true story about a young man who discovered he only had a few months to live. And like so many others who have had to face this devastating news, he was forced to evaluate what mattered most in his remaining, precious sliver of life.
His choices from that point on were poignant and inspiring. As fate would have it, his life was forever recorded through a song he wrote and performed with his best friend (and this timeless family movie). His imprint helped bring this lifelong question to the surface of my mind and led to some rich family discussions:
What are each of us meant to do with the life we have been given?
So far, my family has agreed on two decent answers. One is to learn what love looks like (universal). The other is to discover the unique talents that give each of us a personal sense of satisfaction (individual) and then find ways to exercise those talents.
Both ideas are easier said than done! Since this is a blog connected to work, it seems fitting to reflect on the discovery and investment of talents.
I think we can safely assume that many of us are working in different jobs today than we thought we would be “when we grew up.” For those of you who have achieved your dream job, congratulations! For the rest of us, maybe we are working just to make ends meet or are not 100 percent fulfilled with our current job.
Or maybe we have a hobby that we love to do, but we can’t seem to make money with it. Maybe we haven’t quite pinpointed the difference between activities that rejuvenate us and those that don’t, and why. Or maybe, due to the busyness of life, we have temporarily lost touch with the talented side of ourselves in favour of a “good enough” job that pays the bills.
Here’s a theory. What if some of our talents—especially the creative kind—are not meant to be connected to income? What if some creative talents lose their spunk if money becomes their motivation? What if your investment of time and energy into some of your talents doesn’t have anything to do with work at all? What if a portion of your contributions to this earth is to simply express your unique talents without any obvious form of compensation—outside of an internal sense of satisfaction?
Don’t get me wrong. If you figure out a way to trade your creative talents for financial gain, awesome. If you figure out ways to incorporate your creative talents into a job you didn’t expect to have, fantastic. And if you are looking for ways to increase your personal satisfaction at your current job, maybe take a solid look at creative ways you can exercise your talents at your workplace and find out what fits.
If nothing else, from one human to another, I encourage us all to tune in to the things that make us unique and consider investing in those things. There is a reason why they satisfy you, and the world will be a better place if “you do you.”