In the last week I have had the good fortune to see the latest theatrical production of Wicked, a musician by the name of Loreena McKennitt, and watch the Golden State Warriors play in the NBA. What, you may ask, do these three things have in common?
Loads and loads of talent.
As I sat mesmerized by McKennitt's cellist, Caroline Lavelle, I fantasized about whether it was too late for me to learn to play the cello. All I need, apparently, is long blonde hair, a velvet dress, and an ear for Celtic music. Oh, and gobs of musical talent.
My mind drifted to what I might have become if I had been born with such a gift -- one that allowed me to make mesmerizing music, or thrill audiences with the dazzling vocal displays of the Wicked cast. What if? Would I have known? Would I have been encouraged at a young age, or would I have happened upon my talent as a young adult? Would I have found and honed and shared my gift with others, or would I have ignored it in favor of an easier road that made more money and required less blood, sweat, and tears.
Then I thought more about the gifts I do have, and what I have done with them.
My gift is words. I am a writer. Though it took a cancer diagnosis to get me to publish my first book, looking back I realize I've been writing for entertainment for almost forty years. One might argue that I made a career out of writing, if one counts all the legal briefs in my career as a lawyer. But now, in my late fifties, I am finally able to follow my passion for writing and devote more time to entertaining and inspiring others with combinations of words that make people laugh and cry and think about their own lives. Sitting in the music hall, I decided right then and there that I would use my words to remind others to nurture their own gifts.
Take the time to dig deep and explore and uncover the talent that is within you -- whether it is making music or art or food or gardening or dancing or throwing a ball through a hoop. Figure out what it is. Pursue it. Enjoy it. Exploit it to your greatest benefit and let your soul sing with the doing of it.
This is your only life. Don't let it get away without doing what you love.
Find your gift.