June 23, 2014 by alunparry
A Life Enriched And Enriching?
For a couple of months I’ve lacked a bit of direction. It’s not like me. I get out of bed each morning looking forward to the day. But not so much recently.
I felt I’d lost my way. I wondered what I was here for, who I was here for.
In reality, I’d lost touch with myself.
Happily, I’m back to looking forward to each day again. Sometimes I even wake up excited about tomorrow. The change has been that I’ve reconnected with me again.
It’s so easy to drift away from who we really are. Life’s currents can take us to shores that we never wanted to travel to, and certainly don’t want to stay in.
I took some time out to reflect on my life. My realisation was that when I’m fully me, I contribute to the world and I feel good too. Whenever I allow myself to go in directions that take me away from who I really am, and from what I really love to do, I lose purpose and meaning. I also contribute too little.
I came to music pretty late. Well, not really, as I’ve been writing songs since I was about 9 or 10. But my performances began just 8 years ago. I joined the music industry just as people are usually regarded as over the hill. I was like a footballer starting his career at the age he’d usually finish it.
I made some waves when I was younger. I was Merseyside’s official Busker of the Year when I was 18. Plus there was other stuff too where I achieved and made an impact.
But that all stopped at 21 when I went into the world of work. Fourteen wasted years followed. My contribution was at its lowest during this time.
It was only when I chose freedom over security that I found myself again – and rediscovered my ability to fully contribute.
Since I chose freedom I’ve set up a non league football club and social enterprise, I’ve ran a major arts festival, I’ve released five records, I’ve project managed a compilation album, appeared on some other compilation albums, I’ve made a range of short films, I’ve presented a programme on BBC Radio 4, presented two popular podcasts, and I’ve written and performed songs that have meant something to people.
The difference between the last 8 years and the 14 years that went before are stark.
It’s an important observation because I can see that when I am truly me, I do good stuff. When I am not, I am miserable and I lack impact. I am clearly meant to be who I am, and I am meant to do the things I truly love. My impact on the world is at its most powerful from that place.
It is no understatement to say that I now view my life as a journey back to the real me.
So I find myself refocused on the things that I am meant to do. The things that energise me, and that impact others as a result. This is no journey of selfishness or self indulgence because I know that I benefit others the most when I am most truly myself.
I believe this is the case with all of us. We all need to be who we truly are. We all need to do what we truly love.
I can safely say that my earnings today are much less than they were during those barren fourteen years. But my sense of meaning and purpose are as high as they have ever been.
My recent reflections have me back in touch with that truth. And so I am focusing on songwriting, performing, recording music, playpenning (something I’ll write about in the future but essentially means experimenting with small creative projects to see if I like them or not), and creating courses.
If money comes, money comes. I reckon I’ve more chance of earning a decent living from a place of passion than a place of resentful clocking on anyhow.
But if it doesn’t, my life will be rich in other ways.
In our search for happiness, the search for meaning is often overlooked. Meaning can only come from within. We define it ourselves by aligning our days with who we truly are and living that meaningful life that is within us.
Life is short. We are here and then we are gone. What else can we do with a life but live it? How can we have truly lived our life if we allow others to decide how it is lived?
I want to see a world filled with people who follow their calling, with the vibrancy of a life pursued with the meaning we have each given it. I can’t think of a world that would be more enriched and enriching.