Was it a sudden, spectacular moment of insight when you knew what you wanted to do with your life? Or did it come more gradually? Maybe in little flashes of inspiration, small signs, experiences that revealed to you what your calling might be.
For me it was both a lot of little nudges and simultaneous bolts of inspiration. My parents had a huge record collection, two or three antique treasure chests full of mostly Sixties rock and roll – the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, the Doors, the Jefferson Airplane, the Animals, and so much more, including some Soul, R & B, Motown, Country, and even some Broadway, Opera and Reggae. I would lose myself for hours listening to these records, particularly the Beatles. Later, when I started buying records, it was all about KISS and AC/DC.
My parents, being great lovers of music and always supportive of my love of music, bought me a an old drum set when I was about seven or eight. Later they picked up an old electric guitar for me.
My brother and I would lip sync with our friends to KISS and Beatles records for hours, performing for our parents and anyone else who would listen. We dressed up in costumes which was made up of army clothes from one of our uncles and some make-up (fake blood if one of us was playing Gene Simmons. We had a makeshift stage made out of a round table top and some old tires in the backyard.
Some of the greatest memories of my childhood were of my brother and I and our friends indulging ourselves in the fantasy world of make believe rock and roll stardom.
What do these childhood adventures have to do with finding your calling? Some people have the clarity early on in life to recognize their passions and have the courage to pursue it. Others like myself abandoned those early activities as we made our way into adulthood, looking for more practical and conventional pathways and careers.
Well into my forties now and reevaluating my current career path in the real estate industry, writing songs and performing from time to time, I feel a strong desire to pursue a more engaging and passionate livelihood. And in looking at what those passions and interests are, I keep thinking back about those great records, the fun my brother and I had lip syncing to our favorite bands and pretending to make music.
Obviously, no one is going to pay me to listen to my favorite records, nor is there much of a market for a lip syncing middle aged guy. My point is that much of what I’ve been looking for for so many years through the various career paths I’ve followed, which has eluded me, was introduced to me a long time ago.
I’ve met a lot of people in my life and the ones who seem the happiest and most fulfilled in their careers have a certain childlike sense of adventure in the way they go about their work. They have a joy and an excitement similar to the passion I experienced with those records, those funky instruments, the costumes, my brother and our friends.
If you know what it is you’re meant to do and you’re going after it, God bless you. But if you’re not sure and there are a thousand voices pointing you in a million different directions, maybe a search through the past might help. Looking at the things that lit you up, made you feel alive and consumed you.
No one can tell you what you were born to do. For me, I think it was spelled out pretty clearly and I allowed a lot of different things to cloud my vision of those passions. As kids we’re unfiltered and all of our loves, desires and dreams flowed without fear. In adulthood, various factors and forces take us in so many directions, sometimes far from the things in our childhoods that made life so worthwhile.
Take a good look back, at the photos, the drawings, the writings, the toys, the instruments, whatever it was that you loved and listen to what they tell you.