My parents were great at allowing me to discover new things. I wanted to try the violin. They got me some lessons. I wanted to be a scout. They bought me the uniform. Apparently at around the age of six, I did ballet too, although I think this had more to do with my mother, or at least that is my excuse (not sure why I’m putting that fact on the internet.) Not that they had a huge amount of money. No, we didn’t live in a ghetto either. By the time I was 10 they owned their own home and worked very hard to maintain it. I guess they realised the importance of finding your thing. Finding that activity/skill that resonates with you. I believe we all have the ability to learn anything and everything. I also believe that we’re hard wired to excel in one or if we’re lucky a few certain areas. I reckon I could learn quantum physics, although it would probably take me 25 years to graduate, but unless I try it I’ll never know.
I used to play in a choir with Femi Temowo. along with the amazing Michael Olatuja (you need this guy’s music in your life). We filmed a third rate video for a church album track. Femi pretended to play a guitar solo (and looked very convincing too). After that video, he decided to take up the guitar. I kid you not, within a year or so, he was playing jazz clubs in Camden, and the rest as they say is history. Femi worked VERY hard, but it was clear within a short time, that he had an uncommon ability. He was born to play the guitar, but unless he picked it up, he’d never know. Makes me wonder how many genius genes lay dormant around the world, like super computers in perpetual ‘sleep’ mode.
I would love my children to become musicians, and writers, but only God knows where they’ll end up. What I do know is that I am going to allow them try anything, (Within reason. Can’t see us writing a cheque to the local poll dancing tutor.) with the hope that they find that thing that makes them feel complete; that makes them smile from ear to ear. That thing that connects with something deep within their being. That thing that makes them feel alive! If they are complete naturals at it and can garner a career in the process, even better, but the enjoyment is the key. I mean to grow old not knowing that intrinsic part of your identity must be depressing, and is probably what fuels many a mid life crisis.
True happiness is a rare commodity, but to the young and those who haven’t yet looked…find your thing! It will make happiness a little easier to find!