I’m a fan of Garrison Keillor.
If you don’t know who he is, he’s a radio guy/writer, and the creator (and essentially the star/emcee) of A Prairie Home Companion, which can be heard on NPR stations nationwide on Saturday nights. Maryellen and I often listen to this show while we’re doing our Saturday Night deck thing (which is basically hanging out on our deck, having a drink, and enjoying the peaceful calm of our backyard… it’s a really nice place.) In a world of noisy mass-media, the simple, homespun variety show Keillor puts on is like a breath of fresh air. And being on the radio makes it even more-so.
You can also hear Keillor weekday mornings on NPR doing his “writer’s almanac”, which is a five minute piece of… civility is the best word I can use to describe it. He talks about what happened on this date in relation to writing / famous authors and the like, and he always recites a poem towards the end. Then he signs off with that odd voice of his saying “be well, do good work, and keep in touch”…
I mention Keillor, because as I listened to “Writer’s Almanac” yesterday (and recalled many PHC shows), a thought popped into my head – this man is doing exactly what he should be doing with his professional life.
It struck me as comforting – I really like it when people take their talent (or their calling) and succeed.
I can think of many people who are doing that – most of your writers, artists, sports stars, actors… these people are generally doing what their talents and skills dictate they should do. But it goes beyond that – I know a few tradespeople – plumbers, a builder, etc who are also doing exactly what they should be doing with their life. And how about a top chef? I would bet he or she is doing what they should be doing. Heck, many stay at home moms were meant to be moms, and it’s something they do extremely well. What I’m saying is, you need not be rich or famous to fall into this category.
But for as many people that I can think of who are doing this, I can think of millions more who are not. People who are just… doing whatever it is they do, with no real direction or reason save a paycheck. I mean, does anyone really want to be a middle manager? Or a cashier? Or a receptionist? Or work as a low level schlub in the marketing department?
Now I don’t disparage anyone who does these kinds of jobs – sometimes finding “your thing” takes time. I worked many a shit job until I finally figured out what I “should” be doing, and started doing it. In fact, I personally feel that I’m only 70%-75% there. I still have a little further to go – there’s more consulting/speaking type things to do (I think); and a “bigger” book or three to write. But I’m definitely on the road I need to be on.
So where are you in your journey? Are you pointed in the right direction? Are you doing (or moving towards) what you should be doing?
And if not, then what are you doing?