I think everyone wants to make a difference. I think that desire begins sometime around 8th grade. That is the time one begins to see a bigger world than what is right in front of their nose. It’s when kids begin to think about careers, not because being a fireman looks cool, but because being a fireman will include me in saving others. It’s when kids realize they don’t want to live with mom and dad forever, not because it isn’t good there, but because they can someday have a family of their own to guide and mold and begin to set free.
By 11th grade, one’s focus shifts from the drama of fitting in to the drama of moving on. There are credits to gain. There are applications to complete. There are requirements to fulfill. There are decisions to ponder, savings accounts to build, paths to choose. At the core of these decisions is the desire to make a difference.
For some it is to make a difference in one’s own life. Maybe they want to be richer than their parents. Maybe they want more fame or prestige. But for many it is the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others. Why else would someone choose to complete a teaching degree to teach in a private school rather than become a financial genius in a Fortune 500 company? Please don’t get me wrong. Financial guru’s can make an incredible difference but it’s often a very different process than a teacher in the trenches.
For many years I tried to make a difference in the lives of people. I taught school. I worked in church ministry. My profession involved trying to make a difference. However I missed making a difference in my own life. I neglected my own emotional well-being as well as the emotional well-being of the people closest to me. When I left those familiar professions I struggled with my own identity because it was so wrapped up in “what I did”. My emotional self and the emotions of those around me continued to suffer.
So now, in the 5th decade of my life, I have to make a difference in my own life. I am chin deep in looking at who I am and who I should be. I’m re-learning how to make a difference in the lives of those closest to me. I’m using music to make a difference in the lives of others in ways different from how I did before. Now, my music is being used to help charities impact others.
The hard part of this is that it’s the 5th decade of my life. It’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks. I wish I would have spent the right amount of energy when I was young making a difference in my own life. I wish I had built in the emotional and relational strength that truly went deep. I wish I had prepared the parts of me that really count rather than relying on my natural charisma and superficial strengths. So now I am re-thinking and re-learning, re-evaluating and re-focusing.
Why did I blog all of this? I guess just to put it out there that I’ve got a lot of growing to do. I’m giving it a shot. Maybe you have a lot of growing to do and needed to hear that you’re not alone. If you think you don’t have much growing to do, maybe you should look a little closer and check your own honesty.