The joy of being able to point to, easily, one’s life work

There was no hesitation at the Sydney Concert Hall to give Burt Bacharach a standing ovation at the end of the concert on Friday. Thank you Burt for letting us sing along too. That was the hardest thing, staying mum when one knew the songs so well.

Burt’s music has been with me since I was a kid. There was no other way but to listen to it, and get very familiar with it, on our long drives to Lapland to go skiing. Burt and Santana remain in my memory. Oh yes and my father liked Abba too, they’re not so bad either. Many Australians seem to think so. Thankfully as my mum sang professionally her taste and understanding of music was good so we did not have to listen to Finnish ‘humppa’ and other ‘delightful’ outputs of the Finnish music scene at the time.

This concert and the Edith Piaf movie [La Vie en Rose] generated conversations among friends and family about the meaning of life. When one has a passion and it creates a clear and public output it must be wonderful to know that there it is; clear, simple, appreciated.

What is it that we’re really here for? What am I going to leave behind? What is it that someone, anyone :-), might remember me for? My salmon pasta? My co-authored books? My consumer foresight at Nokia? My overall contribution to the mobile markets? My role as a mother? My role as a daughter? Hmm not sure.

I’ve been questioning the degree of passion expressed in my life at the moment, leading a life of passion, being in the flow – I’ve been there and it feels great but it is also slightly scary. A person who is passionate about one thing, is good at it [since birth or through hard work], and the output is his own, often a creative output, has many advantages. One is that he/she does not do things because he/she has to for livelihood [although it often results in a livelihood too] but because he is pulled or driven to do it and loves doing it.

I had a chat about this with a friend who has done a number of things [world class in tennis, IT security] but one creative outlet has been his forte for a long time. Since a few years ago he took the plunge and makes a living out of his creative passion. He believes that often what holds us back is fear. We get scared of our potential output, partly maybe as the creative outputs reveal so much of our own soul. During a chat with my good friend we also identified some other reasons like being afraid of how it will consume, take us into a world from which it is hard to come out to breathe.

There are so many stories of people shifting gears later in life to do something they really did not even know they were so good at but for years said they’d love to try.

Would we all be much happier people if we were encouraged to have at least one creative activity going at any point in time? Something to be passionate about. I think so.

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