I was watching Episode 99 of the Bakery Bears the other day, and Dan shared a recent revelation of his.
It dawned on him (and I'm also totally summarizing his fantastic conversation with Kay) that "living life like a musical" is NOT a bad thing! That it's essentially living in the moment, which is a positive and healthy mode of operation. That it's OK to be “silly”, which I interpret as living life each day seeking out joy and being open to sharing it with others when you experience it.
He also quoted the following:
"Find out what you love and do it as often as you can."
Their conversation really got my wheels turning. Why you ask? Because as they were deep in discussion I realized that I kinda live my life "like a musical" - and I think I take it for granted. Which led to some reflection.
Come with me on this journey...
I haven't always had a positive outlook on life. There have been times when I’ve been super serious and hyper focused on the negative parts of life. I used to call this being "realistic" - but really it was a slippery slope into downer-ville.
However, for the most part, I’ve generally been a positive person and...well...silly. But I made the conscious decision to fully embrace a life as a silly person, or as I prefer to call it a joyfully passionate person, fairly recently. Around 5-ish years ago.
There were several factors for my commitment to this mindset. At the time I had just made the switch from pursuing a full-time career as an opera singer. A pursuit that had left me utterly unfulfilled, creatively depleted, and frankly - super depressed.
My entire identity was wrapped up in becoming a full-time opera singer. As a result I turned a blind eye to all other aspects of life - love, family, friends and even crafting!
I was so focused on becoming a “young artist” and on following the cookie cutter outline set before me by the industry on how to achieve this career that I totally lost sight of what made ME most creative, fulfilled and most importantly - happy.
With the help of family, friends and a fantastic therapist (bless therapy!) I accepted that a change was needed. I was living life by the definition of insanity - doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result.
With their help and a lot of soul-searching I discovered that I am the type of creative person that thrives with a solid foundation under me (namely a secure home base) and a certain everyday schedule or rhythm . This realization also came about with the help of Brené Brown's fabulous book Daring Greatly.
I mean - no wonder I was unhappy! The gypsy life of a full-time, freelancing opera singer totally butted heads with what is my best mode of operation!
So, I changed things up.
Being silly is allowing yourself to be vulnerable.
Being vulnerable has always been hard for me, and it continues to be.
For me, being vulnerable is allowing others to see that I don’t know everything. (I know this sounds crazy pants, but it's true! Oh, to be a Virgo perfectionist.) Being vulnerable is displaying my passions to the world with the willingness to receive opposing views. It’s letting my freak flag fly and being open to any confrontation that might come my way as a result.
Oddly enough, I've found that being silly or vulnerable leads to being embraced by others, rather than shunned!
When I made the switch to being a part-time local singer and a full-time arts fundraiser, opportunities that had alluded me before started to come my way. I sang solos with the Symphony and other groups, I sang with the opera chorus and I found full-time work that embraced and encouraged my life as an artist.
Funny how life opens up opportunities when you stop trying to direct it in a certain way...
A few months ago, as I was sifting through old paperwork at mom's house, I found this note from my 8-year-old self:
There it was in my hopeful, innocent handwriting.
My goals in life - and holy sh*t - I've kinda achieved them. Well...minus a muscular husband and kids named Marsha, Kim and John. But that's next on the list of goals. 😉
What I've learned, now (ahem!) 30 years later, is that life is a river - it ebbs and flows. Which is why being "silly" is so important. It keeps you flexible, so you can move where life takes you. Being silly forces you to look at life with a wide lens, rather than a magnifying glass.
So - I say go forth and let your silly flag fly! Be passionate and creative! And share it with anyone and everyone who will listen. Spread the silly!