Yesterday I listened to a truly excellent commencement speech by acclaimed author, Neil Gaiman. I highly recommend that everyone listen to it, especially if you have a career in the arts. Here's a LINK.
There were so many incredible elements to the speech, but one of the more simple lessons was relayed when he was discussing his successes. He said he had the opportunity to talk to Stephen King. At the time, Mr. Gaiman was having a lot of publicity and book signings. Mr. King told him, "This is really great. You should enjoy it." Mr. Gaiman goes on to say, with a noticeable tone of sadness, "And I didn't. Best advice I ever got that I ignored. Instead, I worried about it. I worried about the next deadline, the next idea, the next story. There wasn't a moment for the next fourteen or fifteen years that I wasn't writing something in my head, or wondering about it, and I didn't stop and look around and go, "This is really fun!" I wish I'd enjoyed it more. It's been an amazing ride, but there were parts of the ride that I missed because I was too worried about things going wrong, about what came next, to enjoy the bit that I was on. That was the hardest bit for me, to let go, and enjoy the ride that I was on. That was the hardest lesson for me, to let go and enjoy the ride, because the ride takes you to some remarkable and unexpected places."
I have to stop myself right there. I could sit and transcribe the whole speech because it is so amazing. But that, right there, that simple lesson - I wish I'd enjoyed it more - seemed to stick out more than anything in the entire speech. Each of us will have unique opportunities in life. Some people are more talented than you, more beautiful, more privileged, more accomplished, more sophisticated, more (fill in the blank). Regardless of where you're at, enjoy the ride. One of my greatest fears, and therefore one of my greatest motivators, is that if I'm lucky enough, blessed enough, to look back on a life full of accomplishment and success, that I won't have enjoyed it. It gives me reason, each day, to observe some small beauty, some tidbit of inspiration or revelation, and marvel at the miracle that I am blessed to still be living, breathing, loving, existing.
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