My best friend gave me a subscription to O Magazine for Christmas last year. The cover story of November’s issue is “What’s Your True Calling? An Easy-Does-It Guide to Finding (and Fulfilling) Your Life’s Purpose.” I don’t really need to discover my calling; I know what it is. I’m a writer. The more I write, the more I know this is true. But I still found the series of articles interesting, especially the one titled, “Never Too Late.” In our youth oriented society, you’d think no one over “a certain age” was doing anything interesting. It’s nice to be reminded that’s not true.
The collection of articles was littered with sidebar stories of women who found their true callings, and I love reading stuff like that. I also loved this from the opening essay, “Keeping the Flame” by Patti Smith.
And what I learned is that we are all Pinocchio: We begin our life, waving to our mother and father with our schoolbooks in hand, hoping to do well. But we are turned this way and that. We make mistakes, we move from our course, we falter, flounder, and may suffer remorse, rebellion, or a sense of defeat. We seem to lose our way. But no matter! If we keep our little flame alive, our first feeling of enthusiasm of who we are, without the influence or intervention of others, we will prevail. And like Pinocchio, despite all his transgressions, find the courage to reunite with our little flame and be rewarded. And the reward is this: We become ourselves.
What I like most about this is the reminder that we don’t have to be perfect to succeed. So go out there and flounder! Just keep your flame alive.