“Whatever you do in life will be insignificant but it is very important that you do it because you can’t know. You can’t ever really know the meaning of your life. And you don’t need to. Every life has a meaning, whether it lasts one hundred years or one hundred seconds. Every life, and every death, changes the world in it’s own way. You can’t know. So don’t take it for granted. But don’t take it too seriously. Don’t postpone what you want. Don’t leave anything misunderstood. Make sure the people you care about know. Make sure they know how you really feel. Because just like that…it could end.”-Mahatma Ghandi
I still remember the last singing session I had with my vocal coach back in 2007. She decided that it was the right time to retire that year and she waited for all of her students to finish their music and practical exams before she left.
I remember her asking me,
What would you like to sing for our final lesson today?
I couldn’t give her an answer because I wanted to sing all the songs we learned together. She taught me for four years and there I was, singing for her… for one last time.
How about ‘On My Own’ from Les Miserables? She suggested, smiling at me.
I sang the song as if there were a million people watching us. After I sang the last line, she told me something I will never forget…
‘You have to promise me that you will never stop singing Franz. You must promise me that you will carry on sharing your talents and beautiful voice with the world.’
I nodded and said, ‘I promise.’
I gave her a handwritten ‘Thank You’ note and a gift as a token of my gratitude. I remember sitting by the steps outside the music room wishing that I could go back in time and sing that song for her once more, but I thought, ‘Well, all good things come to an end…’
12 years later, my vocal coach found me on Facebook and asked to meet. So the last lesson back in 2007 wasn’t the last time after all. She told me, ‘I still have the ‘Thank You’ note you wrote for me.’ So, we met up and I sang ‘On My Own’ for her again.
I’m so grateful for all the people who believed in me and continue to believe in me. When I was younger, there were some moments in my life when I felt like giving up because I thought to myself, ‘Who cares to hear me sing anyway?’. I even started to feel bad when singing became too much of a job than something I did for fun. I started to doubt myself especially when I became too exhausted- juggling shows, teaching, rehearsals and other part time jobs I had. If you find yourself feeling the same way I did, try your best to stop those negative feelings from taking over you. Whenever I found myself thinking ‘What’s the point?’, I remind myself of all the things I have achieved in my life… things which I have often taken for granted. I remind myself of the performing arts awards and trophies I received… the students I taught and will teach in the future… the songs I wrote… the joyful moments I had singing with live orchestras in theatres and even the heart-warming moments, such as when a nice lady came up to me after a show and asked for an autograph… she said, ‘You inspired me to lose weight… I want to be thin, and sing just like you. Thank you for being an inspiration.’
‘It will take her years to lose all that weight!’, some of my bandmates said, mocking the lady behind her back, not really seeing what happened in a positive and loving perspective. They saw her as nothing but an overweight person who has no chance of ever changing her life. I didn’t agree with them. Stood before me was a woman who was determined and strong. The fact that she had the courage to approach me and open up about her struggles, dreams and hopes for the future says a lot about her as a person. I had no reason to believe that she would falter.
When I think of these lovely moments I’ve had in my life, I’m reminded that the little things and the big things I do… WE DO– all matter. You just never know how much impact you can have on something or someone. Sometimes, I even think, ‘What if I didn’t do this or that? I wonder…’. I am always so grateful because I’ve been blessed with the courage to follow my dreams, regardless of what people think. As long as you’re not hurting anyone, follow your bliss. Don’t downplay your achievements and the things you’re doing in your life. Don’t feel like what you’re doing is meaningless. No matter how bad you think your job is, try and remember that your employer chose you over other applicants to do the job that you’re doing now, so do it well. No matter how insignificant you think something is, remember that everything has a purpose. So if you feel like doing something to make a positive change, do it.
Spend hours perfecting that small project at work even though your colleagues don’t care about it much
Open doors for people
Offer to help a stranger if you see that they need assistance
Travel and see the world… Travel for fun but also travel to be of service to others
Volunteer and support charity organisations
Offer a homeless person something to eat or drink… (Funny story – I have a habit of doing this and once, I asked a homeless man if he wanted a drink. He said, ‘Yes please Love,’. I asked him what he wanted and he said ‘Just a pint of cider please.’ I couldn’t help but laugh at how bold he was for asking and of course I told him, ‘No Sir. You’re having a soft-drink tonight.’
Learn new skills even if you feel like you may never even use them at all; but you just do it because you want to…
Offer free lessons for underprivileged children
Support a friend’s business
Leave a generous tip at a restaurant
Build someone’s confidence and give compliments as much as you can
Make someone’s day by paying for their food (drive thru, restaurant, cafe, grocery store)
Pick up litter
Get up and do some exercise even if it’s just once a week
Maybe even open up or reach out to someone who you know is struggling. Don’t doubt yourself and think ‘Will I make a difference?’ Do it anyway…
Tell someone you love them even if your feelings aren’t reciprocated
Always be honest and open… you never know when the last time is the last time…
So, I carry on learning, singing, writing these long blogs, making music, dancing and laughing… living and loving, even when no one is listening or watching. I carry on living my life in the best way possible. I no longer ask myself ‘What’s the point? because the point is, I want to follow my bliss.
I hope you follow yours too… <3