taking stock

Well, it has certainly been many cups of tea and coffee since I have had the chance to write a blog post. It has to be said that when I started this endeavour I thought I would find it easier to keep writing. Turns out, unsurprisingly, like every new thing that is started, after a while it takes some discipline and determination to keep going.

Over the last week or so, I have been taking stock of my year so far. Looking at all the different directions I could choose to travel in. In a few short weeks, I will be back in Australia. What a strange thought.

There is something about the phrase ‘taking stock’ that I like. To me, it is looking back over a period of time, and lining up all the things you have done. Looking at them objectively. Considering their value. Discarding habits and aspects of life that are no longer relevant. Finding old forgotten aspects of yourself that have suddenly become relevant again.

If any creative person out there is ever doubting their abilities, look back over your life and take stock. Look at all the incredible abilities that you have. I’ll tell you a secret – as talented as other people you know are, they will never be able to do exactly what you do. And even if they very nearly can, it is your decision to keep doing it that will set you apart.

A good friend of mine and I were talking the other day. We studied music together, and she is now an incredible musicologist, while I am bumbling my way about the world of education and composition. Funnily enough, we studied classical performance together, which neither of us pursued long term. She mentioned a true love of hers that she never let herself really enjoy previously – playing the Irish fiddle. The joy that was on her face when she spoke about just being able to relax and pick it up to play without caring about the excellence of it was exquisite.

And it brings me to my challenge of taking stock. This journey back into my deep love for music and the performing arts has been an amazing one. I did not realise how much I loved it all until I came back.

But. Yes, there is a but. I am so thankful for the time that I spent away from it. Because it means now that I come back to it not burnt out from study, not trying to fit other peoples’ ideals of who I am as a composer. I come back as myself. Relaxed. Able to pick up the instruments and skills that I love without the accompanying tension of needing immediate success through an assignment or a weighted performance.

So here is my challenge to all you creatives out there. Recognise in yourself the incredible talent and skill that you have worked hard to call your own. Take stock. YOU can do what you do. Your skills are not all universal. They are unique and they are yours. Don’t just use them to get by – enjoy them. Value them. Relax with them. Love them. And if, like me, you recognise that they come from the amazing heavenly Father who created us, praise Him that he gave them to you to enjoy.

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