It's not about being happy. Or successful. Or loved. All those things are fantastic ingredients to add to the entree of your life, but I've always believed the true purpose of the everyday is to be part of something bigger than yourself.
What do I mean? Contributing to a community or organization that aligns with your interests and values can be incredibly rewarding. Instead of serving your self, you are serving others, and the good feelings that come with that approach are unlike anything you'll experience.
I know this from my own life: I started Toronto Poetry Slam 12 years ago because I wanted to be part of something bigger than my own successes and career goals. Spoken word is a an ancient art form, and I wanted to see how I can be adding some value to the what it's already given to its fans. I began to see how my passion for producing poetry shows was bringing joy and inspiration to those around me, and that was more fulfilling than any paycheque I got from journalism or part-time jobs.
The same with Digital Journal, the news network I used to run. In its early days, it was harnessing the citizen journalism trend coursing from Japan to B.C. and I wanted to be part of this media revolution. To be on the ground-floor of an exciting movement is like starting a band that soon headlines Glastonbury and Bonnaroo. "I was there then!" you can say, as the current of your project ripples to areas of the world you never thought it would go.
A lot of people stress about finding careers or families that will bring them joy. For me, I always wanted to see how I could contribute to a project that didn't wallow in the routine or the been-there-done-that. And if you catch me smiling randomly, now you know why.
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Media criticism. Poetry. Theatre. Toronto. Technology. Travel. Sports. Why X-Files rocks.