Doing your thing

Everyone’s got their thing.

Your thing will be different to my thing, and both will be completely different to someone else’s thing.

So many of us don’t know what our thing is. We conform to group identity because we need community and because there’s safety in numbers, but also that group identity makes it a little harder for our individuality to be expressed.

But we are also unique individuals and to be happy, we need to express that individuality. We need to live in a way in which our thoughts, our words and our actions are in alignment.

And we need to be doing our thing. Whatever that is.

There’s a line in Dennis Lehane’s historical crime novel A Given Day (which I’m reading a chapter a night and cherishing every minute):

Craftsmanship is just a fancy word for what happens when labour meets love.

That place where labour meets love. That place where craftsmanship happens. That’s your thing. (Labour is not just the work you get paid for. It’s everything you get up and do.)

How do we get to our thing?

We get there, I think, through curiosity for something new, and trying that thing that we’re curious about, and seeing if it’s something we might like. And when we find that we like something, we’re more likely to become skilled at it, and when we become skilled at something, we like it more and become even better at it in an infinite virtuous circle.

And then it’s about complete acceptance. Accepting fully our own individual gifts, and accepting fully the individual gifts of others.

It’s a two-step thing. First to know our thing, and second to do it.

A final word on doing our thing from the beautiful Toni McDermott from County Cork.

I walked near Leap in West Cork a couple of summers ago. There’s a series of portrait pictures of local personalities along the Wild Atlantic Way. One of those is of Toni McDermott. Toni’s photo was adorned with a small black ribbon and a note to say she had passed away three weeks previously.

Her favourite quote, in tiny lettering? Get up and do your thing.