The funny thing about people who change your life is that you never see them coming.
This was true of the man I met three nights ago. Let’s call him Charles.
When we began conversation on Thursday night, he seemed nice enough. He had no problem spending money, I’ll tell you that. (Which was convenient because I was working)
As the night progressed, Charles began to confide in me. It turned out he was a manager on Wall Street.
Yet here he was on a Thursday night at the bar, drinking shot after shot of Jameson, alone.
It didn’t take long for Charles to tell me that even with all the big money he’s making, he’s just not happy with his life. He spent years and years chasing money and for what? To not have the time to spend it?
Charles then began to ask about me. He wanted to know what I do.
Before I told him, I braced myself for a reaction. The typical reaction is along the lines of “Oh, she’s one of those” or “Oh, that’s a nice little dream.”
Instead, when I told Charles that I’m a writer, he smiled. Not a condescending smile or a teasing one. Just a genuine grin.
“So is that your passion? Have you written since you were young?”
And so I told him. I told him how writing has been my passion since I was in the fourth grade. I told him how my grammar school teacher signed my yearbook “I hope to get a signed book from you one day.” I told him how I know writing offers no promises but it’s what I love to do- it’s what I’ve always loved to do.
You could tell Charles had nothing but respect for what I said. However, what came next in the conversation hit me like a ton of bricks.
Charles looked me dead in the eye. “Our society is not made for those with natural gifts to succeed.”
He took a deep breath and continued: “But it’s not impossible…you just need to work a lot harder.”
I smiled then too.
I never believed fighting for my passion would be easy. I never thought anything would be handed to me. But I will say that everything I’ve worked for thus far has been infinitely rewarding.
I’ve always been a person of passion. So sure, I struggle. I struggle constantly to make what I dream of become a reality. But I believe that if our society is not made for those with natural gifts to succeed, WE have to be the ones to change it.
I always say that people are only as great as their impact.
By that token, Charles is greater than he ever imagined.