On the recommendation from my sister-in-law and my sister (on opposite sides of the country from each other), my wife and I watched Bill Cunningham: New York this evening!
Inspiring. I found it beautiful, touching, and a bit sad. To have that much passion and dedication to something you love, it is a wonderful reminder to dedicate yourself to the things you find important. He has never stopped. And the ethical and moral commitment he has made to the things he believes is greater than most of us could ever dream of making. Yet he also lives a lonely and solitary life. A life seemingly filled with acquaintances, but no friends.
So what is your thing? What part of your life deserves the passion and dedication that you have inside you? Perhaps the quest alone is what you should be dedicated to now. Perhaps you already have it in your life, but have not recognized it. Perhaps you are not being honest with yourself. Perhaps you are being too brutally honest.
I wish mine was the guitar. It is not. I love guitars, but I have loved other things at different times of my life and will likely love other things still. Unlike Bill Cunningham, it is not likely to be fashion. Unlike Bill Cunningham, I have a family. I have something on which to focus my dedication and passion. Something I want to be dedicated to and passionate about. Yet I will incorporate my other interests. Perhaps that is the magic of Bill Cunningham. He dedicated himself to the essence of what makes fashion eternal. Trends come and go, but the underlying essence of fashion is what he is passionate about. This appears to be different than the empty-nester parent who no longer has children to be passionate about and feels lost. This appears to be different from the retired business person who no longer has work to be passionate about so flounders with no direction. This appears to be different from many of the things we dedicate ourselves toward and then give up on. That is why so few people are given lifetime achievement awards.
And maybe, just maybe, most of us aren’t supposed to be so dedicated to just one thing through our entire lives. Or maybe we don’t discover the essence that lies underneath all the things we seem to be passionate about throughout the different stages of our lives. Maybe that is the lesson of Bill Cunningham and his beautiful documentary. And maybe we should just enjoy the optimism and hope he expresses everyday.