One night, when I was 18, I hopped on a cab and fell in love with a song that was playing on the radio. I don’t remember the song title anymore but it changed my life. I became obsessed with music overnight. Suddenly my references were not writers anymore but musicians and singers and bands like Joni Mitchell and Chet Baker and Radiohead and Janis Ian.
I say it changed my life because it was just one song, but it planted in me a new desire to do something more with my life. Suddenly I saw that there was more to life than the well-planned path that lay ahead of me – doing well at my A Levels, going to a good university, successfully graduating, getting a good job, etc.
Now I thought to myself, maybe there are other options in life… Perhaps I could be a music producer? A band manager? Or something I have never even thought of before!
I began to dream.
And my life split and changed accordingly. (That night when I heard the song was the seed that led to me dropping out of university, starting a cafe, etc. And then here I am today. Now you know what I meant when I said it changed my life?)
Then there was that one time around the same period when I was on a travel forum and I saw post after post about people who had given up everything they possessed to travel all over the world, or people who had been on the road for years. I didn’t know it was possible to do both of these things.
My worldview widened again.
So many books and songs and articles have changed or affected the way I look at life. Or sometimes it’s just one sentence in a goddamn online forum. But they all have made me see new possibilities, feel less alone, or more able to live in this world.
These people who create things – some famous, some anonymous – come from all over the world. They are you and me and everyone in between, really. They all write books or sing songs or make art or direct films and put them out there without knowing that their work would one day alter the life of some random stranger halfway across the globe.
Everything we create matters.
Sometimes we don’t know why we do what we do. Sometimes we don’t know how to go on creating. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like anything is worth working on.
Sometimes I don’t feel like writing or taking a photograph because I can no longer remember what’s the point of doing anything at all.
I mean, who cares?
But then I remember that it’s happened multiple times in my life before, where something someone created – no matter how seemingly insignificant or obscure – has nudged me towards a better direction in life.
We must then always remind ourselves that maybe someday, halfway across the globe, some random person out there will stumble across our song or our poem or our illustration or our product or our short film and that thing will change – or even better, save – his or her life.
And that will be kind of enough.
We are all inter-connected, in more ways than we can understand.
And so I keep creating.