Greg James and Tim Minchin are right – be ‘pro’ things
Radio 1 DJ Greg James wrote a lovely piece for the i last week exalting the power and joy of being a nerd. In it, he wrote how people should embrace the things that bring them joy, rather than what people think is cool.
For him, this means embracing his love of gardening, Airband radio and trains.
James believes, probably correctly, that the internet has created a more connected world than ever before; TikTok accounts dedicated to people sharing their passion means that you can always find a community of people who have the same interests as you.
But his article speaks to a wider point too; embrace what makes you happy.
The Australian comedian and musician Tim Minchin touched on a similar point a while ago when giving a speech at a university. Addressing the graduating class from his alma mater the University of Western Australia, Minchin shared his own lessons to live by. The whole speech is worth a watch – and you can do so here – but there is one in particular that spoke to me: Define yourself by being ‘pro’ things.
Minchin rightly argues that often we define ourselves by what we don’t like: I hate Coldplay, for example. But that is a very negative outlook on the world. Why not define yourself by the things you love?
Authenticity is something that is always worth striving for. That means being true to yourself and the things that make you happy. Goodness knows, we all need and deserve a bit of happiness in the world today, so why would we deny ourselves the right to enjoy the things that truly make us happy.
I say, so long as it is legal, do what makes you happy. Make time for your own passions and enjoyment. Then, share that passion with those around you. You might find your own community, you might introduce someone to something they didn’t know could make them happy.
Either way, you will find yourself more true to yourself and happy within yourself. At the end of the day, that is kind of the point, isn’t it?
* The main image is me 'faffing about on stage' in an open air production of Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew a few years ago. Amateur theatre has been one of the things I enjoy since I was about 6.