One of the things I find intriguing in life is fame. So many pursue it, so few catch it. Fewer still hold onto it for a lifetime.
Maybe I’m sensitive to this subject because I live in Washington, DC, a town filled with “formers”. Or maybe it’s because the coaching profession has a small but ardent crowd who are convinced that fame is the only litmus test for success.
I don’t know, but I’m trying to understand. What’s the difference between living a Big Life and living a Small Life?
On Friday night I watched a concert by someone who’s had fame – the big, glitzy, lifetime sort of fame so many seek – Rosanne Cash. Born the eldest child of legend Johnny Cash, her life has been full of both opportunities and gawkers.
When she began singing and writing songs in her teen years, she started getting acclaim herself. Forty-plus years later, she’s been nominated for 15 Grammys and remains a recording and touring artist. She’s a genius.
As I listened to her play the other night, it occurred to me that this was a woman who’d had hit after hit after hit in the 1980s. You couldn’t turn on the radio and not hear “Seven Year Ache” or “Never Be You” or “I Don’t Know Why You Don’t Want Me”. She released ground-breaking albums and collaborated with the biggest names in music.
Now, however, you’re not likely to hear her songs anywhere on the radio.
(And that’s not just because country music has a thing about women artists.)
I wondered about that. I wondered what that would feel like to not have your music on the radio.
I wondered how Rosanne feels about fame.
On Saturday morning, it hit me. I think she’s sort of transcended fame. I mean, she’s had it and I imagine there were parts which were nice, and she’s still famous to a degree, but what Rosanne Cash is here to do now is to express herself.
Because she has something to say.
There are things she needs to create.
And she’ll do it whether or not she’s on top of the charts, on the radio or filling football stadiums.
Expressing herself is enough. Creating is enough. Being in that artistic moment is enough.
Whatever comes after that is fine.
And so, I realize, it has to be for me. As ong as I’m expressing myself, committed to creating things that matter to me, being the kind of person I aim to be – then life will be right-sized.
Fame, no fame. Big, small. Won’t matter. What will matter is the way in which I say – the way in which you say – what we’re here to say in the time we have left.
It’s really all that matters.
(photo courtesy: RosanneCash.com)