At this time of year the blogosphere and social media are full of people reminiscing and reflecting on the year gone by. I’d love to buck the trend, especially since I’m not really one for looking back. But at this time of year even I like to reflect on the year just passed, to look back at what I’ve experienced, and take note of what I’ve learned.

My list of lessons learned is a long one, and I’m not into publishing self-indulgent bullshit, well not much anyway, so I won’t bore you with the entire list. But one thought that came to me while I was walking Kimber was around the idea that life is short. Now I know people who’d disagree with me, and say that many, if not most of us, have plenty of time on Earth. And while that may be true, here’s the thing, the reason that it can seem as though life is short. Because while our time on Earth is finite, the choices that we’re faced with are infinite. And if your aim is to live a full and happy life, but the choices you make are not the ones that would lead to you having a full and happy life, you can end up feeling as though your life is too short to achieve all that you want to achieve. You can end up feeling disgruntled and unfulfilled.

For years I chose to do something for 200+ days of the year that I didn’t enjoy, and that my unique gifts and talents weren’t suited for. I made the most of it, and enjoyed working with most of the people I spent my days with, but I wasn’t living a full and happy life. These days I may not have the disposable income I had back then, but I’m not spending hundreds of days doing something that makes me miserable, just so i can spend 20 odd days doing something that makes me happy. These days I get to do something that makes me happy every day.

So many people in the public eye have died ‘before their time’ this year, but this happens every year to people we either do or don’t know. I don’t want to count the number of people I know who’ve died far too young. It’s heartbreaking when I think of the future they could have had, but that heartbreak is eased a little if I know they made choices that meant they led a full and happy life in the time that they had. The real tragedy is when I hear about people who choose to wait to shine: staying in a job they hate, shying away from doing the things that’d make them happy, making choices that mean they’ll die without using their talents and gifts, whether for their own enjoyment or the world’s.

Those celebrities that we’ve lost this year, the ones we mourn the most, are the ones that used their unique talents and gifts to make the world a better place. They made us laugh, cry, sing, think, change. They were comedians, entertainers, singers, songwriters, storytellers. They’ve left a glaring hole in a world that needs entertainers, comedians, singers, songwriters, and storytellers more than ever. How will you choose to use your unique talents and gifts to help fill it?