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Stand on a Corner and Sing

Every day there’s a guy, probably about my age, that stands on the street corner by my house waiting for the bus. He’s not really all that different from anybody else waiting next to him – averagely dressed, a set of headphones, somber, generally friendly looking.

The only difference is you always know when he’s there because he’s usually singing at the top of his lungs. I’m not joking; he really belts it out. I imagine he’d make one hell of an opera singer if it weren’t for the fact that he’s, well, really bad.

When I first ran into Vocal Man, it actually kind of bothered me.

“Doesn’t he realize how bad he is?,” I’d ask myself as I passed by. “Doesn’t he know we’d all be a lot more comfortable if he’d just stop?”

Of course, my comfort doesn’t seem to bother him. Every day he shows up and does his thing, standing on the corner, waiting for the bus, belting out whatever’s blasting in his headphones.

I imagine he’ll never stop. And you know what? That’s exactly how it should be. It only took about 3 or 4 passes by Vocal Man before I tuned him out and went on with my life.

***

Every single person has something inside them they wish they were doing right now but refuse to try out of fear of rejection ­– maybe from friends, family, or just society in general.

We’re afraid that, without approval, we won’t have the courage to do it on our own. But here’s the thing: you can’t get approval until you’ve taken the first step on your own. And, once you’ve taken that first step, you don’t need approval anymore. You see just how capable you are of doing your own thing without anyone else’s permission.

Vocal Man doesn’t care that I think he’s a terrible singer.

He stands at the bus stop every single day and does his thing no matter who walks by giving him funny looks. He doesn’t need my approval. As for me? After seeing him for three or four days, I hardly even realize he’s there anymore.

Before I started Riskology.co, I spent a year running a website that nobody looked at. Truth is, it wasn’t very good, but I still consider those days of learning to write some of the best of my life. Anyone that came across it and didn’t enjoy it simply left.

He’s doing his thing, I’m doing mine, and neither of us are harmed by it. Live and let live.

***

In life, we’re all eventually faced with a decision to make. A moment comes when the desire to do what you really want nearly overwhelms you and it feels like you can’t go another day without making a change.

I wish I could say that, in this moment, everybody makes the choice to live on their own terms, but it isn’t true.  Even though every piece of you wants to head that new direction, it’s still up to you to make the decision – to finally seize your opportunity.

Vocal Man figured this out, and his life will forever be better because of it. Unfortunately, many will never make that choice and, in time, regret it.

So, when life tells you it’s time to stand on the corner and sing, will you do it? Or will you only ponder it a moment and say, “maybe tomorrow”?

***

Yesterday, I passed Vocal Man on my way home from the store. He’d just ended quite a number and you could tell he’d strained his voice a little as the corner fell silent. Then, I heard something I never expected.

Clapping.

~~~~~

Image by: Amanda Woodward