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Write It Out: If only the spotlight had been off

Ed Grim plays guitar with his daughter, Molly, in the late 1970s.
Ed Grim plays guitar with his daughter, Molly, in the late 1970s.

As a 20 year-old, I would have benefited from knowing that there are so many interesting genuine people living great lives of meaning without a spotlight shining on them all the time.

At times I yearned to be famous and rich and handsome and so forth – a “spotlight person.”

As I moved through my know-it-all 20s, I was waiting for me to become somebody with a capital “S.” If I just went through the motions of acting crazy, excited, studious and interesting – like that most interesting man in the world beer commercial – well, I’d actually become autograph-worthy.

But a 20-year-old cannot acquire that wealth of knowledge quickly. I should have just picked that one thing in life I loved and excelled at it.

But instead, I had to have a passion for everything to be popular and interesting with my various circles of friends.

If I played the guitar, I had to be a significant guitar player.

If I made homemade beer, it had to bring out “wows” and “bottles up.”

If I attended a church discussion group, I had to a show how knowledgeable I was on the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas. Sorry for dropping names, but that’s my point.

I wish I had the wisdom at 20 to reach up and turn that elusive spotlight over me to the “off” position. I would have been less preoccupied at being interesting and more focused on being genuine.