Follow your own talent

Last Monday, I had coffee with my talented friend, Jeannine. I say “talented” because Jeannine is everything that I’m not.
I’m not putting myself down at all; only being realistic.
Jeannine lives in a beautiful century-old house. And upstairs, she has a wonderful sewing room, which I have never seen. But I have seen the amazing things she crafts in that magical room. All kinds of things.
For instance, some years ago, she gave me a tiny apron with a magnet attached to decorate my refrigerator door. And right now, she is working on a Christmas project for her family.
In our conversation, I mentioned that I’ve never been good at any kind of crafts or sewing. Whereon Jeannine disputed my claim, saying she was sure I had some talent in that area.
After some arguing, finally as a clincher, I told her about my knitting disaster.
Years ago I loved knitting, especially while watching television. And some 30 years ago, I decided to knit my husband one of the heavy sport sweaters that Canadians so proudly wear. This sweater would have a large rust-coloured moose on the back.
Naively, I bought the expensive yarn and had the time of my life knitting away. After the knitting was finished, my mother (who was an excellent seamstress) sewed the pieces together.
To my eye, it was a beauty—something anyone would love to wear. Then one evening, I proudly presented it to my husband and said, “Try it on!”
As he slowly put on the garment, I noticed a slight reticence. He had seen my work before! And sure enough, one sleeve was almost two inches longer than the other, and the whole fit was far from perfect.
All that work and expense, and my husband wore that beautiful sweater for less than five minutes!
Obviously, I was disappointed. But that’s just the way it was. My mother, on the other hand, was like Jeannine. Anything she sewed was a work of art.
After World War II, she made 30 cute little dresses to send abroad. Every one was different and beautiful. Then, later in life, she made and sold 400 Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls.
But that was her and I am me! My talent is writing. What’s important in life is to know your own gifts–recognize them, enjoy then, use them, and follow where they lead you.
What are your special gifts (or talents) and what could you be doing with them–for your own enjoyment and to help others?
Are you a gifted gardener? Or are you a good reader? Who would like to buy your fresh produce? Or do you know someone who is legally blind who would love an hour of reading?
Or, even better yet, why not help them balance their checkbooks?
There are so many talents in the world and they are all needed. What’s your special gift–singing, flower arranging, bookkeeping, carpentry, or just being a friend?
Whatever it is, make sure that you enjoy it, use it, and follow where it leads you, and you’ll have a wonderful life.
Marie Snider is an award-winning health writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at