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What’s Your Unique Talent? (And What Do You Do If You Don’t Have One?)

Watch out! Nov. 24th is “Celebrate Your Unique Talent Day,” an unofficial holiday that encourages all of us to embrace our unique talent, skill, hobby or interest and celebrate by sharing one of the things that makes you, you. Our world today is a big and diverse tapestry of talents. In any random community, you’re likely to find people with talents ranging from opera singing to glass blowing, tap dancing to woodworking.

Being in the senior living industry, we at Bethesda Senior Living Communities know that perhaps nowhere is this diversity on greater display than among senior citizens, who have been around long enough to develop some serious skillsets. Our residents have included painters and poets, pianists and pasta makers.

In fact, that’s one of the most enjoyable things about our industry is that we have the privilege of getting to know some of the most interesting people in the world.

But what if you don’t have a talent?

First of all, everyone has a talent. Television tells us: “America’s got talent.” What we suspect is that you just haven’t thought about it hard enough. Maybe you have majestic handwriting, or a voice made for radio, or have an uncanny gift for guessing someone’s name.

In the name of “Celebrate Your Unique Talent Day,” here are a few ideas to help you find—and celebrate—your talent:

1. Take note when someone says, “You’re good at that.” Often, we don’t realize what we’re good at, because we assume other people find the task just as easy. Some people can’t manage fractions. Others will tell you, “Grammar ain’t easy.” Spend a little time reflecting on what you’re good at—and what hobbies and activities you can build on from that skill.

2. Write down what interests you. How do you enjoy spending your free time? What activities do you get so involved with that you lose track of time? It can be something as basic as doing the daily Sudoku in the newspaper. Your natural talents are likely linked to your interests. If you’re interested in something, you can develop that interest into a skill, and before long you’ve got a new talent.

3. Turn off the TV, but use the internet. We likely all have a talent for watching TV, but unfortunately binge-watching TV programs isn’t the healthiest “talent.” The internet can be just as much of a time-drain, but it’s also a gold mine for information. Want to learn to speak French? Looking for gardening tips? Training for a marathon? You can likely find hundreds of videos, blogs and other resources to help you embark on any new venture.

4. Celebrate small successes. In his book “The Tipping Point,” Malcolm Gladwell suggested experts took 10,000 hours to master any given skill, from playing the piano to computer coding. You don’t have to become a master of something for it to be a talent—or, more importantly, for you to enjoy it. Did you grow a new herb in your garden? Learn a new song on the guitar? Celebrate! There is no finish line, which means every small step is success.