As I’ve gotten older, certain things have become more important to me than they were to my younger self. I no longer stay friends with people who treat me poorly. I no longer care about the latest trendy gadget on the market that everyone “has to have.” And I have learned that a life without passion is no life at all.
I have met many people over the years, and the ones who always stand out are the ones with passion. Now, I’m not talking about the push-you-up-against-the-wall-and-kiss-you-in-the-pouring-rain type of passion so common in romantic films (I’m looking at you, The Notebook!), but the yearning for something more than the ordinary life. This is the type of person who cannot go a day without playing an instrument, who stay in low-paying careers because they absolutely love what they do, and who light up when they talk about something that is important to them.
Now, if you’re feeling that none of this applies to you and you wish it did, fear not. You’ll find what you’re passionate about. It just may take some time. To help guide you on your way, ask yourself a few simple questions:
- what makes me truly happy?
- what topic do I never tire of discussing?
- what have I always wanted to try and why do I want to try it?
These three questions may help you to find what you’re looking for. Once you find something that interest you, dive right in. You’ll never know how important something it is unless you give it a try.
I recently met someone who is a very accomplished athlete. Years ago, he decided to give up smoking and refocus his energy on running. To take his mind off of the cravings, he began training for his first triathlon. He has now completed in several events, including an Iron Man, and is planning on becoming a certified running coach to help others discover their inner athletes. If he hadn’t tried something new, he would have never learned how happy it made him and how much he wanted to share that feeling with others.
Likewise, I have met so many educators who teach not because it is a high-paying job (it isn’t) and not because there is much glory (there isn’t), but because they see the value in what they do and lives they can affect for the better. I wish I felt that way about my own chosen profession.
After a six-day work week (don’t even get me started), I felt myself getting more and more disappointed that I had settled for a well-paying career over one that I was excited about. I rarely wake up in the morning and look forward to work when I know so many others do. Granted, it was a very stressful week, but it’s not the first time I’ve ever felt that way. Luckily, I have a volunteer gig that I am completely in love with. Helping children with life-threatening conditions has become so much more important to me than the job that pays for my survival.
I often fantasize about leaving my position to work for the organization I volunteer with, but I know it wouldn’t pay me enough to live the lifestyle I’m used to living and be able to do the things I love, like travel and volunteer.
So what to do: follow the passion or find a balance? I choose a balance. And that’s what passion is all about.
We can’t always do the things we are drawn to 100% of the time. It’s just not realistic;. But if you can find the happy medium between doing what you love and what you need to do to continue doing what you love, then you’ve found the best of both worlds.
And the true passion of life.