A Passion For Life

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.

What ignites your passion? Photo credit: www.thinkpositive30.com

What ignites your passion? (Photo credit: http://www.thinkpositive30.com)

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.

Without balance, everything falls down. Photo credit: www.syzygy-co.com

Without balance, everything falls down. (Photo credit: http://www.syzygy-co.com)

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.

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16 thoughts on “A Passion For Life

  1. Eleni Anthea says:

    Dear Jessica,
    your words got straight to my heart. 🙂 As someone with sometimes too much passion for something/someone I couln`t have said it better. Life without passion is possible but not for long. And worth nothing. Not a bit.
    Long time ago I`ve been with someone who had this lack of passion. And it reflected on me really badly. So I decided that I could only be with someone, who`s able to love someone/something as much as I can. An emotional person. As you said, a person with a passion. Stil not found but happy anyway. 🙂
    Few months ago I was also in a situation where I had to choose whether to keep my balance or to do something that would reduce my big wanderlust. Spending the money on a journey which may last only one or two weeks or on my urban gardening biodiversity project. I decided to spend the money on the project because it was such a huge success last year. And because it would give me a pleasure for more than two weeks. Two days ago I bought the tomato plants and some herbs which now wanna be put in bigger pots and raised beds. And you know what? There are still no regrets about my decision. As much as I love the sea, it could have made me happy only for a few weeks. My urban gardening project on my balcony will make me happy for a few months. 🙂
    Much love from Vienna,
    Eleni

    • Jessica | Defining Wonderland says:

      Oh, Eleni. I admire you for living your life full of passion. I would rather have too much passion in my life than not enough.

      I’m so glad you could walk away from a relationship that wasn’t suitable for you. It sounds easy enough, but so many people (myself included) have stayed in relationships that were long past their expiration dates with people completely unsuitable. Passion is important and I’m glad you had enough self-worth and self-love to recognize you needed more than what someone else could offer.

      And congratulations on finding a new passion in gardening. How exciting that you have found a project to cultivate and truly make your own. That’s what it’s all about! You didn’t sacrifice your wanderlust for the plants, you just chose something different this time and discovered a new passion.

      Thank you so much for commenting and I hope to see you again soon. xoxo

  2. Karin says:

    I agree that we need to find and work in areas we are passionate about, but finding and exploring one’s passion isn’t necessarily a career choice (as you have stated). In fact, some people I know are gifted in creative arts, but they feed that passion as a hobby instead of a career. One once shared that he felt the energy he gained from that passion would be drained somehow if he added the pressure of it being his only source of income. I find energy and am passionate about many things–and I’m not sure that a passion has to be limited to one area. Also, I think what we are passionate about can change through life experiences (like if we are touched by a certain tragedy like drunk driving, maybe we become passionate about raising awareness about that, or maybe we enter the world of parenting and become passionate about educating children or early literacy). Passion is an interesting topic. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. 🙂

    • Jessica | Defining Wonderland says:

      “One once shared that he felt the energy he gained from that passion would be drained somehow if he added the pressure of it being his only source of income.”

      I completely agree with this sentiment, Karin. As much as I love writing, I feel I wouldn’t love it quite so much if I was forced to do it. The fact that I come back to it time and time again without being forced makes it fun. Sure, the creative well runs dry at times, but I keep going for the sake of going. Thanks for stopping by! xoxo

  3. The Regular Guy NYC says:

    I totally agree! The trivial things that we find so important when we are younger gives away to the reality of what makes us happy when we gain a bit of age on us. With wisdom comes better decision making.

  4. cravesadventure says:

    I so agree with you in finding that happy medium and discovering what you are passionate about:) Stretch that comfort zone and try new things is a great way to discover what you are passionate about too! I am all for living for TODAY and not SOME DAY:) Wishing You the BEST – Good Luck!

    • Jessica | Defining Wonderland says:

      You never know what excitement there is outside of that comfort zone. I have been introduced to so many things I didn’t think I would enjoy (kayaking, white water rafting, etc.) and if it hadn’t been for getting out of that zone, I would have never known how much I liked all of them. Because the last time I checked, Some Day wasn’t on the calendar. Here’s to living each day for today! Thanks for the comment, Renee. xoxo

  5. jansenschmidt says:

    Oh man, I so hear you about staying with a job because it pays for the lifestyle you want to live. Sometimes I spend so much time working to get the money to enjoy life, I don’t have the time to enjoy life. It’s sort of a catch 22. I don’t hate my job or my boss, there’s just other things I’d rather be doing. And, after almost 30 years in the same profession, it’s hard not to get into a really deep rut. At this point, I’m not even sure what else I’d be interested in doing.

    I think I’m just having some sort of mid-life crisis. Many of the things that used to hold my interest, seem tame or boring now. The only thing I really want to do is travel. But of course, that takes money, for which I need a job. You see the vicious cycle?

    I’m so glad you have a volunteer position that brings you joy and fulfillment. I have volunteered many, many times in the past and always get something beneficial out of the experience. Kudos to the volunteers!

    Now I’m off to find balance.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    • pcyoda says:

      Patricia, read your reply to Jessica … ever think about becoming a Travel Writer and getting paid to travel? Im actually thinking about doing it myself through some things I found at AWAI.com. Im currently a Realtor and absolutely love, love, love my job but want to travel more so looking for a way I can do both! Happy hunting!

      Jessica, love your blog! Cant wait to see how you fulfill your 30 in 30 list! WooHoo!

      Karen M Wilson
      w/a PCyoda

      • Jessica | Defining Wonderland says:

        Thank you, Karen! I’m definitely working on it and closer to some items on the list than others.

        I wish you all the best as a travel writer. I’ve often thought I would enjoy that, but am fearful that if writing became work, I wouldn’t have the passion for it that I do.

  6. Caitlin | The Siren's Tale says:

    Love this push for balance 🙂 I am extremely passionate about farming and sustainability, but because of bills/responsibilities I’m trapped in a low-paying (but bill-paying) job. It always feels like you have one foot on each side of the door, but you’re right – we can’t always do what we want, when we want. I love the idea of finding a balance between having to pay the bills and seeking out your passion.

Don't let me do all the blogging, join in the conversation. Otherwise, I just feel like I'm talking to myself...

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