Just find your passion and everything else will fall into place. Blog after blog, article after article, TED talks, lectures, residential weekends are all out there, teaching us how to find our passion.
But what happens if we suspect we have no passion? That’s not to say we are not interested in things. Someone may say they enjoy listening to music; sourcing and drinking fine wines; reading literary fiction; walks on the beach and baking cupcakes. But they say they are not really passionate about any of them.
Yet another person might agree, saying they love to watch football; ballet; walking the dog; camping with the grand kids and tinkering with their vintage motorbike. But in this case she insists she is passionate about them all!
Peter, my husband, has this problem. He enjoys all outdoor sports, particularly surfing, trail running, sailing, kayaking and snowboarding. He also enjoys reading, playing his guitars, listening to music, particularly classic and folk rock and writing both words and music. How can he choose which one is his passion? He loves to do them all. There are not enough hours in a day or dollars in the kitty to do them all to the standard he wishes. So choices need to be made. Which one is his passion?
My problem was the opposite. I love to try new things, immerse myself in them for a period of time, get to a level of competency I am happy with and move onto the next thing. Serial passions you could say. There is one constant. I have always read, I cannot remember not being able to read or being taught to read. Books are my solace, my joy, my comfort blanket.
And I have a thirty year passion for Peter!
So what to do? Maybe instead of finding our passion we could try creating it. I shall now tell you a little story.
A woman, we’ll call her Mary, age 51, 3 kids, normal humdrum life, overweight and always going to do something about it. Refuses to look at the scales anymore because now she is…horrors…obese. Very unfit, could walk maybe a mile if she absolutely had to.
She lives in Christchurch, New Zealand. And one sunny February day her world, along with those of the entire population of Canterbury, is shattered and will never be the same again. There is an earthquake, a massive, devastating, killing, destroying earthquake. Her family, scattered throughout the city survive, but some are trapped, some are waiting for others to emerge from the rubble, some are youngsters at school, watch, watch, watching the school gate. Will their parent come? Is their parent still alive?
The awful day never ends. She spends that first night huddled with her son, the only family member to make it back to the house, but thankfully all have been accounted for. There is no power, no water, no sewage, cell phones don’t work. The aftershocks run into one another, they never seem to stop, just get bigger and smaller. She has not bothered cleaning up the devastation in the house. There is no water to clean, and anyway every time there is a bigger aftershock more stuff falls. They decide it is safer for it to be on the floor. They have a wind up radio. The announcer keeps saying “Hang on Christchurch, we know you are there, help is coming. Kia Kaha”.
Slowly things change, family members come home, the army bring a desalination plant for fresh water, food is distributed, and one wonderful company send buckets! But nothing will ever be the same again. Mary has changed. She knows now that it is unsafe to be unfit. She knows she needs to be able to get to her family even if she has to walk. She needs to be able to get to the school, 6 miles away, on foot. She needs to be able to run there. Heck, she needs to be able to run right across the city if necessary.
So she starts running. Slowly at first, very slowly. She runs for 1 minute, a week later for 2, then 3, but she stays at 3 minutes for a while, several weeks, then she goes onto 4 minutes. She decides she needs information, she goes to the library and gets everything she can on running, she reads running blogs, after a month she buys a pair of running shoes. A month later, some running clothes.
Time passes. Mary ran a 5k, then a 10. Now she has just completed a trail half marathon with over 1500 feet of ascent. She could run to school and back again. She could run right across the city if necessary.
Yes, OK, Mary is me. It was just easier to write that particular story in the 3rd person.
And somewhere, along the way, I created a passion. I started running for a reason, a very strong, overpowering reason, but to be honest I hated it. This huge fat woman, bright red in the face lumbering barefoot (for the 1st month) down the beach, puffing and panting, but not swearing because that requires breath!
And now I love it. I miss not going. I love running on the beach, in the hills, in the forest. I love it in the wind, in the sun and in squally stormy weather. Yes, some mornings I don’t want to get out of bed, but once I am up, I’m good to go.
I think I, albiet accidentally, created that passion. Or maybe I found it in the rubble and liquefaction of a shattered city.
Kia Kaha. Stay strong and may you all find your passion soon.
- My Guidelines To Finding Your Passion (mattullrich.wordpress.com)
- Passion (patinspire.org)
- Christchurch (joaroundtheworld2013.wordpress.com)