2 October 2010

Personal Passions and living the dream: If not now, when?

One of my favorite bloggers, Carolina Girl, lamented recently on her blog about the struggle she is having to find her life passion and fears that she is missing out on finding "it". (Click here to read the specific post).

I think that unless you are living your passion out (and loving it), we can all relate to her struggle. I can certainly relate, having wasted spent the last 6 years that a job I hated, fooling myself into thinking I could tolerate it because it was a steady job that paid the bills. Or maybe you have liked your job well enough, and it provides all the things you want but you still feel that something is missing in your life.

One of the arguments about pursuing your passion is that it doesn't pay well or that there is no security offered. Well, I hate to burst your bubble, but I found out after six years, the "sure thing" offered no more security and I was promptly laid off. Six years of putting my desires on the back burner, and all it got me was a "thanks but no thanks".


I sort of relate pursing your passion like blowing a piece of bubble gum. There is a procedure that you have to undergo to get the perfect bubble, with considerable risk that it might explode on your face if you push the limits of what is achievable. First you have to prepare the piece to the perfect consistency, and then you have to put effort into blowing so that the bubble can expand. It requires patience and a sense of knowing when to stop.

That said, if it does explode on your face, you can always try again. If the gum looses flavor, you can always stop chewing or try again with a different piece. The risk might be great, but the reward is so amazing.

I finally did find a job, temporary and lasting one year, that I well enjoy. Do I feel passionate about this job? Probably not. But I get a year to test it out and figure if this is what I want to do. But at least it is a step in the right direction. I am also in a new relationship that is leading to a degree of permanence and stability, so my passions will likely change as I consider not just my needs, but the needs of others (spouse, children etc).

I have always wanted to be a romance novel writer and maybe I will become a writer one day, but right now, it's not at the fore front of my thoughts. I also have a number of other dreams and the ranking changes like I change. But it is important to realize that like gum, you can always change the flavor or the brand if what you are pursing is no longer your passion.

Trying to pinpoint one's passion when one is growing and changing and evolving puts limits on your dreams. It doesn't allow you to adapt or change your dreams as your life changes and you acquire new interests.

I also think that maybe living the ordinary life, doing ordinary things, is fine. It's not exciting, but there is something to be said about enjoying the day to day life. There is a certain pleasure in chewing the gum, not just blowing the gum. The opportunities will present themselves and you will know when to go after them.

That all said, it still leaves us with a burning question: If not now, when?

When do you pursue your passions? When do you take the courage and risk to blow the bubble? You can't just spend your life chewing and then wondering why you never got to see a bubble. At what point do you need to stop considering the safety in what you have, and the needs of others, to pursue your own desires?

A friend of mine recently said that she puts her husband and her kids first. Commendable and as it should be at this stage of her kids life. But not once did she mention putting her needs first, and not once did she mention herself as a priority, not once did she put importance on her own passions.

So what then? How do you balance the realities of life, like the need to pay rent and the need to eat food, with the burning desire to pursue your passion? I think what makes it harder is when you see people who pursue their passions, at great cost, and they are either happy or have made a success of pursuing their passion at all cost.

Hmmm. I have a feeling that this is the kind of topic that never ends, that you will go back to again and again as you discover different ways of viewing things and experience different stages of your life.

1 comment:

Joanna said...

It's true... this is definitely a never-ending topic, and you can talk yourself in circles without reaching any foregone conclusions.

It's difficult to be everything to everyone else (read: wife/mother/daughter/sister/friend) without losing a bit of your own identity. I think that's just the reality of the world we live in.

I've heard the saying that you CAN have it all.... just not all at once. I never believed this to be true before, but now I do finally get it.

It's extremely difficult to wear seven different hats all at once and still keep your sanity. But that's life. Sometimes you have to compromise your own needs in the short-term, with the hopes of helping out the greater good.... and in turn setting yourself up for better things in the long-run.

That's not necessarily a bad thing, though, so I hope you don't take it as such. Think of your short-term sacrifices as an INVESTMENT for the blessings to come in the future.

As for finding your passion, I've always said that "the best revenge is living well". It doesn't matter what you're doing (ie, your job, who you're dating, where you live). What matters is that you're happy and fulfilled.... and that way no one has anything on you.

Having said that, though, I do know you yearn to be a romance writer.... and I want you to know that this doesn't have to be an elusive pipe dream for you. If you really do want it, you can do it!

Metro College offers a Romance Writing course.... the current one started in September, but hopefully they'll repeat it again in January.

So no excuses! If you want it bad enough, sign up in January and they'll show you how to do it! :)