What Is A Passion?
by Erin Honor
What does it mean to be truly passionate about something?
I used to believe that a passion was something that you had to do no matter what. I believed that every single living had some activity, some career, some form of self-expression, that made them feel more alive than they could ever feel and that they loved more than they could ever hope to express. I believed that if a person was truly passionate about something, they couldn’t help but live and breathe their passion. I believed that if someone was passionate about something, they would sooner die than ever even consider not pursing their passions each and every day.
But is this true?
I’m at an age in my life where I am supposed to have most of it all figured out. I am supposed to know what my college major should be, what job I want to have, what job I could possibly have (you know,, in case what I want to do doesn’t work out), I am supposed to be working part time jobs and have a good head on my shoulders and be throwing myself into the adult work. And yet, I still feel like I am in the same place that I was 5 years ago.
Here’s a fun fact about me; last year, when i first started college, my major was in exercise science. I thought that that was it, I was going to go to the college I was in for four years, get my degree, and work as a health and fitness coach for the rest of my life… And guess what? I was actually excited about it. I figured that I love all aspects of health. I have spent most of my free time over the past few years devouring every health article/book/documentary that I could, trying to learn everything that I could possibly know about the topic. I ran, I did plyometrics. I lived and breathed health and fitness. That was my passion… My one and only…
Jump forward a year and I am sitting here on my bed back home in New York. I am no longer away at school, I am no longer studying exercise science, I no longer have any notion (not even a small one) of what I want to do with the rest of my life.
So I must have not really been passionate about what i was doing, If I was, why would I be doing something else? Did I screw up? Did I just want that to be my passion? Right now I feel that my passion is for writing (it actually has been since i was 7, I always wanted to be an author). I also feel passionate about music, it makes me happier than anything on the planet. I also could go on for hours and hours about how much I love film and photography… I’m all over the place. Can these all really be passions? Don’t you only have one? I must not be as passionate as all of those successful people who do what they love every day. I must not be as passionate as those people that I want to be. I must not be good enough.
So a passion… Is it really something that you need to live and breathe? Can you really only have one passion? Or is that just what the world likes to tell us when it shoots down all that is not “safe” or “normal.” Even when I was on the path towards my “safe” career in exercise science, I still got many a raised eye-brow. I still got a whole bunch of people saying, “But that’s not really a career,” and, “Maybe you should be a PA instead, it pays well and you’ll actually get a job.”
But why does that matter so much? I was passionate about what I was doing, and if you do something with passion, you can’t help but eventually find success.
So then why are so many people working day in and day out in jobs that they hate. Why are people existing instead of living instead of counting down the days until they retire so that they can then start living.
And what gives me the audacity to think that I won’t be one of those people? What makes me so special? Eventually I’ll have to suck it up. I’ll have to give in. I’ll have to bite my tongue and hold my breath and plunge into the pool of unhealthy people in the corporate world.
Nothing scares me more.
So what do I do? How do I avoid what seems, in this day and age, to the be the inevitable? What makes these unhappy people different from the other ones. They both have passions… They must? So what makes one party differ from the other? Is it that those who work in what they love are simply more passionate about their passions? Are they superior? Or is it something different entirely?
Maybe a passion is not just something that consumes your heart and soul, but something that you have to work at. Maybe a passion begins as small flame inside of you, and you have to make the decision of whether you are going to take the risk of feeding the flame without knowing how large the fire can get, or if your are going to snuff it out and keep things cleans and safe. Maybe there are multiple flames, and you have to choose which one your are going to attend to the most. Perhaps you can still somehow keep all of the flames burning, aware that to do so will take an immense amount of time and energy.
I started blogging because I was passionate about writing. I started a fitness blog because I was passionate about both writing and fitness. I ended that blog because I felt that it was insincere. I wanted to talk about so many other things that got me excited and I felt limited. I now have a blog where I really have no set trajectory of what I want to write about or what I will write about. I now have a blog that in no was caters to any one type of person. This should be where I thrive. Then why am I struggling every day to find any motivation to write? I have been beating myself up about this for a while now. I have been telling myself that I am not really passionate about anything, because if I were, I would be waking up every single day excited to sit down and write and film and do music and take photos because those are the things I believe that I have a passion for. The fact that I am lacking in motivation makes me feel that I only want to be passionate. I feel like a poser.
But maybe that is not how all of this works. Maybe even the most passionate person on the planet has stints of having no motivation. I mean, we are all only human.
Maybe passion is something that we need to nurture. Maybe that is where the motivation and drive comes from. Maybe that is what separates those that find success in what they love than those who work in jobs where they feel unfulfilled. Maybe if instead of doubting our capabilities, our drive, our talent, our possibilities of succeeding, we did the opposite. Maybe if we just kept throwing ourselves over and over at what we found happiness in, it would eventually stick. Maybe passion is less of a natural drive to do something and more of a natural inclination towards something that it is up to us whether or not we are going to pursue.
I’m not sure about anything really, but if there is one thing that I am sure of, it is this…
Never once has someone cased their passions and regretted it.