“I don’t have the time.” “I have to work full-time to make ends meet – being an artist won’t pay my bills.” “It’s just not feasible to follow my passion.”
Do you see yourself in any of these statements? You’re not alone. By the time I entered adulthood I was dead sure that being a writer full-time was a joke of an existence; you can’t support a family and write at the same time! Writing full-time was for free spirits who had no responsibilities or commitments, who would be just fine renting a one room apartment in a less than glamorous area of town. I’m a plant-my-roots-down-deep kind of girl. I always knew I wanted to live in one house my entire life, to have a big family in that one house, and to know my neighbours. There will always be a part of me that craves solitude and that needs time away from people, even those I love, to recharge. But the image I painted of the single nomad is not really me. (It’s an inaccurate image anyway – you can be a full-time writer and live well!)
Let’s look at this idea of feasibility a little more. If you tell me it’s not feasible for you to follow your passion, this is what I will ask you. “Is it feasible not to?” If you know that following your passion will add joy, happiness, hope and meaning to your life which in turn will do wonders for your health, your family and all of your relationships, is it feasible not to live a passionate life?
“Yeah, well, I can’t exactly quit my job to paint all day/make cards all day/write all day/travel all year/make jewelry all day (you get the picture, right? Fill in this statement with your activity of passion.)”
OK. So don’t.
I agree with you. In most cases, it would be completely ludicrous to give up a steady income cold turkey when you want to have a roof over your (and your children’s) head. But there’s no reason why you can’t line up your ducks and prepare for what could be a major overhaul in what you consider to be your work day. I think that that is both practical and exciting. I like that combo.
What do I mean by line up your ducks?
1. Incorporate your passion into your daily life. Be it 15 minutes or 60 minutes, whatever time you want to devote to it, do it. Doodling for 20 minutes before bed is a completely acceptable way to dabble in your passion. Reading about running gear or car mechanics or whatever…totally part of living your passion. Immerse yourself in it. Even if it’s just minutes a day for now.
2. Dream it then document it. In an ideal world, how much time do you want to spend on your enjoyable activity? What does that look like? Are you happy with your passion being a hobby or do you want to make it a part time or full time business? Write it out. Draw it out. Use whatever medium works for you – but get it down on paper. I have always thought that writing something down is like sprinkling magic fairy dust over the words – it really sets things in motion!
3. Make a plan, goals, commitments to get there. If your dream is to write for 20% of your work week by this time next year, where do you have to be financially and in your writing career 6 months from now? 3 months from now? Next month? Next week? Break it down. If your dream is to run 3 times a week by the summer time, what do you need to do to get there?
4. GET SUPPORT! Bring people over on to your team to cheer you on, to help you navigate unchartered territory – get a coach, a trainer, a financial planner, a mentor. This takes it to the next step. Believe me. I’ve been through the process!
5. Love the process. Don’t get stuck on the fact that you’re “only” making cards for an hour every Sunday. Love that you are making cards for an hour every Sunday! Let that creative energy that you unleash during those 60 minutes carry you through till the next Sunday! And know that you can make card making a bigger part of your life – know that people have successful businesses around this. You can, too if you want to. Enjoy the process of building your dream – you’ll give birth to more dreams as you go along.
I don’t write all day long, every day. I don’t think I could. Where would I get inspiration for my writing if I lived in a hole? I mother my children, I have a relationship with my husband, I talk to my relatives and friends, I go to yoga classes, I cook and clean, I watch movies, I carpool, I read, I see clients for speech therapy. While I agree, it’s a pretty awesome existence, not all of those things are necessarily my idea of mind-blowing passion (cleaning!?). But I enjoy those things a lot more than I ever have because of the giddiness I feel from having a creative outlet. Even laundry is not such a downer when I get to practice my toe squats (yoga – a growing passion) while folding clothes on the floor. A spontaneous child’s pose in the middle of folding an endless pile of towels is just awesome. Handling a toddler tantrum is not as bad as it used to be when my entire life was one big tantrum! Now I know that outside of this moment of screams and “No!”s I have so many moments to write to you, dear Readers. That energy and excitement I feel in my creative moments totally spill over on to the other areas of my life and gives them a huge boost. I have way more compassion and patience for the things I used to consider infuriating. I’m still human, mind you, but a happier human than I used to be.
So, is it feasible to live passionately? If you had asked me 10 years ago I would have said NO. If you ask me now, I will honestly tell you, my life would not be as exciting, fulfilling, and full of hope even in the simple acts of doing the dishes, or folding that never-ending pile of laundry.