Re-Run: The Feasibility Of Living Your Passion

Here’s an oldie but goodie while I’m having a little “spring” break in the midst of a snowstorm with  my family!  I’ll be back to original posts on Monday and will reply to the wonderful comments I received on this week’s posts then.  Happy Friday!

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“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?

Consider weighing out the feasibility of adding passion to your 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.

 

4 thoughts on “Re-Run: The Feasibility Of Living Your Passion

  1. Hello Taslim,
    The one I run into all the time is ‘I am too old and now it is time for my kids to follow their passion’. Of course I am talking about the growing sector of our population – the seniors, like myself.
    Best,
    dad

    1. Abdul,

      How do we older folks look at what drives us? How can we continue to find the passion in those things which we truly love to do?

      When we encounter the “I’m too old” comments from our friends, what can we say or show which might rekindle their spirit?

      There are many of us “middle agers” who have lost the passions of our youth and look at everything as if limitations control our destiny. That really bums me out.

      In my mirror I see a man too old for nearly everything he has ever wanted to do, and my muscles often agree. Yet I have another man standing behind him who is constantly egging him on. He’s a lot younger and kind of familiar, but not quite as honest about what can still be done with fire and a sense of abandon.

      What is your personal passion?

  2. Allow me to respond to you Abdul. I am 60. I have two children who are 37 and 39. I finished my first novel, Rose’s Will, at 59. It was accepted and published after sending my manuscript out only TWO times and it currently has 22 five-star reviews on Amazon.

    I have a friend who is 82, pecking out her memoirs on a laptop after almost dying from a bacterial infection. She says, “I know what too late is. So far, this isn’t it.”

  3. There’s a funny thing about following one’s passion which is rarely discussed, and that thing would be knowing what one’s true passion is.

    Many people mention their passion in life; art, skiing, collecting, whatever, but then they talk about everything else in their life with much more noticeable enthusiasm, as if their “passion” is a secondary concern or an afterthought of some kind. What’s more, and this comes from a lifetime of observing people as one of my great passions, few people today are very passionate about anything.

    If you get excited about motorcycles and dream of owning one but never have, it really isn’t a passion. We find ways to disrupt our lives for any number of foolish, unnecessary pursuits without so much as a why or wherefore, yet complain that we have no time, no money or no energy for our true passion in life. I simply can’t agree with that way of thinking.

    My life has been an absurd collection of menial jobs, broken relationships and most generally a chaotic nightmare by many peoples’ standards, but I have always found a way to follow my passions throughout, admittedly quite often to my detriment.

    When I was into motorcycling, I lived it 24/7 and 365. I rode year round in any kind of weather for any reason or for no reason at all. For several years I wore three pairs of blue jeans, one full set of riding leathers and an assortment of gloves. At no point did I think of it as a passion because it was my life; and that’s what living your passion is all about.

    As a photographer, I have never left the house without a camera for over 40 years. I don’t even know how many cameras I currently own, but it’s a lot. (and after 5 years of shooting digital, I despise nearly everything about it, still preferring a film camera in any situation) I have forgotten more details about the world of photography than most people will ever know. Despite any other person or distraction in my life, I have always loved the process of capturing an image; any image.

    Another passion in my life has been collecting. I don’t mean eBaying or some other form of reselling, but true, honest to goodness collecting. I have a collection of collections. It is enticing, exciting, sometimes exhausting and almost always fulfilling. The hunt, the research, the great deal, or the one that got away; it’s all about the passion.

    When a person tells me that they are passionate about something, I generally ask questions. Within seconds I can tell if it is really a passion or more likely a distraction. People become “involved” in something as an escape, or as a way of moving through some situation, and that new involvement begins to look like a passion, but it isn’t.

    If you feel compelled to paint, don’t let a chance go by when you aren’t painting something.

    If you think that music is your passion, don’t let a day pass without making your music a part of that day.

    If it’s photography, writing, gardening, knitting or whatever; do it to the fullest of your ability, and then do it some more and better than before.

    No bridle fits over a passionate heart. No chain binds hands driven by passion. No excuse quite subdues a passion that burns inside.

    And if the passion wanes, respect the nature of it and look back on the accomplishments that it produced. No one is really judging it, or you, unless you let them. We are our own worst critics and most unforgiving judges.

    Desires seed the acts of a passionate heart. Follow those desires. A dreary world is awaiting your contributions.

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