We all know the classic narrative: a disenfranchised young person encounters something in their formative years that puts a fire in their belly. For some people, it was the first time they tossed that perfect, tight spiraled pass. For others, it was an engaging and inspiring high school Algebra teacher. For many of my close friends, it was the first time that they experienced the transcendent, human connection that theaters keep tucked away behind the red curtain.
But that narrative is told by those who are firm in their passion, often looking back at their virgin flirtations with it through rose-tinted glasses. What about the vast number of people who don’t know what they’re passionate about? What about the people who think that they might’ve found their passion but are unsure because they never had that singular ‘eye opening’ moment where everything just clicked? In my experience, there are few key things about passions that are overlooked: Finding it can be a battle, your story likely won’t sound like the MSNBC Sunday Morning Interview your grandmother sent you (and that’s okay), it doesn’t have to be the backbone of your financial plan, you can find a passion regardless of how old you are, there is a passion for everyone.
What is a Passion?
Finding your passion can be a perilous journey, the path fraught with doubt. In order to find that special thing that gets you out of bed in the morning, we should probably have a clear definition of what it is. Your passion doesn’t have to be lucrative or even widely coveted. For some people, it comes in the form of hobbies (fishing, model boats, starting a blog). For other people, it can be building a family. It is entirely subjective. Of course there are passions out there that compliment a specific career path (acting, mathematics, teaching), but your passion and your career don’t have to walk hand in hand. All that matters is that YOU find meaning in it.
How Do I Find Mine?
I firmly believe that there is a passion out there for everyone. There are a myriad of things to try your hand at and one of them is bound to be exciting. However, the only way to find it is to take a step or two outside of your comfort zone. You’ll never find buried treasure if you don’t dig a little bit. Often, it won’t just fall into your lap. Go searching! Join a club that sounds interesting. Browse topics that turn your head on YouTube. Talk with someone else about the things that they love. If something peaks your interest but doesn’t ‘blow you away’ when you first try it, don’t write it off. My passion is storytelling. When I first encountered it in the form of a community theater my mother encouraged me to audition at, I enjoyed it, but on opening night no trumpets blared, the heavens didn’t open up. It wasn’t until I explored storytelling further that I realized it’s indispensable value. Get out and try things. Be open to what is new.
I’ve Found an Interest, How Do I Chase It?
Often times, students in high school feel pressured to know what they love when senior year rolls around. College applications are looming. Everybody and their grandmother is drilling you on what it is that you’d like to study. Remember (and I cannot stress this enough), it’s okay to go to college undecided. It’s okay to take a gap year. Also, as I touched on earlier, it’s okay if your career and your passion don’t line up. There can be a good deal of self doubt and second guessing that occurs in chasing a passion, especially if it is something you’d like to pursue as a career. When I was applying for college, I knew that I wanted to tell stories. I had already encountered storytelling in theater but I also found a similar love in writing for my school’s newspaper. I went back and forth for what felt like an eternity when faced with the question: should I major in Journalism or Acting? I chose acting because I felt a stronger connection to that storytelling medium. There can be a great deal of second guessing because, believe it or not, chasing a passion is scary. Sometimes the choice to follow a passion has major implications on the rest of our lives. Other times, it brings up questions like “What if I fail and I’m back at square one?” If you’ve felt like this, I think that means you’re on the right track. Anything worth doing is daunting at first. It requires work and some degree of sacrifice. If you encounter uncomfortable feelings about getting started, let that hearten you.
So what are you passionate about? Go out and find it. Make it yours! Do you have a story about the first time you found something that you loved to do? Comment it below. If you think this post could help someone else on their journey, feel free to share it with them. If you enjoyed the post or got something out of it, consider following the blog to keep up to date on new content. Thanks for stopping by!