I had yet another conversation this weekend that dealt with having passion for something, where I told the other person that I wasn’t particularly passionate about any one specific thing, which was clearly off-putting to the other person.
It’s weird how we are all driven by the idea that each one of us needs to have that one driving — excuse the repetition — passion that we live by, so much so that when someone asserts that they don’t have one, we need to assure them they can look forward to finding something in the future or just plain old feel weirded out by it.
I suppose if I do a lot of soul-searching, I do have things I’m intensely passionate about; they are simply not things that other people generally put the tag of passion on.
I’m passionate about living a life without regrets. This doesn’t mean that I don’t in fact have any regrets. It’s just that I think self-reflection and learning through mistakes is important, but there is no point in kicking yourself just to kick yourself. And if you think you are going to kick yourself about it, then do something different. I don’t want to look back on my life when I’m on my deathbed and be filled with more “what ifs” than happy memories.
I’m passionate about protecting my family & loved ones. I want them to be well-cared for and be able to self-actualize.
I’m passionate about enjoying the everyday and not letting good things go undetected on my radar just because I’m in a holding pattern waiting for something bigger. For the love of God, just enjoy the warm breeze across your cheek, the hug of a loved one, the job that keeps great food on the table, a good hair day, whatever it is that you think is too cheesy or beneath you or too fleeting to value. It’s not senseless optimism and it’s not pretending bad things don’t exist; it’s acknowledging and valuing the honest-to-goodness great things in your life along with the bad, instead of artificially focussing on the bad only. I’m guilty of selectively focussing on bad things too, but in general, I try not to let those things rule my life.
As a corollary to the above things, I am passionate about talking things out with my friends and family with the hope that they too will live a life with no regrets and filled with everyday joys. I think I kind of suck at this, actually, but hope to be better.
I think when I say I’m not passionate about any one thing, I mean that I’m not interested in developing skill X to a professional/lucrative/peer-acknowledged level. I’m not interested in being a great writer. I’m not interested in being a great painter. I’m not interested in being a great teacher, doctor, lawyer, etc. Well, it’s not to say I’m not interested in these things; I’m simply not so passionate about them that I’m willing to make them the single focal driving force of my life. Saying my passion is keeping my priorities in order sounds like it’s a judgment on others and their priorities, so that’s not the right way to put it. It’s more that my priorities are more focussed on love & relationships, and people (including me) are not generally used to thinking of this sort of thing as a driving passion.
I suppose also that I’m passionate about “making the world a better place”, but I understand a lot of my personal limitations. I admire other people who go out and do things that I don’t (or haven’t done in a long time), whether it is helping the homeless, volunteering at an orphanage, working for a political movement, etc., but I don’t necessarily think that my best skills lie in those arenas. I do hope to be more involved in these things somehow though. I also hope that when I am older, I can somehow be involved in helping younger people shape their lives & goals, but for now, being involved in my loved ones’ lives is what I’m passionate about.
ETA: I think a good summarization of my passions is to say I am like the Godfather. *tries & succeeds in not quoting obvious line* 😉