Everyone needs something in life to be passionate about. And I don’t mean shopping, chocolate. your work or your kids. I mean something that stirs the spirit and is for you and only you. Something that marks your place in the world, gives you the feeling that you finally fit.
A neighbour told me she was embarrassed to say she didn’t have a passion, that she was almost 50 and hadn’t found one yet. But we all have something that moves us more than anything else, even if we haven’t recognized it as our passion yet. You can’t look to others to help you find it either. I can’t understand my husband’s love of flying and he can’t understand my love of writing. We may admire it and encourage it – but I have no desire to fly anywhere unless it lands me on a beach, and he doesn’t much like to read let alone write.
For many years, my husband Will dreamt about owning his own airplane. Sure you can rent one and fly around, but that hobby makes a season of golf look like cheap entertainment. He worked on me seriously for about 5 years to buy his own plane, which I thought was crazy – who buys a plane? Let me rephrase that – who in our tax bracket buys a plane? But after many years of trying to work out a plan, Will bought a plane this spring with six other men. Nothing fancy, a Cessna. I think it’s a ’86, which isn’t that old in terms of planes I guess, and it’s the same age as my oldest daughter and she’s holding up great. And after all the arguments about the logistics and financial aspects, after the years of him wanting and me not understanding, he has his plane and I finally get it – he now gets to feed his passion.
Yesterday he went for a flight after work and flew over the house, did a couple of roundabouts while the kids and I ran out and did cartwheels on the front lawn in order to say hello to him flying overhead. He was thrilled and our level of contribution consisted of nothing more than a little gymnastics and an exuberant wave from the ground.
My point is, Will has something just for him now. His happiness with flying doesn’t depend on me or anyone else. He can rely on his passion to bring him happiness, peace, comfort, satisfaction. All the same things that writing does for me. And I can’t imagine not being able to write. If we’ve done things right, our children will leave us to make healthy happy families of their own. We can’t depend on them to make us happy (just ask anyone with a teenager). It isn’t fair to put the burden of “complete me” onto a spouse either, because at the end of the day we need to know if all else fails there’s something that will sustain our inner selves. Bring us back from the damaged places, shed some light on the dark parts, and bring us joy when all else fails. Our very own piece of heaven, our passion.
The thing you need to remember about passion is it’s completely different from commercial success. What seems to hold people back is this notion that you have to do something and get somewhere with its success. But that isn’t true. It’s enough to love basketball, play basketball, read about basketball, watch basketball – you don’t have to be a NBA player in order for the game to be your passion. In order for it to be what fills you.
If you haven’t found your passion yet, don’t despair. It’s easier than you think to find it. Just answer the rest of this sentence: I’ve always wanted to… or I wish I could…
The answer is right there in you. Maybe you’ve always wanted to try but were afraid to go out on that limb. Just go for it. On the very top of the highest branch is where you’ll find it. Don’t be afraid to reach.