I’m sick of them. The cute little quotes on Pinterest, telling us to just ‘find something we’re passionate about’, and the MONEY, GLORY and FAME will follow. (Caps for maximum effect, kids)
That the only way to contribute something meaningful to the world is that if you follow something you’re deeply, honestly, would-give-up-the-last-bucket-of-Messina-for, in love with. That running after what sets your soul on fire is a most excellent idea, and it’s only for the brave. The bold. The fearless. Those who will change the world.
Ugh. It’s a really beautiful, romantic notion, I’ll give you that. But romance mostly belongs on the set of the next Nicholas Sparks was-a-novel-now-we’re-putting-it-on-the-big-screen-starring-Ryan-Gosling movie, and cold hard fact is that the reality of finding a passion and following it into lifetime success is about as rare as snagging The Gos for real.
It’s sweet, albeit naive advice. And this is why…
1. Because the truth is, very few of us ever really have just one the ‘passion’ for our whole life.
Oh, don’t you very even dare try and pretend you don’t have a hideous ‘I used to be a stamp collector/president of a knitting club/owner of a scrapbooking collection’ story in your closet. LIES. We all went through a ‘seriously, I actually liked doing that’ phase, and if we all followed the very first passion that ever crossed our ridiculous teenage minds, most of us would be indulging in something horrendous that most likely involves far too much glitter. Things change, life gets busy, priorities shift.
Most successful people have many passions. And, much like people, they float in and out of your life, when and where they’re needed. I’m like that with writing. I’ve always loved it, but I don’t always need it. Somedays, I have oh so many words. #AllTheWords. And the very best thing I can do with them is to find a blank canvas and spread ’em around like butter on hot toast. And then other times, I don’t need them. I’ve literally gone years without so much as putting pen to paper (uh, maybe ‘fingers to keyboard’ is more appropriate to life in 2015 – but it’s lacking the same je ne sais quoi, you know?), and what’s more, I just haven’t felt the need to write anything. If I’d followed my writing passion, heck, if I relied on it to put shoes on my feet, it would have been a mighty tough slog to keep the glitter going during the ‘meh’ years…
2. It is a far better thing, to be acutely aware that one has no true passion, than to be slavishly following the notion of a false one.
Oh those bloody Pinterest quotes. They’re even starting to infiltrate Instagram. So many people are obsessed with finding their passion and making it happen, that they’re fan-girling after latest trendy fad like One Direction fans.
I’ve watched them, with fascination via social media, and oh dear lord there’s been some car crash passions.
Candle making. Personal trainers. Personalised, crafty crap with your kids names on them. Spray tanning. Photography. Those not-a-pyramid-scheme-thingo-they-just-look-remarkably-like-a-pyramid-scheme plans that sell cosmetics/weight loss products/tupperware/clothing/children.
There are people who literally have a new passion every bloody week, forever chasing down the illusive dream of having something that makes them jump outta bed in the morning
But much like a bad relationship, a mismatched passion is a doomed venture. Fake it until you make it rarely works for anything in life, and seriously, aren’t we old enough to know better?
3. When people start paying you to do something, the gloss stops shining.
It’s such a wonderful notion. The idea that someone will pay you to do something that you actually love doing anyway. Wheee! Sign me up and send me off to a life full of glitter and sparkles and sunshine. Cue the overuse of #blessed across all of my social channels as I skip into the sunset, pitying all those slaving away at a desk in a job that they just ‘tolerate’.
But it’s complete b/s. And hey, let me be a warning to y’all. I’ve been there.
I loved photography. Heck, I even had a decent eye for it. It started slowly, a few family pics here, a couple of events there, and before I knew what the hell was going on, I had a website and business cards and I was a legit, for real, photographer. Somehow, I found myself at the very real intersection of ‘Probs Gonna Need To Quit My Full Time Job Because This Is Actually Becoming A Full Time Job’.
And so I closed my photography business. *cue screeches of indignant outrage from go getters everywhere* Because the reality of the situation is that between the editing and the phone calls and the emails and the quotes and the follow up; the beautiful sparkly joy I got from being behind the lens was very quickly being eroded away.
I still love photography. But I didn’t love being a full time photographer.
So if I don’t believe in the romance of passion-following, then what do I believe in? I think that Roxette had it right all along. Just listen to your heart.
But here’s the key part. Don’t stop, once it’s told you to do something. Because much like Hollywood heart throbs, what sets your world on fire at 20, just ain’t gonna cut the mustard at 30. Like our sense of style and preferred drink from the bar, finding our passion is something that’s just gonna keep on evolving as we get that little bit older and wiser.
So every once in awhile, when you get that ‘hey girl, I think this is what we should be doing, orrright?’ feeling, don’t write it off. Plot the course and set sail. New adventures await. And new adventures are always a most excellent idea.