We hear it all the time. We tell it to others when we're trying to be supportive. We post eloquent quotes about it on social media and act like we're ridiculously enlightened. Chase your passions!
But how many of us can say we are truly pursuing our passions in life? We like to talk about loving a job so much that it doesn't feel like work, and yet we complain every Monday about starting that miserable work week all over again. We tell our children to dream big dreams, and then we tell our young adults to pick a 'sensible' degree to find a job to pay the bills.
Understandably, our passions change as we grow older. I don't want to be a dinosaur anymore, I think I outgrew that one. I have come to terms with the idea that I'll never be an Olympic athlete. But there are still so many passions inside me that have been buried and walled off over the years.
Fear keeps us paralyzed. It stops us from pursuing those passions, because, deep down, we fear being rejected. We fear being humiliated. We fear failing in those passions. And, often, we fear achieving those passions. We so often live our lives plagued by this fear, and bury our passions so that we can stay safe and comfortable.
I'm happy to open up about my hardships and failures at this point in my life. Not as a matter of complaint, but as the lesson I've begun to learn. I've lived most of my 2017 without passion. (Hell, much of my 2016, too.) I focused on practical. On what I have, how much I make, and whether I'm pleasing others. I stayed closed-off and shut-down. And I think it showed.
And for me, a funny thing happened when it felt like I was bottoming out: I really began to lose that fear. Chasing my passion is no longer scary when I can't fear failure. If I feel like I'm already failing.
But you shouldn't have to fall into those dark places to get there. Start pursuing even one passion, and watch your life begin to improve. Stop going through the motions, and start living now. We always want to wait until a comfortable or convenient time to do so, and when that time never comes, we end up filled with regrets. Take the first step. The change that comes with doing something you love will propel you on to the next step. And the next.
My change is happening now. I'm making more art, no longer because I feel like I should, but because I want to. I'm diving deeper into my health, both physically and mentally, more than I ever really have before. I'm digging into what I want academically, professionally, and personally. I'm making time to see the people who matter to me, to travel to the places I want to see, and to do the activities I enjoy.
It won't all be success, and that's fine. We can't win all the time. But I will be focusing on the things that truly motivate and inspire me, and that's what matters.
I'm not going to be a full-time artist. But I'm going to grow this side project and see how much of an impact I can make with it. I may decide not to go all the way for that PhD I've always wanted, but I will damn sure be getting that Master's. I may not get to visit every country, but I'm going to see as many as I can in the time I have. Work will always be work, but I intend to use my work to better people's lives and change the world. I will not be perfect, but I will always strive to be better every day. And I have no clue exactly where this blog will lead me, but I have an idea and I want to play it out.
So chase your passions, friends. Not tomorrow, not next week, not next year. Today. Right now.
Follow along here with me, if it helps. Through this literary journey, I intend to wind my path through my passions of art and science, conservation and the brain, mental health and motivation. And if you need a little help along the way, reach out to me. One of my passions has always been helping to lift others up.
Let's take this road together. The chase is on!