Flying high above the ocean, the wings pushing the sun farther and farther away. White clouds reaching for infinity and the horizon dividing blue layers into sky and water. I was searching for something that doesn’t exist and trying to run away from something that I can never get away from. Patronizing as it may sound, this is exactly what runs through my head everytime I travel, every time I find a new interest, every time I find something inspirational. Some people call it purpose, some people call it calling, I’d like to call it my thing(s).
So my thing(s) have changed over the course of time, there is no one such (my) thing and some people never find one. Not knowing your passions must be a terrifying thing to digest. It might mean you’re an empty shell of a human being with no prospect of ever escaping the flatline of commute-work-commute-die existence. Well, that’s total bullshit. Think about it,the moments in your life when you’ve felt completely yourself, happy and in flow. Would you consider all of them your passion? Hugging, making love, spreading happiness, performing your art, playing your sport, hanging out with besties? More or less?
“It’s messing people up, this social pressure to find your passion and know what it is you want to do. It’s perfectly fine to just live your moments fully, and marvel as many small and large passions, many small and large purposes enter and leave your life. For many people there is no realization, no bliss to follow, no discovery of your life’s purpose. This isn’t sad, it’s just the way things are,” says Sally Caulter. The internet is loaded with passion tests, articles on how to find your passion, quotes like ‘chase your passion’. No, I’m not saying don’t read them or listen to such words because those make perfect sense to the ones that have really found their passions. But what if you don’t know your true passion? What if your passion keeps changing?
I’ve been telling all my friends that my passion is to travel the world in the recent times and I probably have traveled 0.01% of the total landscape. Well, I’m happy when I travel and I love it but is it my true passion? Maybe. Should I chase it? Not really. I decided to chase my passion, I created the list of places I wanted to visit, list of things I wanted to do and then I hung them up on my wall. I broke them down into detailed actionable steps and made mini milestones. I had a plan of action. So excited, I was. But what happened thereafter, was slightly or rather totally unexpected.
I felt dejected, I felt lost. My first action that was a week later didn’t take place and with nothing more than an idea and some bullet points, my dream seemed so distant. I ran through my past thinking about all the times I had set goals just like this. Spent a day or two planning planning, just like this. For goals that I never reached. How depressing! Was this going to be another losing endeavor? I stopped to ponder on more questions. What is passion? What needs to be done to find your passion? After more digging, I realized that in general a person’s vision of passions that goes something like this: a passion is something out there to be found or something that everyone around you keeps talking about.
“Follow your passion and you’ll attain happiness,” they said. I started working backwards. I decided to list down all the things that ever made me happy. From people to materialistic objects, from memories to actions, I’d listed all of them down on a paper. Most of them were never my thing in my past or my present and I realized all of these didn’t define me while when they are summed; they create me. It’s time we stop the myth that I can’t find my passion. Our passions are not out there in the world to be found or stumbled across. They never have been.
As Marianne Cantwell stated rightly in her article WHY YOU CAN SAY F-YOU TO FINDING YOUR PASSIONS, “But don’t do something just because you say (in a passionless voice), I think that might be one of my passions.Do it because you CAN’T HELP IT. Because it’s going to be weighing on your mind forever and anything else would be a compromise. Sometimes, what makes you come alive is something softer maybe you love bringing people together, or you just spark during the process of doing something (like generating ideas), or you feel completely energised spreading the word about things you think are Really Important (like chocolate).”
Forget passions. They are overrated and they ain’t helping you out a bit. You are much more than something you are yet to find. Live the moment and do what you love doing and that which makes you happy.