The Price of One Passion
Updated: Jan 21, 2021
Since we were little, we've been hearing the same question: "What do you want to be when you grow up?" - and yes, while many of us are adults, maybe even into later adulthood, we may still be asking ourselves this question. When we were little, common answers included things like "doctor", "ballerina", or "firefighter". As we got older, they may have shifted towards "teacher", "restaurant-owner", or "therapist". And, in later years, maybe they've transformed into "grandma", "food bank volunteer", or "caregiver".
Whenever our parents or teachers began asking us this question, there's one thing they didn't tell us: you don't have to have just one passion. We go through elementary school, high school, and sometimes college, looking towards one activity, one profession, one thing that lights us up, one thing we can pursue for the rest of our lives. For those who are religious, we have also been brought up with this sense of finding our "one purpose". The one reason we were given this life, the one mission we are seeking to fulfill.
But, what's wrong with this mentality? For one, we are not stagnant beings. We are ever-changing, which means our interests and passions change over time. It is simply not in our nature to focus solely on one activity, hobby, or practice for our entire lives. That's not to say that some people don't put most of their energy into one passion, but it is to say that it is more than okay - no, encouraged - for you not to limit yourself to just one passion.
What if you stuck to wanting to be a lawyer which you declared in the 4th grade? Would you have tried anything else? Would you have dipped your toe in other fields to feel them out? Would you be the person you are right at this moment? If you stuck to one path your whole life, you may have never met your best friend John working at the pizza shop, or realize you really love working on old cars with your dad, or figure out that coaching a team is what really ignites a flame under you.
We did it in school - we tried out ballet, soccer, and karate and realized what areas we gravitated towards more. Why don't we do that as we get older? We've all had jobs we didn't like, and subjects in school we couldn't stand, but why don't we continue that exploration throughout our lives? Why must we limit ourselves to working in one field for the next 40 years, and continuing the same hobbies we've done since we were 17? Why don't we get out of our comfort zone, and try new things, go to new places, meet new people, until we find the things that literally set our souls on fire?
This is an ever-changing thing, year after year. We may love pilates one year, and never want to do it again the next. We may teach a preschool class for 15 years and wake up one morning and decide this isn't for me anymore. Our passions can and should change with us. And another thing, if you haven't found even one passion yet, that's okay. With more exploration and more trial and error, you will find things that bring meaning and value to your life, you just have to seek them out.
We are all going to be so many things in our lives. A daughter, a mother, a friend...an intern, a marketing analyst, a cashier at the bagel shop down the street...a hiker, a baseball player, a blogger. We are made up of so many interests, so many experiences, but these do not define who we are. Let me say that again - our experiences shape us, but they do not define us. There is no one passion that makes us, us. So search for those things that feed your soul, but know that it's not about finding your one purpose or passion, it's about finding yourself along the way.
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