Following Your Passion

For our purposes, passion will be defined as any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling, an intense drive or conviction.  Your passion is energy that motivates you to take action.  Life is dynamic, and our interests can change.  Therefore, your passions will evolve, so be open to new activities and enjoy the journey.

Your passion lives within your heart, not your mind.  It’s like a pilot light within you.  For some of you, your pilot light may have never been lit.  For others, it may just need to be re-ignited.  If yours has remained lit from the start, you are one of the very fortunate few.  Listen to your intuition, your internal guidance system, your personal GPS.

One of my favorite quotes comes to mind.  “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breaths away.”

When seeking to discover your passions, notice any themes or patterns in your life.  For example, if you looked at my book collection, you’d find a lot of historical non-fiction and fiction books.  On my desk, you would find a variety of stationery, especially interesting note cards, colorful pens, and adult coloring books.  What are your natural talents?  What do you gravitate toward?  Notice what you’re doing when you lose track of time or hate to stop what you’re doing.  Think about what brings you joy and fulfillment.  When you first wake up each morning, what excites you?  I’m not talking about the fact that you’re still breathing.

Being too “in your comfort zone” stifles your creativity.  Consider what you loved to do as a child?  If you had financial independence and security, how would you spend your time?   If you haven’t discovered your passion, what are you afraid of?  Failure, what others might think, technology, etc.  What’s distracting you from your pursuit? Your job, your family, your health, various obligations, etc.  Avoid the land of “Yeah, but…”  I want to paint, but I don’t have the time or room in my house.  I want to play an instrument, but I have arthritis and I don’t know how to read music.  It’s never too late to learn and to adapt as needed.

After thirty-five years, I retired from teaching in June, 2011.  Then I worked for a software company for almost four more years.  It wasn’t until I was no longer a paid employee that I began to make time for myself and pursue one of my passions.  I’ve always enjoyed writing cards and letters, writing in a journal, and dabbling at poetry, especially Haiku.  A friend suggested I check out classes at our county’s senior center.  Initially, I resisted because I didn’t consider myself old.  However, I changed my tune when it was time to apply for Medicare.  I am a senior after all.

In the spring of 2016, I enrolled in “Writing Your Memoirs” at the Granville County Senior Center.  My instructor, Maxine Chauvaux, told me I had a real talent and asked why I wasn’t using it.  Mmmmmm, I wasn’t an English major.  I wasn’t formally trained as a writer.  I lacked confidence.  I just wrote for my own pleasure.  Who would want to read anything I wrote?

Maxine convinced me to attend a flash fiction workshop conducted by the Durham County and Orange County Writers’ Network.  Anne Anthony and Ron Jackson presented.  They directed the participants to write a story of exactly 25 words based on the color of a nail polish.  My color was “Sole Mate.”  They encouraged us to submit our stories to an on-line journal, Nailpolish Stories, A Tiny and Colorful Literary Journal.

I tweaked a couple stories over the next few days.  Then I thought why not submit.  It’s free.  What do I have to lose?  Much to my surprise, “Sole Mate” was accepted.  It was my first publication in July, 2016.

Here it is~

Frayed strap, broken heel,

scuffed leather; worn beyond repair.

Replicating life.  Slumped in her chair,

enveloped by her robe, clinging to memories.

One more dance.

 

Eventually, I realized that I could combine my love of nature and my interest in history and research with my passion for writing.  Although I write primarily poetry, I now write flash fiction, personal narratives, and creative non-fiction.  To date I’ve had 124 individual pieces published in 36 different journals and anthologies.

The more I read and write I realize that every reader brings his/her own experiences and has his/her own perspectives.  I like to create images open to each reader’s interpretation.  I’m still an educator at heart, so I hope my readers will learn something new when they read some of my writing.  Did you know that groundhogs can climb trees?

You might consider the process of discovering your passion as active meditation.  Don’t feel pressured to emerge yourself fully into one of your passions.  Gradually integrate it into your life.

It’s never too late to pursue a passion.  I began my writing journey at the age of 65.  You just have to be willing to invest some time, take a few risks, believe in yourself, and enjoy the journey.  Your passion will energize you.  Joy comes from consistency in doing what you love.  Building your life around what you love, such as one or more of your passions, is something you will never regret or forget.  Good luck with your endeavor to discover and to follow your passion(s).

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