You name just about any self-help guru and I have probably read them. Actually, more than I can even remember.
I have gone this way and that, always looking for what I was “meant to do.” It wasn’t until a few years back I was talking with a friend about this topic.
Passion is not the only road…
He suggested I take a look at what I have done during my (at that time) 50+ years on this planet. “Add it all up and see what comes out on top,” he said. I thought that was a fairly simplistic view of a life and a mission. At the time I considered it a waste of time.
If I hadn’t found my passion by now, how would I find it by going over what I had already done? It seemed a useless task.
Never-the-less I gave it a try. I made a list of a few dozen meaningful things I had done. We will only be talking, here, about things we do that round out our lives. Not the jobs. Not the family (although I have been blessed with 2 great sons!). What I am writing about is the things we do throughout our lives seemingly without knowing we are doing them. Some would call them hobbies. Some say it’s about things we will do when we “grow up.” It could be the source of the light at the end of the tunnel.
I would like to add it’s about going deep into something that gives us satisfaction and a deep appreciation for finding this gem. It is the inner light that serves to keep us moving along life’s path.
Here’s what I came up with after searching my archives, my sometimes faulty memory, and journals:
• Bottle/Coin Collecting
• Antique Furniture
Is that enough?
I hope so!
I went over the list with my friend and he asked me questions about each, when the final question made me stop and think.
I had my answer!
“Of this list which ones have you been doing consistently without much thought or effort,” he asked. It took a few moments but when I realized the answer… I had my answer.
“That’s easy,” I said. “It’s a no brainer… photography and writing.” Imagine going through a life without much direction only to discover that you already found your “passion.”
I had never had a singular passion. What I did have, however, was curiosity and creativity. That was and is what drives me. It seems as though every part of my life has involved either or both of those activities.
As we know, many books have been written about the search for passion. Each one of them offers similar techniques and guidelines. There have been movies. Songs. Lectures. College courses.
My most compelling discovery came when I realized it wasn’t about one specific thing. It was actually a compilation of several things:
• A desire to share my knowledge
• Create a life of contribution
• Build rewarding relationships though creativity
• Continue to live a life of curiosity
Without even realizing it at the time my friend and I were talking, sharing lunch while building a house, our discussion set the course for the rest of my life. Most of that has involved either writing or photography, or a combination of both.
I never saw him again, but I have been blessed and for that I am continually grateful.