Do what you love and love what you do. I’ve heard this simple phrase so many times, but lately it has been making me question whether or not I actually “walk the walk” when it comes to carrying out and “wearing” my passions in my daily life. Maybe you have thought about this, too? Are we participating in activities that energize and excite us? Or, are we walking down a runway that appears to be safe and stable, yet we are stumbling as we attempt to stay in a straight line? When I thought about these questions, the answers made me realize that some of my focuses need to shift.
Photo by Studio Eiler @studioeiler
“Passion” seems to be such a loaded word when it comes to finding what drives us, but it really doesn’t need to be when we think about how it relates to our daily lives. I reflected on my younger self and how if there was something that brought on excitement or interest, I did it. If I wanted to sit on my front porch and analyze song lyrics, I did it. If I wanted to enroll in an extra band class in school in place of a more practical academic course, I did it. I stopped playing soccer after 12 years because it no longer brought me joy, and while this choice caused some tears, I made the decision without worrying about what others thought, or about the time that I had already invested over the years. There was no analyzing whether or not any of these choices were the best uses of my time, and there was no comparing myself to what others were doing; I simply did what I enjoyed and I made the decisions to change parts of my life that I did not enjoy. So why is it so difficult for me as an adult to invest time in things that I enjoy and that I love?
Awaken Your Inner Passionista
Have you ever said to yourself, “I need to find my passion and do it more often” at some point in your life? I have said this so many times. The more I continued to say these words to myself however, the more I realized that there are a couple of things wrong with this statement. The first mistake is that there should be an ‘s’ at the end of the word “passion.” We don’t have just one passion in our lives, we have many. Some might be stronger than others, and those might be the ones we wish to invest more of our time in growing, but our lives are full of passions that we might not even realize are passions yet!
Which brings me to the second thing wrong with this statement: You don’t necessarily need to find your passions, because you most likely already have an idea of what they are, but might not think of them as passions. I realized that my passions are surrounding me every day and I am choosing to ignore them. Why? Maybe a part of me doesn’t feel like these passions are a “good use of my time.” Or, maybe I feel that they are not taking me in a particular direction. What direction you ask? I have no idea. A direction that leads to a “practical” destination that I honestly can’t even visualize, but somehow I know that doing “that thing” will never get me there, so why do it? Another part of me is comparing myself to others, thinking that how they are spending their time is more practical than how I am spending my time.
(Insert sigh of frustration)
If my younger self could see me struggling back and forth with these dilemmas and comparisons, she would be a combination of confused and frustrated. That girl would never think to stop doing something that she loved just because it didn’t appear to be moving her in a particular direction, or to be a good way to spend her time. She would do it without thinking because it made her happy. She would make it into something greater for her life. She would not judge herself or compare herself to others. She would embrace that passion and she would talk about it like it was gospel, because in her life that’s just what it would be. I know that I might sound like I am being harsh on myself, but I truly feel like this reality check needed to happen sooner than later, and I’m so glad that it did!
Puzzle Pieces of Passion
Passion is what makes up the pieces of your heart, and I am currently an adult putting those pieces of my young passionate heart back together so that I can wear it proudly on my sleeve. Your passions are the aspects of your life that you see value in putting time into, and that lead to excitement and sometimes inspiration. A passion is not necessarily something that you are doing every single day or that is making you money (although it certainly can lead to this if you take it to the next level). A passion is something that simply engages you and makes you feel like you are being true to yourself. When you are “wearing” your passions on the outside and showing the world what makes you who you are, you are your most fashionable self.
Some of these puzzle pieces are small, and some are big. To me, passion makes up your sense of self. It exhilarates your soul, but at the same time brings you peace of mind. Your passions might not necessarily relate or play off of each other, but what they have in common is you.
If you are “looking” for your passions, look towards your mind, soul and heart. What are you thinking about in your free time? What do you become excited to talk about or do? When you say, “I can’t wait to have time to _______,” what is the root of that blank? Pay attention to the shows you’re watching or the podcasts you’re spending your time listening to, or the books you’re reading; there are hidden pieces to your “passion puzzle” that are just waiting to be discovered and put together. Be mindful during small moments of your days and your conversations. Your passions could range from certain aspects of your career, to writing poems or music in your spare time, to finding new ways to improve your health and stay active, or even conversations over chips and salsa.
Hold up. Are you thinking, “did I just read the words ‘chips and salsa’ and ‘passions’ in the same sentence?”
Yes you did. Seriously, this was one of the things that I wrote down when I was brainstorming my own passions for this post. I could literally sit all day and eat chips and salsa. So, then I stepped back and thought about why I love eating chips and salsa so much. What I discovered was pretty amazing. Of course I love the spicy taste of the salsa and the delicious crunch of the chips, but when I visualized myself eating chips and salsa, I realized that there was always someone with me: my mom, my husband Chuck, or one of my friends. I was never alone. I realized that what I really value out of eating chips and salsa is the long, meaningful conversations with the people I am with, and building relationships with others. By listing out what seems like a simple recreational activity that I enjoy doing and then really digging deeper into it, I found a passion for conversation and company that I can “wear” in other areas of my life.
Okay this might seem like a really weird example, but I challenge you to try this activity! List out some things in your life that you absolutely LOVE to do, and then ask yourself why you love doing each activity. Get to the root of what about it you are really interested in, and why it makes you feel the way it does when you are engaged. Do you watch HGTV religiously? Maybe you have a hidden passion for interior design, or you see yourself flipping a house one day. It’s possible, and I have a close friend doing it right now, totally self taught!
When you take time to do what you love, you radiate a sense of self, and uniqueness is always in style.
We are a very visual society. While we put emphasis on who individuals are on the inside, it’s still a known fact that we also place a lot of attention on what’s on the outside. I want to present this “outside view” in a different way. I strongly feel that what is projected from the inside through our personality and our mood should be a part of that outside appearance, and at the root of this outside “look” are our passions. When you are doing what you love and putting your time into something that is of value to you, you are giving off an energy that is unique to you and your attitude towards life. Everyone’s “passion fashion” looks a little different, but your passions are really the best pieces of “clothing” that you can wear!
“I have nothing to wear!” -every single person at some point in their life
I’m going to be realistic here and say that some days or even seasons of our lives are going to be less fashionable than others when it comes to our passions. We are all going to go through times when certain parts of our lives take priority, and that’s okay. Sometimes following our greater passions even take us down a less glamorous path that we didn’t expect and might not enjoy. These are the days when we might feel like, “we have nothing to wear” when it comes to being a passionista, and we might even question our passions. The important thing to remember is to keep walking and continue to embrace the passions in your life that are meaningful and make up your unique self. No matter what your runway may look like at the time, never stop thinking about what engages you, what sparks your creativity, and what you value most. Continue to walk while sprinkling in small pieces of passion in your daily life, even when life gets crazy. Just like fashion, your passions can evolve with the times instead of going out of style completely =)
Walk Your Own Runway
Once you put the pieces of your passions together – whether they are subtly hidden in the ways you spend your time or they are screaming at you in bold rainbow colors – wear them! Walk your life’s runway wearing your passions with confidence every day. Participate in your passions with passion. Appreciate how they contribute to your unique self. Embrace your smaller passions, whether that involves curling up in bed with a hot chocolate and a good book, or talking over chips and salsa with your closest friends and family. Celebrate your bigger, undeniable passions, whether they align with your career, or they take you on another path towards a hobby that you wish to grow into something greater. Recognize these joyful moments and invest your time and energy into evolving them into bigger pieces of your life. Your passions are all around you, and life is too short and unpredictable not to participate in these moments and create a life that you are engaged in and absolutely love.
Now go rock that runway, passionista!!
Wishing you zest & light,