Recently, Randy and I had lunch with a friend. In the course of the conversation, he asked us “How do you keep passionate about your passions?”
It was a great question, and one that we all knew he was struggling with. He’s a writer who isn’t writing what he wants to be writing.
Nothing kills passion more than feeling stuck doing something you know you weren’t meant to be doing.
When I was in college, I started as a graphic design major. It was a fairly obvious choice, since drawing and painting came naturally to me.
There were still challenges to it, despite the easiness of it for me: What to draw? What to paint? Is it finished? What more does it need? Am I telling the right story? Using the right perspective?
What I didn’t expect was that my biggest challenge would be a professor who ended up being a catalyst for my art derailment.
It’s a long story, that I won’t bore you with (for now; however, it’s a good ‘cautionary tale’, that teachers/parents/bosses etc need to hear and always keep in mind) but suffice it to say: I graduated with a degree in Elementary Education.
Thus began many years of struggling. Struggling to fit into something I wasn’t. Struggling to stifle my creativity in order to not hate myself for abandoning my dreams.
I intentionally avoided anything related to art for a time, because it was too painful. Too aware, was I, that I wasn’t doing what I knew I should be doing.
I believe that it is this very thing that makes frustrated creatives go insane. The death of a dream. Or a passion.
While I found enjoyment in many of the jobs I had in the meantime, I wasn’t satisfied by being good at doing something I didn’t want to be doing.
After my oldest child was born and I became a “stay-at-home” mom, I allowed myself to consider expressing my creativity. I tried quilting, knitting, hand-crafted wedding invitations.
But it was my daughter’s own passion for drawing which allowed me to finally return to my core.
I didn’t have to worry about her rejection. She just wanted to draw with me. And we drew. And drew. And colored. And created amazing play-doh figures. And drew… Until one day, that spark caught fire and the passion returned.
It was not enough to just be breathing and surviving (although: thank you, LORD, for that!!)… I had become good at too many things that meant nothing to me, at the expense of the things that DO.
All of us have a passion somewhere. If you haven’t found it, trust me, there is one in there somewhere screaming to get out. You are just too busy doing other things to listen to it.
Think of the stories that haven’t been told. The paintings that haven’t been painted. The recipes that no one has tasted. The songs that haven’t been heard. The technology that hasn’t been developed. Simply because passions have been tempered and neglected.
Find the time to nurture your passion. MAKE the time. Insist on the time. (And don’t give me this “I’m-too-old-and-set-in-my-ways” crap! If you are still breathing, you still have a purpose.)
The world will thank you for it.