I recently had a conversation with someone about passion and her concern that someone close to both of us wasn’t following their career passion.
It got me thinking about passion in one’s career and that maybe it’s at times an overhyped notion.
Why? Because can’t passion easily change when it comes to what you want to do with your life and career? I mean, at 18, I would have told you my passion in life was the news and to be the next Katie Couric. Then at 22 it would have been figuring out how to barely work but make enough money to travel. Follow that at 26 and I was so passionate about working my way up the marketing middle management ladder of an online travel agency that I thought I enjoyed 60 hour work weeks and navigating the world of office politics. At 29 I was burnt out on that and decided my passion was this blog and travel writing. At 30, I knew my passion was to work for myself. At 32, figuring out the necessary steps to balance a thriving freelance career and travel with impending motherhood (and no, not pregnant at the moment) has become a passion of mine. The only passion that has always been a constant in my life is writing. Has been since I was 7. But that doesn’t discount other passions in my life just because it happened to be the first.
So what has this career trajectory of passions taught me that my true passion is? Uh…? Good question. Quite a lot, it would seem.
Nowadays, I find my passion is to make my husband smile like he did after I baked cookies for the first time in 3 years (my 18 year old self would be so disappointed i caved on my silly “I won’t cook when I’m married” stance). My passion is making my husband smile…period. My passion is to be a good friend because I’m fortunate to have some pretty awesome ones. My passion is online marketing and the thrill I get from looking at reports (my 22-year-old self would be like “whaaat? Reports? Numbers? Boooring”). My passion is to cuddle my cats everyday cause oh how those little fur balls make me smile. My passion is writing and to sometime start that book that’s been toiling around in my head for years. (My 23 year old self attempted it but found more life experience was greatly needed.) My passion is to be a mother some day…soon, God willing (my 25 year old self would have insisted I wasn’t having children any earlier than 37)…and to still travel the world with kids in tow. My passion is to turn this blog into something fantastic. My passion is traveling to new places…but having my comfortable home to come back to that I now find I don’t want to be away from for more than a few weeks at a time (my 20-something year old self painfully yearned for a 1- or 2-year trip around the world).
Half of these passions didn’t exist in my life a decade ago. Over the years I’ve developed more and more professional passions and learning how to blend them with my personal passions has perhaps become my biggest passion at all.
I guess my point to all this is that…I was REALLY passionate about some things when I was 18…and 20…and 25…but I hadn’t experienced enough of the world and work environments and professions to truly say “this is my passion…forever”. Things change. Life changed. I changed. And what I was most passionate about in life gradually changed throughout my 20s. My guess is this happens to most people, leaving a helpless “oh crap. I don’t know what my passion is. I THOUGHT I did, maybe I don’t have a career passion” feeling. To which I say is actually over thinking the whole passion thing. Why can’t we have 10 different career passions if we so choose? And is leaving one behind or taking a break from it for awhile to pursue another passion – or possible passion – a bad thing? Not if it makes you happy and content at the end of the day with your personal passions.
My career passion is no longer “writing” or “marketing”. Instead it’s “balance” and “being challenged”. I want to be challenged by new projects that align with my many interests (of which writing, marketing and travel are at the top…along with wine. Oh yes, can’t forget about wine) and I want it to be balanced with my personal life. I think people underestimate the importance of balance and that achieving it can feel like the best career passion of all.
So, this little ditty on passion is done. I’d love to hear your take on how your passions have or have not shaped your career in the comments below.
And a big cheers to balancing a multitude of passions…with travel, of course.