“Find your passion and you’ll never work a day in your life.” It’s such a pithy, positive, hopeful statement! I’ve been searching for my passion for my entire life and I still haven’t found it. I’ve found interests. I’ve found intriguing pastimes. I’ve found hobbies and appealing distractions. But I haven’t found my passion. Food is the closest thing to it, I think. But that’s not it. I tire of recipes and cooking just as quickly as I tire of reading and writing and hiking and walking and engaging in interesting philosophical conversations. I’ve come to the conclusion that, at least for some of us, “find your passion and you’ll never work a day in your life” is an aphorism based in wishful thinking. I so wish I could find that passion. Something so consuming that I would be compelled to get up every morning and pursue it. But I haven’t found it. And that bothers me.
At various points in my life, I thought the passion had to be something that made the world a better place. I wanted to be consumed by something important, valuable, interesting, intriguing. I wanted to think that what I do each day matters. I admire people who know exactly what their contributions are to making a better world are and who, in that knowledge, follow their passion. I’m not one of them. I just stumble along, searching for something that matters and that commands my undying interest. So far, that dual-purpose something has remained hidden.
Lately, I’ve come to the conclusion that one’s passion need not be an undertaking that changes the world. Even something trivial to the world but all-consuming to oneself would be fine. Something about which one is so passionate that it’s like breathing; one couldn’t even fathom living one’s life each day without doing it. It could be golf or painting (but it’s neither for me). That single-purpose something continues to elude me.
I realize my desire for finding my passion is selfish, egotistical, and utterly unimportant in a world in which so many people are looking for more important things than self-fulfillment, things like adequate food and clean water and protection from war. Maybe seeking (and finding) one’s passion offers protection against the realization that the world is a brutal place. That leads me to another question: why is it that self-sacrifice in the name of decency is so revered? I think it’s because decency often seems in such short supply, yet we all yearn for it. Maybe that’s the passion I’m after. Decency.
“He retired from a career in indecency to pursue a decent retirement. ” Still, where is that elusive passion?