Saturday, March 31, 2012

Follow your passion

Everyone knows the mantra of the day: "Follow your passion." But how do I find that passion?

With Sam graduating from high school, I realize that I need to find a new focus for my time and energy. For the first 15 years or so of my adult life, I was very career oriented and I enjoyed it. Then I had a baby, and honestly, for the last 18 years getting him raised and helping him find his path to a life that would give him joy and satisfaction has been my primary focus. At first there was a transition period, but eventually I found that my passion for my career had waned, and my passion for turning out the best possible young man had overtaken it. When it got to the point where he needed a lot of extra focus, I was happy to give it.

Now, he has reached that point where I am confident that he is on the right path. I'm sure he will make many mistakes and have his share of missteps and adventures, but my work is largely done. He is ready to take over and find his own way.

In the short term, of course, God has given me a diversion. He sent me Warren at a time when he really needed a helping hand and I really needed someone or something into which I could pour my energy. But I realize that it isn't a long term thing. Well, I hope it is a long term relationship, but it isn't a long term project. Warren has already grown a lot and is becoming more independent of us even now. He still has a ways to go, but I know that in a few short years, he will be moving on to the next phase of his life, ready to face and manage what comes next. I hope we will always be close, but I know that soon, he will not need or want a ton of my energy poured into his life.

So I've come to realize, I need to find something that stirs my passion, something I can turn my focus to as my boys don't need it any more. But I don't know what that is.

Bob is more inherently good at finding such outside interests. He used to put countless hours into community theater, which gave him no end of joy and satisfaction. Then he turned to church activities and was extremely involved in the men's club. He provided them a lot of leadership and they gave him a wonderful, productive outlet. Now he has turned his focus to Boy Scouting, an organization for which he has great fondness that has a great need for movers and shakers such as Bob. He just naturally finds these healthy and productive outlets. I need to figure out how to find the same kind of thing for myself.

The problem is, it doesn't seem to come as naturally to me. Girl Scouts is where I work, but I don't see myself pouring my leisure time into it and finding that satisfying. I have been a Boy Scout volunteer for quite a few years and I admire the Boy Scouts, but don't feel a personal passion about them. My faith is important to me, but the Church has a propensity to drive me crazy, and I can't imagine myself turning my energy toward any Church organization that I am aware of now. I still have strong feminist leanings that date back to high school and college, but I don't see myself becoming active in feminist circles today – too political, which in my heart is synonymous with dirty. Thus other politics doesn't seem like a good option to me, either. I just don't know.

So on the one hand, I do think this is an important new insight. But on the other hand, I don't think it holds any short-term “aha” moments for me. I just need to accept it and set it to the side. It doesn't really change anything in how I live my life day to day, but it needs to be there, at the edge of my consciousness. And I suppose I just need to believe that all will be revealed to me when the time is right.


Emilia said...

I'm always amazed at the way people come out of these things. My mom at age 45, when my youngest sibling started school, decided that she wanted to be a lifeguard, so went and took all the certification classes with all the skinny 16 year old kids. Then she became an aquatics instructor for those suffering with severe arthritis. She loved it and they loved her. It certainly wasn't the last time she went through a bit of passion seeking, but at the time it was inspiring for me to see that she was not one to let her age, social conventions, or lack of previous experience stop her from doing something that she wanted to do. I have no doubt that you will find something when the time is right.

Susan said...


That's an uplifting story! Yes, I'm sure I will find something when the time is right. It's just a bit unnerving at the moment.