I was lucky when it came to finding my passion. I knew when I was 12 years old that it was writing. It gave me a voice when I didn’t have one and an outlet when I needed it. I knew that I was good at it, and it was a craft that I understood deep down.
Some people are not so lucky. They tried writing at some point in their lives, but whether by themselves or by others, they were made to feel that they were not good enough. They did not meet some perceived expectation, or they felt like it was a waste of time.
It’s never a waste of time to have an outlet for your thoughts. It’s never a waste of time to try and make sense of your experience and to help others make sense of theirs.
I was lucky to feel confident as young as I did. Naturally, I had things to work on, but I felt a hunger to work on it. Being an artist and following your passion is unforgiving work, and it takes remarkable spirit to carry on in the face of doubt.
There are a good number of people who wish they could write but don’t, because they feel like it’s a waste of their time. Chasing your passion is no different.
Chances are, your passion is the thing your heart longs to do but you tell your brain tells you it’s not a good use of your time.
So many other people are better than me.
I’m so busy. I never have any time.
I won’t make any money doing it.
Nothing is given to you where your passion is concerned. You have to make it happen.
I have wasted so much brain power over the years on the amount of time I give to writing. As a high school honor student and then later a college student, I had to fight tooth and nail for spare writing time. With adulting, that doesn’t get any better.
Some people don’t know what their passion is and are not sure how to find it. The thing is it’s going to feel like something you shouldn’t pursue, the thing that you’re not looking for.
Here’s what it feels like to know what my passion is.
I didn’t care (still don’t) how hard the path is. This line of work will beat you up. It’s not for the whimsical or the idealist. It’s not for those looking for a hack, a shortcut, or an instant best-seller. It takes a person with real grit.
I’m always improving my craft. I want to challenge myself. I don’t want to just be good, I want to be a master. Because of this, I’m a lifelong student of the craft.
I’m playing the long game. I’m not worried about a few bad days (or dozens), or a month of feeling blocked, or a run of miserable stats. The short-term setbacks don’t get to me, because I’m focused on the long-term goals.
It gets me out of bed. Every day, even on the darkest ones. It gives me something to live for. Even if I’m so depressed that all I can do is tie my shoes, my art gives me something to live for. No matter how bad things get, I always have my work. My demons can’t take that from me.
Finally, your passion is the thing that keeps hitting you upside the head. You turn away from it, thinking, I’m not the kind of person who does that.
And one day, you’re minding your own business, and something trips you. Sprawled on the ground, you think, What the hell was that?
And there it is – the writing, art, bread baking, or whatever – the thing that you’ve been running away from. It’s that thing that you tell yourself that you tell yourself you’re not capable of doing.
Here’s the beauty of being an artist. Nobody gets to tell me that I am one. I give myself permission to be an artist.
You can’t pursue your passion until you give yourself permission to do so. If you’re like me, then you know a bunch of people who pursued their master’s degrees and are contributing to society in wonderful ways but in ways that don’t call to you.
Or maybe you know a bunch of people who are traveling to every corner of the world and building apps and selling million dollar companies before their 23rd birthday, but goddamn it if you don’t love to bake bread. You could spend your whole life baking bread! But it doesn’t compare to the cool adventures your friends are having.
No one else is going to give you permission to do what you love, because they can’t. Nobody besides you knows what’s good for you.
It’s going to keep chasing you, until one day it really will be too late. Don’t miss out on this life.
Photo by Christoph Keil on Unsplash