We speak of passion with great enthusiasm, as in “pursue your passion.” I agree, finding joy in life is a good thing, and finding fulfillment and purpose is a treasure. But too much of a good thing has its drawbacks.

I cringe a bit at the word “passion.” It connotes a drive to do something at the expense of other, necessary tasks in life. There can be a lack of balance when you’re passionate about cause, a skill, a person…anything. Of course, sometimes, that lack of balance is part of what gets the job done. For a period of time, letting your passion drive you is a good thing.

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Wild Thing, I think I love you…

Political candidates and those who campaign for them need to be passionate, for example. When you’re in love, you’d better be fully engulfed in your feelings for that other person, or forget about a long-term commitment.

It’s also a term that’s thrown around fairly easily, one that plays on your emotions but isn’t always easy to define in practical terms. I enjoy knitting. I’m an avid knitter, and I always have a project or two in the works. I love to share and compare with other knitters, encourage them in their projects and pursue the next big undertaking with vigor. I have dozens of knitting magazines (including every Vogue Knitting since 1982, which isn’t as many as it might sound like — for years they only published two issues annually). I dabble in design.

Yet I would not say I am passionate about knitting. To me, that would imply some sacrifice, a devotion that goes beyond what is appropriate for my favorite hobby. I have several friends who own yarn shops. I’ve asked them if knitting is their passion, and they laugh and say no. They love it, love their work and are dedicated to the success of their stores. But there is a balance in their lives, and their passion, if they can name one, is more likely their grandchildren.

For years I was also a devout reader. I read as many books as I could get hold of, and while circumstances dampened my enthusiasm for reading (something I never would have thought possible, and I resent those who caused it), that flame likely will never be fully doused. I still enjoy the feel and promise of a new book, and today, when I order one online, I can’t wait to open that box and just hold the book.

So I’m an avid reader as well as knitter. Perhaps there is a little more passion there, for I will firmly say, “you can’t spoil a child with books.” (I know, I know, some of you could provide solid examples contradicting that statement, but look at the heart of what I’m saying. And if a child throws a fit because he or she doesn’t get a new book every time the family goes to Walmart, that has nothing to do with books.)

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Wait while I finish this thought…that’s not true, you are important to me!

The one thing I will say I feel compelled to do, even when I have nothing to say (hence the need for a blog haha), is write. That might come close to being a passion. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, if I could write for a living…the jobs I’ve found for writers, however, generally are for someone younger, more entry-level. I’m not sure that’s the kind of writing I want to commit myself to on a daily basis.

I have found a way to make room for all the things I can get lost in doing. If any one of them became a job, would I leave behind my joy and what now brings me peace? Let’s face it, too much of anything is going to hurt you in some way.

That goes for the body as well as the mind. As I grow older, I’m increasingly mindful of the toll everyday activities, no matter how seemingly benign, can take on our bodies. Anything we do for an extended period of time has its price.

I just spent months nursing a thumb injury my doctor and physical therapists believe was caused, at least in part, by knitting. When I posted a story about that, one of my blogging buddies commented how she’d hurt herself reading paperbacks.

Yes, find what you love doing, what re-energizes you. But remember, our bodies and minds need variety to stay healthy. We may not love everything we do with the same fervor, but the balance is what keeps us alive, physically and emotionally.


Images © geosap — Adobe Stock

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5 Comments on “The Pursuit of Passion (and lesser things)

  1. I lacked passion for much of my adult life. When I found it with music seven years ago, oh my – how my life changed!
    I cannot imagine ever living without passion again. It is a gift that came to me when I thought I was too old for surprises. 🙂
    I hope I’m not out of balance with it, though. Thanks for giving me an opening here, to spout about how passionate I am. It occupies every fiber of my being and I float upon it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad, Judy. I think it’s sometimes something we sell to others, especially young people, that leads to frustration because they don’t feel passionate about anything, and yet, they’re generally happy in life. They start to believe something is missing, when in fact, it’s not. I think for you, after suffering as you did for so long, finding this outlet in music was a salvation. That indeed is worth feeling passionate about. There are times, as I said, when I believe throwing yourself into something you’re passionate about is worthwhile, even necessary. But this belief that you need to find your passion or your life will be compromised is just plain unfair for many people. And of course, it’s a matter of definition. I think “passionate” is an emotional word, and subject to misinterpretation.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I absolutely agree with you. I have two sons and they are so different. One has passion and the other doesn’t. I think it’s just a “trait” – it comes perhaps or it doesn’t. Peacefulness and happiness are feelings that can be achieved by many pathways.
        You are so right that I suffered and this was my salvation. Balance is also a good thing and I’m always reminding myself of that!

        Liked by 1 person

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