The Pursuit of Passion (and lesser things)

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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Don’t Pull that Thread!

I know the warning signs.

I know when I’m on the edge and about to explode — or implode — emotionally. I’m close to that point now and doing everything I can to ward it off. It’s part of being bipolar, I suppose, and it’s not a fun part.

bigstock-concerned-woman-retro-clipar-34339379-convertedThe good news is I’m aware of what’s happening and I know what steps to take to help myself. It’s not a perfect system, and I’m still at risk of losing it. But it’s better than it used to be.

My job isn’t helping the situation. I’m working as a tax preparer, and of course, this week is crunch week. The deadline for filing this year is April 18 (the 15th is on Saturday and Monday the 17th is a holiday in Washington D.C.), so I’m pushing my limits everyday except Sunday (we have Easter off) for the next week. It’s not a good thing when you have a mental illness.

My co-workers are great; the other woman in the office I’m assigned to is just about the perfect co-worker, and my supervisor somehow has managed to keep her cool and a good sense of humor despite the fact she’s worked every day since December. Without that, I don’t know if I’d be doing as well.

But there’s always a thread that might cause everything to unravel, and that thread was pulled today.

It started last Thursday, when the local trash collectors picked up my garbage can for alleged non-payment, and I very nearly lost it. I had paid my bill two weeks before, well before the due date. The lady in customer service, who was very nice and professional, did her best to get the container back to me by yesterday, so I’d have it for trash pick-up today.

Trash ContainerIt’s important to note here that the garbage company provides the trash cans, and we’re required to use them. No personal cans allowed.

They didn’t deliver. Heather, the customer service lady, had told me I could use my own container, so I thought, at least there’s a way they’ll pick up the garbage. I was forced to drag out my old, personal trash can from under the back porch in my townhouse, and haul it up a very steep hill, where I slipped more than once, sending that container down the slope. I was frustrated and angry and doing my best to keep it together.

But events conspired against me, or so it seemed in my agitated state. One team from the garbage collection agency dropped off my seized garbage can today at 1:55. My personal garbage can had already been placed out front for collection, and I wasn’t about to transfer all my trash from one can to the other.

So the pick-up team shows up at 1:58, and refuses to pick up my garbage because I did have one of their assigned containers, which we are in general required to use, but I hadn’t used it.

Are you kidding me?

I called customer service again, and thankfully, Heather answered my call. First, I apologized for directing my anger toward her the week before.  Then, because I knew the thread was being pulled, I (relatively calmly) told her I was even angrier today. That acknowledgment helped me keep it together with her.

If you think things got better after that, you are sadly mistaken, but I have already written too much about my garbage. Suffice to say, that garbage collection company is on my list.

AdobeStock_106268046 Young Woman Retro SmBut here’s the thing: I’ve been taking care of myself by getting enough sleep & exercise, as well as employing little tricks I’ve learned that help me keep my cool. I didn’t completely fall apart. I’m still feeling on the edge, but I just might make it.

It takes more than one pulled thread to make me unravel these days.


Unravel


Image Credits: (weaving) courtesy of Pixabay; (Retro Woman, Garbage Can, Retro Happy Woman) © Bigstock.