Sunday, November 2, 2014


What are you passionate about? What do you most want to do for a living?


I don't know


That is the truth of it. I don't know. It feels so empty and hollow when I put it that way. Do you feel the same way too? I know there must be others out there. Especially recent graduates in their 20's like me.

"My entire life I have done what everyone has told me I should do. From kindergarten to my senior year of college I had a high GPA, I volunteered, I played sports, I was in groups, extracurricular activities, student council. I did all that stuff. I was checking off the boxes in order to become a successful American." - Charlie Hoehn on the NPR Ted Radio Hour

"Being in your 20's can kind of suck because up to that point your whole life has been mapped out. High school then maybe college and then you're 22 or 23 and you're out. The safety net is gone. And the world is like, 'Go figure it out'"- Guy Raz on the NPR TED Radio Hour
Do these quotes sound familiar to the situation that you're in? They do to me. I am a college graduate and I have my first full-time job. I am fortunate. I have now accomplished all that I was supposed to do. I checked those boxes. Now what?

My job is good but it's not something I want to be doing for the rest of my life. But when I think about what I want to be doing for the rest of my life, at least in terms of a profession, I am at a loss. I have no idea what I want to do and that fact is really starting to bother me. I feel directionless. Well not completely directionless. There are many opportunities and different interests for me and I could have a good career in many fields. But am I not supposed to only pursue the one I am passionate about? At least that is what all the videos and articles tell me to do. Right?

Recently I was talking with a girl who had passion and direction. It radiated from her as she spoke of it. It was beautiful. I was captivated and jealous. Eventually she asked me what I was passionate about and I had no response. Instantly I felt inferior as if something was wrong with me. I wanted to be like her but deep down I knew I wasn't, which is why the following quote really resonates with me.

"We keep telling people to follow their passion and I feel like that can be an intimidating and almost cruel thing to say to people at times because first of all if somebody has one central powerful burning passion, they're probably already following it because that is sort of the definition of passion is that you don't have a choice. If you don't, which is a lot of people, have one central burning passion and somebody tells you to follow your passion, I think you have the right to give them the finger. Because it just makes you feel worse. And so I always say to people if you don't have an obvious passion to forget about it. Follow your curiosity because passion is sort of a tower flame that is not always accessible and curiosity is something that anybody can access any day. Your curiosity may lead  you to your passion or it may not. It may have been for 'nothing', in which case all you have done your entire life is spend your existence in pursuit of the things that made you feel curious and inspired and that should be good enough. If you get to do that, that is a wonderful way to have spent your time here." -Elizabeth Gilbert on the NPR TED Radio Hour

So why should I worry about what my passion is? Not knowing my passion shouldn't be a tragedy. Maybe some people are born with the gift of passion and others are born with the gift of...something else. I choose to be fine with that something else...whatever it is. I know I am not the only one with the same predicament. I know there are other dispassionate people out there. Maybe I could have stated that last sentence to sound more inspiring.

But like Elizabeth Gilbert said, "follow your curiosities." Don't be afraid to learn about new things or simply try out something new. Don't let your fear of the unknown or the fear of not having a passion make you be idle. Don't wait until your passion suddenly just slaps you across the face. It won't. It doesn't come to us like the ring came to Sméagol instantly consuming his life. "It came to me, my own, my love, my precious." The longer you sit there watching Netflix naively hoping passion will come, the more likely you will never find it. So at the very least go out there and do something, even if it's only pursuing a passing interest. Maybe in the pursuit of those mere curiosities you find something that truly inspires you and gives you passion.

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