“Vocations which we wanted to pursue, but didn’t, bleed, like colors, on the whole of our existence.” -Honore De Balzac. French Novelist
I have been thinking of late about passion – passion with regards to my own life and passion for my students’ lives. In my late teens, as I made choices about university, “career” etc I was led by a sense of urgency, an inner well of motivation which urged me along a certain path. Even my choice of social anthropology, which seemed a little random, (the list of degrees was in alphabetical order in the prospectus and it was the first, of many, that sounded interesting!) was a subconscious desire to work in developing nations. I had a vision for my life – which of course has taken its own sweet direction on many occasions. I spent many years working in teams around the globe, in theory offering training, research and aid to various groups and individuals, in practice receiving a hundred fold more in return than I was ever capable of giving. There was no career ladder and I never counted work hours for there was no dichotomy between work and play. I was passionate about what I did and it all interwove into the urgency of the present and living for the beauty of that moment.
Many young people have no idea at 17/18 what they want to do with their lives and I understand this. They make wise choices in their pursuit of higher education and I support this. But it is always a thrill to have a student in my office brimming with enthusiasm about what he/she wants to study. Many of my students will end up as very successful entrepreneurs and managers. Along the way, I hope some will find the time to pursue their operatic passion or take a few years to make films, if that’s what animates them. I was thrilled this week to have a parent in my office eager to support his son’s singing talent and creative writing gift. In our competitive world these choices can be overwhelming for parents and children, but I certainly desire that my students have a sense of passion about what they do. Thoreau says that if you advance in the direction of your dreams, you’ll find uncommon success, and my involvement with young people has persuaded me that he is right. The ones who do what they love without a lot of regard for conventional success tend to turn out happy and strong. We cannot, of course, dictate the timing of that vision in someone’s life, but I believe it is something we all can have.
I am preaching at myself here too. I realize that I had allowed some of my life’s passion and vision to slumber. Along with a reopening of my heart towards more spiritual things, I am truly finding energy in writing. It has been such a fulfilling discovery – or rediscovery really of writing. I realize this creative outlet is an unfulfilled dream, thus in pursuing it I am expressing more of myself to the world and am revitalized by it. Blogging and writing stories about those things I love such as: animal welfare, justice, literacy and intercultural awareness are really fulfilling. I want to make sure I am in a place where my dreams can be caught and stimulated. I don’t know where this dream will take me, but I am intent on following it. It is up to us make sure our lives and relationships are nurturing our dreams. Have you longed to become a yoga teacher? Has the stage been beckoning your talent for months? Do you dream of becoming a voluntary fire-flighter? Is setting up a Bed & Breakfast something you have been thinking about for years? Are there things you can be doing to bring you nearer to those dreams?
Don’t let anyone, even yourself, snatch away your dreams.