To live life to the fullest, I really believe that you have to love what you do and do what you love. But how do you find that balance in a world where making money is the most precious thing in our lives? And how do you choose passion over what society expects of you or what your parents, siblings, wife or husband thinks? I remember when I was 12 and in grade 7 that one of my subjects was instrumental music. I had played the piano since I was 8 so reading music wasn’t a problem and I aced that. But my parents forced me to play the flute and that did not sit well. I had always wanted to play the sax. I begged, I cried, but to no avail and maybe I failed on the flute on purpose, but I don’t think so as I still find it the most difficult instrument in my repertoire. Failing was not an option for me so they (my parents) begrudgingly caved and let me play the sax. The alto sax to be specific. I loved it and excelled! Instrumental music was to become one of the most precious things in my life, but I didn’t know it then.
We DO live in a world with expectations. There is status; there is keeping up with others; there is pleasing others; but when do our passions have a voice? How do we let them in when life is so busy throwing other things at us? In my early 20’s, I decided I wanted to write a book; my imagination possessed me. I was working at a hospital at the time, in housekeeping. It used to be called a janitor and I’m sure it boasts an even better title these days like sanitation expert, perhaps. Anyway, I was overcome with this desire to get my fiction on paper but I did not have a decent typewriter at the time–yes, this was the dark ages–so I would stay, after my shifts, at work where my boss had a very large IBM device (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, I invite you to google it) and write for hours. I hammered out more than 450 pages on that ancient piece of machinery and I used carbon copy to punch out two copies of my masterpiece. I was to later rewrite it onto a computer–where somehow I lost several chapters–and save it onto a disc (again, dark ages). To this day, it sits in a box as one of the few things I kept when selling my house. This story isn’t about the low self-esteem that kept me from sending my work out to publishers, it’s about finding space for the things you are passionate about.
I honestly believe that to live a fulfilling life we need to make room for our passions. Come alive in the NOW because we have no guarantee of the future. I find it difficult to listen to someone talk about their desires in the future tense. Once I have a house, I’ll have room for music; once I retire, I can begin to write, dance, sing, focus on my art works, photography etc.. Whatever you crave to do with your life doesn’t belong in later, sometime, eventually; it belongs in the present. I believe there has to be a balance in life to live your best life, an experience you can grab hold of and run with that brings out your best qualities and allows you to live completely. For me, that means writing, playing music, skiing, snowboarding, kayaking, helping others and being spontaneous (which is something I don’t do enough of). It also means being kind to myself and accepting myself as I am with the knowledge that I can also change. Loving yourself enough that you also DO what you love is as necessary as, well, brushing your teeth and changing your underwear.
Some people are fortunate enough to experience this in their life’s work as I was when I was teaching. Most people, though, need to cultivate passion into their busy work and family lives as I did when I wrote my novel. As difficult and dark as my life has been, I have had several opportunities to practice my passions and for this, I am forever grateful. Go out there and ‘Git ‘er done’. Grasp onto those dreams and run like the wind through the meadow of life. You deserve this. You are worthy.
peace balance empathy