Finding one’s passions

My fellow interns are amazing people. It is a special privilege to work with people who care about the world. Their passion for their work is inspiring, truly, yet there are times when I can’t help but think passion is just not… enough. Bear with me.

If you are anything like me, you too are seeking to live a meaningful life. Now, meaningful can mean anything. We just need to feel like we matter like we are doing something that matters. This is the reason many of us are interning this summer. I think this is such a deeply ingrained need, hard-wired into our psyche so I will assume we are in this together. And, if you are anything like me, all our lives we have been told to go after our dreams and find something we truly love and we will never work a single day because surely, doing something we love should not feel like work. Our passions are just waiting for us somewhere out there. I have lived by this advice for most of my life, never questioning its wisdom and trusting in the many who have said it. However, I have found this advice misleading about the realities of day to day adult life.

The word passion, when broken down, really means… nothing, at least nothing of the permanent or fulfilling nature that I believe many of us are actually searching for. Like a good daughter of two divorcees, I know all too well that passion dies. When it comes to serious relationships, we know that life with another person isn’t supposed to be easy, and that is perfectly normal. Hard work and sacrifices are just natural parts of loving and accepting someone. While relationships are not my area of expertise, I have taken this advice and applied it to my personal and existential, and so far, I think it has fared quite well.

Sure, I came to Michigan with certain interests and likes, but nothing of the intense, passionate variety. While, I have pretty much decided my major and where and how I see my life heading, it was not an immediate discovery as much as a gradual development. Through classes, office hours and conversations, I have come to refine and kindle these initial interests and make them my lifelong aspirations. In my experience at least, it requires constant effort, discipline, and sacrifice just to do the things you love. But that does not mean you do not love it. You can love writing but that does not automatically make you a good writer or the task of writing any easier. (It is called a rough draft for a reason.)

As our experiences multiply, as we learn and mature, we must be open and willing to recognize that pursuing a life of purpose is not easy, sexy or glamorous as it was made out to be. But if that is how you lead a meaningful life then maybe it is all worth it. Of course, I am just sharing my idle musings, my own truths as I see it. 

If anyone has found a career or life’s calling in which they have never had to ‘work’ a single day, please share your secrets. 

One thought on “Finding one’s passions

  • July 24, 2018 at 9:18 am

    Dear Jackie,

    I really appreciate how you are framing and reframing the idea of being passionate vs. seeking meaning. Although both are similar pursuits, to me a meaningful life has a much deeper and less ephemeral connotation than a burning passion to do something. I read this interesting article last week on developing passions rather than finding one that you might enjoy:



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