You think by now, I’d have this thing we call passion down pat. And, it isn’t that I haven’t known passion in my life; I have. But, I’m finding that passion is different at my age.
When I was young, passion was all about accomplishment, acquiring “firsts” and doing “better than last time” each time I was invited to put forth my best effort. In those days, passion seemed to come easily – it was the energy of life that flowed into each new experience. The first time I spoke before a ballroom full of people and realized they were hanging on my every word – that was intoxicating! The first time I had my words published and got feedback on the importance of what I’d had to say – amazing! The first time I was invited to be a keynote speaker and fly to a distant city to open a conference of thousands of colleagues – what a rush!
But, now, passion is harder to come by. And, what fills the spaces of life is less about passion and more about Zen. Some people would say that passion is bringing your best to each endeavor. The difficulty comes when life’s endeavors are mostly mundane, like doing laundry, washing dishes, shoveling snow, tending to the cat’s box or taking out the trash. Those are the every-day, every-week, regularly scheduled and constantly recurring activities of my life now. Along with those are the care-giver chores of seeing to my husband’s health and well-being, getting him to medical and dental appointments, making sure he’s got fresh clothes for each day, assuring his transportation to and from adult daycare, giving his medications, looking at his skin, hauling him to haircuts and making sure he shaves – at least occasionally. None of these feed passion. Many of them can be done with a sense of calm, confidence, repetition and Zen – wax on; wax off.
So, I’ve begun exploring where my real passion lies, now. It doesn’t lie in fantastic “firsts” like it did in my 20s or 30s. It doesn’t come from travel and exploration, trying new things and putting myself in unfamiliar places and cultures like I could in my 30s and 40s. And it can’t be found in the excitement of learning new, exotic things anymore. Of course learning is lifelong, it just isn’t as astounding as it was decades ago; now it is more like growth – shedding an old skin, like a snake and growing a new one.
What are my passions now? Several simple things come to mind:
In each of these, what I notice is that passion is not something I do, not an action I take, but a quiet realization that goodness surrounds me and I am constantly invited to participate in it, to lend my energy in simple, quiet ways – unplanned, often unnoticed and usually imperceptible. But when I give myself to the invitation fully, I am reminded of that youthful passion that fills me with the warmth of connection.
What feeds your passion these days?