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Where Will It Take Me

Is there more than one path for me?


Someone asked me the other day what I was truly passionate about. I have to say the conversation caught me off guard just a bit, and the idea that it gave me pause surprised me even more.

For the past several years, I feel like I’ve tried to open myself to a path of possibilities and I believed that leading an authentic life may lead me to where I truly needed to be. At the same time, however, when I heard the phrase, “follow your passion” I wondered if it was just a bunch of words or if the possibility really existed. I wanted to embrace this principle, but somehow it appeared just a little too idealistic.

While I’ve thrown these concepts around in my head and heard celebrities tout their importance, something hit me in the side of the face as this new acquaintance of mine pressed me to reveal my passion. Was there a difference between being passionate and following your passion? Living genuinely brings great things my way, but it is still very different than actually pursuing a dream.

How could I have confused the two concepts? I’m a passionate and intense individual. When I find something that appeals to me, I move forward with a sense of verve (or perhaps obsession) that seems unparalleled.

It’s not that I think I’m better than others by any stretch of the imagination, quite the opposite actually. The pursuit of goals and success dealt very little with innate intelligence in my family as I grew up. The message received was that everything worth achieving could be accomplished through simple determination and drive. Along these lines, I also heard loud and clear, “If you’re going to do it, dammit, do it right. We don’t do anything half assed in this house.”

I think that served me well. It left me feeling that just about anything was possible with lots of work. I don’t know how accurate this idea is in a global sense, but it was the normal that I knew and somehow it worked. An overpowering idea of practicality and responsibility also inundated my childhood home.

Was it the time or the family – no one ever mentioned passion, or following a path that brought personal fulfillment. Self worth and overall success were closely linked with money, and anyone who pursued a more artistic or intuitive path was viewed as a whack job. There I said it. Perhaps that is only my perception, but I’ve had enough conversations with both my parents as an adult that I think that’s pretty close to reality as it existed.

I’m not going to say that idea is right or wrong, but it left me with some pretty strong attitudes toward the way I should conduct myself, which I’m beginning to question. I want to believe that following a passion is doable, but can I skirt around the edge and first just dip my toes in the water or must I dive head first with reckless abandon? How can I tell if I’m headed in the correct direction or just following some disjointed whim?

The more I ponder, the more questions surface. I wonder if this journey has more to do with the process than the answer that will be found along the way.

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