Passion – Discovering Fulfillment and Meaning

When I decided to blog about passion, naturally, I Googled “blogging about passion.” My search yielded results such as “passion blogging,” “blog with passion,” and “find your passion for blogging.” Not exactly what I was looking for, but I discovered a common theme: you must first find your passion. I disagree.

I don’t believe we find our passion. For me, this evokes images of someone with binoculars camouflaged in the woods “passion hunting.” Perhaps some seek their passion with this sort of, well, passion, but I bet this type of search is largely frustrating and disappointing. I believe passion finds us. I know it has repeatedly found me.

When I was 18, my father was diagnosed with brain cancer. For the next four years, I was exposed to so many things a kid my age shouldn’t be. I learned the definitions of benign and malignant. I learned the differences between chemotherapy and radiation. I became skilled at knowing when to call home health and when to dial 9-1-1. I learned what hospice is. I also learned the importance of having a skilled and compassionate team of health care providers and the critical role a good case manager plays in helping you keep it together. After my father’s death, I returned to college and changed my major. I was passionate about case management.

My career in case management brought other passions: passion for getting our seniors and individuals with disabilities the services and supports they need; and passion for a culturally competent health care system. Passion continues to find me through my life experiences.

Passion is a powerful thing. It can drive us to success, force us to redefine our comfort zones, and lead to disappointment or regret. My Google search yielded many definitions for passion, including “a strong or barely controllable emotion” and a strong devotion to some activity, object, or concept. As the definitions suggest, the line between passion and recklessness is fine, and sometimes, nonexistent.

As a teenager, I would have said I was “passionate” about music, dance, performing, some boy, my Mustang, and Dr. Pepper. I know now that I really was passionate about performing, dance, and music but was probably just reckless with the boy and the Mustang. How do I know? Life experience. The boy is all but forgotten, and I wrecked the car. It turns out that the Dr. Pepper is an addiction. But, my passion for performance, dance, and music culminated in hours of instruction, daily practice, discipline, and a college major—that I later traded for something I was even more passionate about.

That’s what we should do with our passion, convert it to something contagious, meaningful and fulfilling. Passion without action is just intense emotion.

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