Valentine’s Day is a festival of love. It’s a day of gifts that say “I love you.” As a wife, mother and grandmother, I’ve come to expect flowers, candy, or other expressions of live from my family. But it’s ok to love yourself, isn’t it? That’s what my therapist says. So perhaps Valentine’s Day should also be a time to do something special for you.
What is your Passion?
I find that my favorite gifts are those that last. I love a dozen roses on Valentine’s Day, but rose bushes won’t die as quickly. A card is always sweet, but a photograph will last much longer. What can you give yourself that lasts? I contend that finding your talent and passion is the ultimate gift. Easier said than done? Absolutely, because sometimes reality gets in the way.
A long time ago . . .
I remember as a youngster, taking piano lessons, playing trumpet in a marching band, playing tuba in a concert band, and even playing accordion at back yard parties. I loved making music—I stunk at it, had no talent, but I loved to play.
In middle school, I started writing poetry and short stories. My love of writing carried me through high school. I joined the school newspaper club. I wrote essays and papers for fellow students (for a small fee, of course!). I got both enjoyment and accolades when I could absorb myself into writing.
Music and writing, these were my passions.
One day, though, high school ended and Dad said “get a job and get an apartment.” Reality set in. I spend the next decades doing what I was supposed to do. I got a job, got married, had kids, got my degree, got a professional certification, and got promoted into leadership and upper management positions – all the things grown-ups are supposed to do. Now here I am, just a handful of years until retirement, married for over 40 years, with a dozen grandkids and I still ask myself what I want to do when I grow up.
So what DO I want?
I want to write. I want to speak. I want to teach. I look back through the years and see that desire trying to let itself be known. Life may have gotten in the way of finding my passion, but it didn’t make it disappear completely. I have five half novels on my shelf. I spent a couple of years in Toastmasters, and beg for my boss to let me do the presentations to the upper echelon and to the public. One of my favorite jobs – and I’ve had many while climbing the ladder – was technical writer. I even developed and taught a class in Project Management.
My Passion is found – now what?
I’ve reviewed a multitude of books, articles, youTUBE videos, and seminars to find the answer to that question – now what?. For example look up “Find your Talent” in youTUBE; there was 75 PAGES of entries. (This is one of my favorites. It’s simple and just makes me smile. )
I found that there are hundreds of theories about finding your passion, but no real answers. But I did come up with some common themes:
- Find your Passion. It would be nice if your passion could be in sync with how you support yourself and your family. But if you are like me and life gets in the way, don’t let your passion die.
- Learn your Passion. Read books, take classes, surf the web. Learning about your passion in today’s information glut is not difficult. Do you have time to do a little quiet reading? Amazon and Barnes and Noble have a sundry of books on whatever your passion may be. My daughter tells me to “Google it.” My granddaughter tells me to YouTUBE it. Maybe a junior college or vo-tech school in your area has something. Just do something; never stop learning about what you love.
- Make time for your Passion. No one expects you to devote hours upon hours practicing. I am in awe of those who can work full time, raise a family and maintain a household while still finding time to follow their dreams. After years of saying, “I don’t have time,” I look back wish I had carved out the time. Now the kids are grown and I can pay to have my house cleaned. Now it’s my job that takes upwards of 60 hours a week. But my gift to myself is to give myself a couple of hours during the week and several hours on the weekends write, to practice, and to prepare myself for the day I can devote myself to my passion.
- Follow your Passion. Commit. Believe in yourself and your passion. Someday you will be able to do what you’ve always needed to do. Someday you’ll realize that while you’ve been “making time for your passion,” you’ve already been following your heart. Your avocation may be the path to the next promotion, pay raise or wrung in the corporate ladder, your destination should be what you love.
I Love Myself
I love myself so I am giving myself permission, time and inspiration to get past reality and follow my passion.
Happy Valentine’s Day to me.
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