Gotcha, didn’t I? With a catchy title, no less! Not to disappoint you, but I’m thinking along a different line than you probably are – life’s work. See, I wrote a couple of weeks ago about sliding doors and life’s crossroads because that’s where I’m currently at. Pondering what I do, how I do it and whether or not to continue it. My. Life’s Work. See, I’m currently unemployed and seriously thinking about a change.
A very wise, dear friend who knows me very well had this piece of advice: Do what you love and work will become play.
Sure. OK. No problem, except…
I’m not sure what I love. I envy those of you who have truly found your passion in life. But I’m not sure if I am capable of feeling that deeply, or if I will ever find a true passion. I know people that do. They are the ones who leap out of bed at 5:30 AM and hit the ground running with joy and expectation of what each new day will bring. I’m not one of those. I was more the ‘stay in bed until the last possible moment, then trudge resentfully out the door to get the day finished’ type. Small problem.
Don’t get me wrong. There have been times in my life where I’ve thought I found my true passion. Music was my first. That was my obsession for years. I was simply born to make music. Or so I thought, until I realized two things. First – a well-meaning individual sat me down my last year of college and ever-so-nicely informed me that I would never make as a pro due to my lack of reed making ability (and sweetly suggested that I look for a backup option.) It was a bit late for that. Second – I wanted some measure of stability in my life at that point and simply didn’t have the courage to take the risk of leaping out into the unknown (armed with the well-meant knowledge that I would never make it.) So I quit. Quit playing and tried my hardest to distance myself from everything musical.
At which point I decided to teach. Those who can’t, teach – right? I went to the extreme and for a while thought I was destined to lead multitudes of wide-eyed children down the path to a lifelong love of reading, then elementary music. Such noble aspirations – until met with the realities of TAAS, TAKS, STAAR and No Child Left Behind. Thanks, George W and Rick Perry. OK, I’ll be honest – I can’t blame them (totally) for turning my job into drudgery. But earlier last fall, circumstances (or sliding doors) caused me to take a leave of absence from teaching the masses – and I’ve found that I don’t miss it. At all.
So I am back to square one. What do I love? I love intelligent conversation. I’ve found that my true love is experiencing live music, not necessarily playing it. I love museums, dance, and most of the performing arts (except for outdated musicals. I can’t stand those.) I love being in control. I love feeling like I make a difference to someone, somewhere, each day. I love to write. I love to read. I love research – really, I do. It’s like discovering some unknown artifact to me! But where does this leave me? With a list of things I love and absolutely no idea how to turn them into a satisfying career that fills me with satisfaction and has me bounding out of bed eagerly each day. I really want that.
Part of me looks at the above list and screams ‘Arts Management!’ But I’ve absolutely no idea how to even go about seriously breaking into that field. Another (small) voice in the back of my head weakly suggests ‘Start your own business!’ That sounds great, until the very small logical segment of my brain reminds me that any business starts with a product or service – which I am currently lacking. And the small problem with writing is that people actually have to want to read what you have to say.
So here I am, on this cold rainy day, pondering – what exactly? Life’s passion. What’s yours? How did you find it? What advice do you have for someone like me who is still on the quest for it?