I’ve heard it said that there is an elusive sweet spot you will enter into during various times in your life, in your work, in your self. That when your duties and your dreams are in perfect alignment, you’ll take notice. The world will, too. You’ll find yourself smiling at your inbox, high-fiving the security guard, humming in the hallway, walking on air.
We call this finding our passion.
Do you know what passion means, really and truly? It’s a strong and barely controllable emotion.
And this is the part I take issue with. We are convincing each other to follow our dreams, to chase after the illusion, to plan a life around a single, fleeting emotion.
But emotions are notoriously vapid. Once we catch them, they float away.
No, we cannot run after passion.
But we can run after a passionate life.
I used to believe I was unhappy simply because I hadn’t found my life’s purpose. I loved most of my life, but not all of my life, and sometimes it all felt too heavy, too hard. Where was my sweet spot? Why wasn’t I humming in the hallway yet?
When would I walk on air?
There is a common disbelief that what we love will automatically love us in return. That we’ll know our life’s purpose when we see it, that the world will unfold for us and the sweet spot will appear.
That we will walk up to a dream and curtsy, and if it’s meant to be, our dream will bow.
I was raised a competitive swimmer. From dawn until dusk, I’d find myself either submerged in a pool perfecting my stroke, or thinking of such. I wore Speedo shirts. I rinsed the green out of my mane with Ultra Swim. I grew my leg hair to create drag, shaving it only before sectionals.
I was ever passionate about swimming.I loved it. But it did not love me in return, or more specifically, it did not love my body.
A series of recurring ear infections rendered my left ear legally deaf by the time I hit 30.
My passion arrived with a choice:
Do I quit swimming, or quit hearing?
What I’m saying is this: the sweet spot is not void of conflict. Our passions do not materialize without tension, our dreams are not delivered in tidiness.
The beauty, then, is not in finding our passion.
It’s in choosing (or not choosing) to live it anyway.
That is the sweet spot, the glorious mess of it all.
The children we love who drive us insane.
The job we’re crazy about, except for that commute.
The relationship that arrives with emotional baggage.
The nation we yearn for, all faults and furies.
Passion is not absent of pressure.
Significance is not absent of stress.
Love is not absent of loss.
Smile at your inbox.
High-five that security guard.
Go ahead; walk on air.
You don’t need to live your life’s passion to live a passionate life.
The sweet spot isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.