CHOOSING ENTHUSIASM OVER PASSION

Is it time we stopped looking for one driving passion and allow ourselves to find our purpose and fulfillment from a variety of interests?

DO WE NEED A "BURNING PASSION"?

I've read many, many articles on "finding your passion" that tell me that my life is not complete unless I find something that I am completely passionate about. I think there is a lot to be said for swapping the word "passionate" with the word "enthusiastic". That way you can embrace lot of different experiences without being consumed by just one.

There are far too many things in life that interest me - I want to spread myself wider than just being focused and passionate about one specific area. I want to embrace all the different things that come my way with enthusiasm and zest and decide as I go along - whether they're important enough to keep in my life, or something I can cheerfully move on from. I don't want to be locked in to just one "Passion" that defines me. But I'm wondering if I'm the exception to the rule these days?

CAN YOU HAVE MORE THAN ONE LOVE?

Despite knowing that all-consuming love for one person can lead to disaster, there are still those who are looking for their soulmate - the one person who can complete them. They dismiss so many potential partners because they don't feel that immediate burning passion that they're sure will be the indicator of undying love. Have we been brainwashed by the romance novels and are we setting ourselves up for disappointment?

For example, I love my husband, but then along came our kids - and I love them too, then along came their partners who are pretty terrific in their own right. Next are the grandbabies who are just as fascinating and absorbing. Putting all your passion and love into one person precludes the joy and enrichment of extending that circle of love to others. I read a book a long time ago by Sheldon Vanauken called "A Severe Mercy", Sheldon was a friend of C.S. Lewis, and he and his wife had an intense, overpowering, passionate love for each other that allowed no room for anyone else - including children. His wife's early death was referred to as 'a severe mercy' because the intensity of their love was ultimately unsustainable and by dying she saved him from facing its eventual decline. 

Here's a couple of quotes I saw recently that reflect that desperate desire for an endless passion:

Is it time we stopped looking for one driving passion and allow ourselves to find our purpose and fulfillment from a variety of interests?

DO YOU NEED TO BE PASSIONATE ABOUT YOUR JOB?

I'm noticing it's the same with career choices these days too. Remember when people stayed in the same job for 25 years and received a gold watch? Now we're chopping and changing jobs willy nilly because we're sure there's something better around the corner (I know I've been guilty of this one!) We start in Job A and then we move onto Job B because it looked like it would provide us with more engagement, or better pay, or a promotion, then it starts to become mundane, then before we know it we're looking around for Job C, D or E. Because a job can't just be something we do to bring in an income, it has to be so much more.

Perhaps we need to take a step back and be grateful we have employment and not expect it to provide an all-encompassing life experience? Could we just go to work, do our best, enjoy some of it, put up with other bits, and then come home and find other things to top up what our job doesn't supply us with? Why put all that pressure on ourselves to find the perfect job that meets our every need?

Here's a couple of quotes about unreal job expectations that I found online:

Is it time we stopped looking for one driving passion and allow ourselves to find our purpose and fulfillment from a variety of interests?

WHY NOT HAVE MANY PASSIONS?

I'm wondering if we expect too much from life these days? Our ancestors didn't expect to have jobs that made them leap out of bed with excitement when their alarm went off, they didn't assume their marriages would be fairytales that bards sang about, they didn't have one driving passion to the exclusion of everything else. Life was hard and they focused on getting through each day with their level of happiness and fulfillment being measured by having a job that put food on the table, and a healthy family was an added bonus.

It seems that today we have more time, and the hand to mouth existence of our predecessors has long gone. So, instead, we're looking to find one powerful focus and pour all our energy and attention into it. If we don't feel a whole-hearted 100% commitment to it then we should walk away and find something else - because it must be the wrong thing for us. Maybe we've gone too far down the rabbit hole of self-indulgence and it's time to pull back a little?

For me, this means spreading my need for fulfillment over several areas - some will have more meaning and commitment, some will have less - but together they fill my life with variety and purpose and joy. By approaching life like this, it takes the pressure off my husband to be my one consuming love, it stops my job being "who I am", and it frees me to enjoy each of my interests without my expectations being dashed when they don't meet my every need, or bring me to peaks of happiness every day.

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Do you think we can only have one "Grand Passion"? Or are you spreading your focus around and enjoying lots of little passions in life? Our First World lives have certainly changed how we look at things, and I hope we're not constantly setting ourselves up for disappointment by expecting too much of one particular aspect of our lives.


It's time to consider living life with enthusiasm rather than locking yourself into just one passion. #life #passion

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23 comments

  1. What a great post. I have often thought that being told that you must find your passion in life puts a lot of pressure on people, especially young people. I have seen plenty of people get so involved in one passion to the exclusion of exploring more well rounded lives who then wake up one day and wonder what they have missed. I like your take on it. Enthusiasm is a fantastic alternative #abitofeverything

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    1. I totally agree - I spent way too long looking for something to have as a passion - now I just share the love around :)

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  2. Love your post too. I guess reading, writing and walking are my passions. I don't have a spouse so I do have a BFF by default---we've survived marriages, deaths and everything in between, but I like having different friends for different activities and moods---and not having one "crowd"
    I'm never able to sign into my regular google + account or my blog on yours so I usually don't comment but really wanted to!
    http://courtingdestiny.com/2015/11/some-travel-stories-911-paris-and-me/

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    1. thanks so much for finding a way to comment - I think we all need someone close or something special, but I like the idea of not being exclusive or precious about one particular "passion"

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  3. if you need to define a passion for someone, broaden it. it can be your passion is "curiosity" or "learning" or "growing" that's what I do...I'm interested in so many things. I feel like I have to have an answer ready for people so they don't bug me with "what's your passion" or "you gotta find your passion" anymore. lol.

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    1. Me either Karen - I think they've narrowed their lives down to one thing and that's not my idea of a life well lived (and I'm not going to defend it anymore either).

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  4. enthusiasm goes a long way in life. I find that to be especially true in my relationships with my grown children and my Grands. Why be critical? Be enthusiastic. Learn about their interests. (American Girl dolls have their Up side. the back stories of the dolls open the way to a page in history.] Expand your universe. You've said it better than I have but no matter how you put it, it's a key to a life that has some bounce in it.

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    1. I love the idea that we can invest in more than one area of life - that we can spread ourselves around and share love and be positive rather than pouring it all into one particular thing.

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  5. [ Smiles ] If we all discovered what it is that we are passionate about, we would be on our way to a blissful journey!

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    1. I agree Renard - there are so many things in life to get excited about and that's what makes it all so interesting!

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  6. I have a passion for life - full stop! I don't want to just have one passion but I want to experience all that life has to give so I totally agree with all you have written, Leanne. Thanks for linking up and sharing with us at #WednesdaysWisdom.

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    1. me too Sue - no locking myself into one thing - I want to fall in love with lots of things and I think it keeps us interesting :)

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  7. What a lovely lovely post! You write so well and so interestingly - I agree with you - love when shared only expands! Hope to see you again at #abitofeverything.

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    1. thank you for your lovely compliment and I am a great believer in expanding love :)

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  8. Leanne, this is so true, we need to open ourselves to others, to love and receive love. Sometimes it is so hard to do. We open ourselves to joy and pain at the same time.

    I think that your model for life is a great one, experience all you can, enjoy the time. When I was single I said I was looking for a man with ambition. People would look at me oddly, thinking I was only looking for a man that was financially successful. Then I would explain that I wanted a man who ambitiously explored everything in life. That was ambitious about pursuing me, a good life, a family, hobbies, friends, good food and drink. I think it's the same quality as you are using "enthusiast". We get so bogged down with life that it seems impossible to be enthused or ambitious, but if we could change our perspective life would be more, bigger, better! Good for you!

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    1. thanks Nikki - I think it's about spreading your net wide - not just hunting for one thing to focus all your energies on. I think that can be quite selfish, it's far better to invest yourself widely and enjoy the relationships and a little adventure along the way.

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  9. Very well said my friend! It makes a lot of sense when you put it that way. I remember you telling me once that you didn't like the "passion" thing. I'm binge reading tonight trying to get everyone caught up.

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    1. I think it's the idea of only having one thing you focus all your energies on that I don't like Rena - I think we are bigger than that and have room for lots of "passions"

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  10. Yes indeed! I completely agree, actually I wonder whether you saw into my mind and these are my words! I think you are absolutely right and this is why my blog was born. You only get one life and you should love it and live it the best you can. Don't limit yourself with can't, won't, tomorrow or anything else you might regret. Great post Leanne!

    Sally @ Life Loving
    #LifeLovingLinkie

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    1. thanks Sally - I feel like that is the theme of my blog too - find things you love and get on with doing them. Don't limit yourself trying to drill down to just one "passion" get out there and try lots of things!

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  11. Thank you so much for sharing with us at #JoyHopeLive!

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Thanks so much for your comment - it's where the connection begins.
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