A note on passions

Why do our passions seem to fade as we age?

One of the things that I love the most about spending time with children is how they are passionate about everything, everything is new to them, their little minds scream out for discovery and they see the beauty and joy in whatever they come across. I often find myself jealous of them, and, being an empath type creature, my joy is fueled by theirs, as I see the beauty of this world through their eyes, I can feel it for myself as well.

I remember being a kid, how every twisted path through a forest held the potential of adventure, every swirl of water in a stream would make me think and wonder at what was causing it, and being exposed to technology at such a young age made me marvel at how these fat off-white boxes could make all of those wonderful experiences appear on our TV set. I remember calling in sick to finish reading a book that I was entranced with, feeling the emotions of the characters, living their lives, wanting to know what happened as much as they did, reveling in their victories, crying at their defeats. Discovering new music and wanting to understand everything about it, picking apart the lyrics, finding my own meaning within, wondering how they made their instruments make those wonderful sounds, wanting to know the people behind the music, what made them see the world that way?, how did they create these beautiful pieces that moved me so much?

But then life continues, responsibilities mount, we answer so many of those questions that baffled us when we were younger, and the answers never held the same level of magic as the questions seemed to offer. Eddies and currents twist the water just so, adjusted by the rocks in its path, and usually, there was no real adventure at the end of those forest paths, no little hut holding mysteries for you to unravel, no buried treasure, beautiful nature sure, but after a while, even passion for that faded.

Then we find ourselves older, more mature, more adult, the routine of life sets in, and we often wonder, what happened?, where did it all go?.

I met a couple of interesting people this past weekend which got me thinking about this. The first, a young woman, mid-late twenties I’m guessing, who was busy practicing her instrument of choice. I listened to her for a couple of hours while playing games with another friend, doing her warm up exercises, hammering difficult passages over and over again, and seeing the absolute joy in her face as she figures out the correct fingering on a particularly difficult riff and comes to explain to us how she did it, happy to share her discovery, and joyous for herself that she finally did it. At one point after examining her instrument, I asked her how much it cost as I know nothing about these types of instruments, and her answer made my jaw hit the floor. You must do this professionally I asked, and the answer was just as shocking as the price, this is a hobby for her.

Now that is passion

But granted, she is still young, may not have had the passions beat out of her by life, responsibility, I know nothing of her personal story, I can’t come to any form of conclusion or truly learn anything from this encounter except for respect for her dedication to her passion, which I truly do respect and admire.

The one that really impressed me though was an older man in his seventies. I had learned some of his story through my friend who was nice enough to invite me up to her cottage, and it was the type of story that just makes me want to learn more, which I won’t get into in any more depth out of respect for anonymity. We went to the cottage that he shares with his wife and he showed me all of their projects, all the work that he and his wife have done on their building, and I could see that twinkle in his eye as he talked, the same type of twinkle that I saw in the young musicians eye, the type of twinkle that you take for granted from children. He showed me the stockpile of raw materials, bigger than any I’ve seen for  someone who doesn’t build professionally, the trees they had cut down to make more building materials (just that morning mind you), how they had wanted a place to put a picnic table so they built a beautiful extension to their deck, the add-ons they had put onto the house, he was like a kid bouncing around happily going “and this!” “and that!”, and it really made my soul smile.

He isn’t doing any of this to prove anything, or to be the best at anything, or to make money, or further his career, he may not even be around long enough to see his vast myriad of projects finished, but none of this matters for him. He simply wants to create, to *do*, and to feel the joy that this brings him for no other reason than he enjoys it.

Absolutely beautiful.

If these two can maintain their passions, why can’t the rest of us?.

It got me wondering where my own passions have gone, the chills I would get when a new book or movie was about to be released that I had been waiting for, a new technological breakthrough that could change the world. I used to be quite the techie, always researching, always hunting for more, always entranced by the possibilities that came with it, always wanting to be a part of it. I truly miss sitting down with a fresh book in my hands, excited at what reading it would bring me. I miss wanting to rush home at the end of a day of school or work to continue working on my own projects. I may be enjoying life right now, actually enjoying being single even though I can’t wait to know who my next real partner will be, maybe I already know them, or they may still be a shadow of potential that I have yet to meld my energies with, so even though life is pretty darn good, there is a longing for this type of passion within me and I’m not sure how to satisfy it.

I want that twinkle in my own eyes….

The only love that has never left me is for music, discovering the new, seeing what truly gifted people have created, hunting through the shit for diamonds, then devouring it, listening to it over and over, learning about it, soaking myself in it, feeling it change me. I’ve always wanted to be a part of that, yet those self defeating thoughts come back, I’ll never be able to create something as beautiful, I’ll never be good enough to do this or that, I’ll never be a musician travelling the world sharing my music, and while I enjoy listening to it and discovering it, and while I’m a decent bass guitar player, those bullshit ideals hold me back from truly learning how to play, how to read, I never learned enough of the basics to start creating. I can hear my fathers voice in my head saying if you’re going to do something, be the best, otherwise don’t bother, perhaps that horrible lesson has become more of a core aspect of my psyche than I had realized….

I have discovered a love of writing, and I like to think I’m pretty good at it (even though in the end, that shouldn’t matter should it?), but as anyone who reads here can see, it is very sporadic. Occasionally something gets in my head that I want to explore through writing, and I will rush home to do so (or just start working on it while at the office, the importance of exploring this idea overriding my actual work), but this doesn’t come as often as I like. I know I want to write a book, semi autobiographical, or at least drawing from my own wide range of experiences. I know the opening line, the ultimate purpose of it, and how I want it to end, but I’ve yet to put pen to paper on it, telling myself that I have more living to do before I’ll be able to write it properly, knowing that this excuse is horseshit, and that it’s the same self limiting beliefs that are holding me back, not good enough, not perfect, waste of time, etc…

Actually, thinking about all of this as I sit here in my PJs writing, there is one thing that still brings that twinkle to my eye, a passion I do revel in, one where I don’t need to be the best in (probably because there is no way of measuring this), and that is people. I love people, sharing with them, listening to their experiences and sharing my own, exploring what we each see as reality through each others eyes, being changed by their stories as they are changed by mine, debating ideas and ideals, thinking thoughts we’ve never thought before, there is so much beauty in this, and no purpose other than to grow, share, explore, and open minds of others as my own is opened by theirs. People interest me, I love trying to figure out one’s motivations for the choices that they have made, which in turn allows me to explore my own in more depth, gathering those variables that make people who they are, seeing the patterns and archetypes in all of us unique little snowflakes. I’ve traveled a lot in this world, yet the places I’ve been to have never captured my attention, interest, memories, more than the people I have met there, seeing the world through eyes of different cultures, seeing the similarities that make us all part of the human race, seeing the motivations that make us travel through the world as we do. Knowing that there is an infinite pool of experiences and outlooks to share truly excites me, keeps me going out, talking to people, meeting new realities behind their eyes, it’s incredible.

So where was I going with all of this?, feel like I wrote myself into a corner again. Is there a lesson in here for me?

Does there need to be a lesson?

As I stated, not being the best, not changing the world, not being able to make money out of something, these useless ideas hold me back from pursuing things that do bring me happiness. Why invest so much time in something if I don’t get X out of it, what’s the point?, why waste your time?. Why keep practicing my staff work if I’m not going to end up performing?, why start on my book if no one will care or read it or make me the world’s greatest and most insightful author?, why really learn the bass if I’m not going to be part of a band that tours the world?.

Perhaps the answer is as simple as….. why not?

If it makes you smile, do it, no thought to the outcome, no need for explanations or justifications, just do it

Very very few of us are going to change the world, or be the best at anything, or be able to sustain ourselves financially out of our passions, but that’s not the point.

Each time we share our passions, our loves, ourselves, we do change the world. We change our own world, we make our own world brighter and more joyous, we may connect with one single other person and change theirs just a wee little bit as they change ours. If we change each other’s world with love and joy, that in itself is a beautiful thing, and maybe if we’re lucky, we’ll see the twinkle in that persons eye, and just maybe even feel it in our own.

Sounds like a good reason to me


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