Tuesday, August 3, 2010

An Epiphany: A Short Essay on Passion

I had an epiphany.

One night, I was watching Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe and he said something that fascinated me: "Don't follow your passion; take your passion with you." It made total sense. To follow your passion is a traditional piece of advice one generation gives to the next, but it is totally fallacious. Take me, for example. I tried to follow my passion, and now I find myself unemployable. Rowe said a person's passions are too important to keep at a distance ahead of them; they should be kept close at their side.

So, don't follow your passion. Even if you end up employable after following your passion, your passion becomes your work. When has that ever ended well? I know there are several divorcees who will answer with a resounding "not freaking often."

How many people love their jobs? Not many. Really not many. So, if following your passion leads to a lucrative career, you lose. Your passion will burn out, and you'll be stuck with a joyless, passionless life. It's far better to enter a field you could see yourself doing in an "eh, why not?" kind of way, then leaving your work at the office, and coming home with your passion intact. That way, you have a stable support structure in place that will allow for some recreational passion. Which will lead to a more fulfilled life.

You're not your job. Your life doesn't revolve around your career. Your passion should not be spent on something as petty as your work. If it is, you'll be surprised how fast you burn through it. Don't follow your passion; take your passion with you. I love it.

Dwelling in the Dark part 2

Nostalgia and regret keep me awake
Golden street lights shine through a small thicket in the black sky
More chlorine than water in my glass.

If I could perform a massive rewind and fix one mistake,
Would I do it?
How many butterflies would I crush?
One? Twenty?
What would I lose?
Would it be too much for one decision?
What is the cost of a sentence never spoken?
A look?
A touch?
Guilty memories, regrets, chagrin, are fresh forever--
A rotten apple at the bottom of a bushel.
A simple thought rekindles the pain--
It burns as bright as fresh blood.
Happy memories age and fade.
Every accomplishment molds from the bottom up.
The rotten endure.

Defeat haunts me.
It clouds my judgment and renders simple choices impossible.
One overshadows them all.
If I had the chance, would I undo it,
And replace the rotten with the ripe just to watch it wilt?
Or would I watch as my rock rolled down again,
And I, with chlorine-water in hand, begin to push it back up
Into the night sky?
My own personal hell?

I can't not be what I was.
I can only be what I am.