It’s another day of quarantine and I’m on my phone, scrolling through Instagram…again.
I’m reading a post from my favorite writer about how important it is to “find your passion.”
She goes on to say how broke she used to be, and how because she found writing, she now brings home six figures a year.
Her page is flooded with photos that are perfectly candid, with inspirational captions and hipster clichés.
My passion right now is this bag of chips in my lap.
I used to be all about mantras and vision boards, and I suppose there is a time and a place for those. However, after months of trying to be a person I wasn’t, I accepted the fact that phrases like “find your passion” annoy me. It’s not so much that they annoy me, I guess, but more that everyone is so quick to throw the phrase out like it’s a process that everyone should just get.
Easier said than done.
Most of us have heard it. Everyone wants to find their passion. Who wouldn’t want that?
But, what if I have no fucking idea what my passion is?
I mean, I like food. I like chips, clearly. I enjoy camping. I like sex.
But my passion? How do I find that? How do I become one of those elite people that “finds their passion”?
It’s a cute idea in theory, but what is the practical application of finding it?
I’m here to tell you a secret: there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this. Surprise.
And I don’t think a three-month long quarantine is a healthy incubus for finding your life’s work. Is this an opportunity? Sure! The silver lining here is that there has been nothing else to do except stare our own existence in the face.
Let me disclaimer the following: there’s no rule saying that the stay-at-home order means we must suddenly become deeply spiritual or go vegan. If those things make you feel like a better person, great. But if not, that’s okay too.
We put so much weight on ourselves to find our life’s passion that we end up on social media, while eating chips, feeling totally overwhelmed. Just the word “passion” makes me feel clammy. It’s a unicorn concept that is only reserved for heart surgeons, or Oprah, or the people I follow on Instagram.
If you feel the need to succumb to the social pressures of being productive while going through a traumatic event like quarantine, I would encourage you to do the following:
Get a pen. And some paper. Or open your phone if that’s your jam. You just need something to write some notes.
Take some deep breaths in through your nose, and out through your mouth. Relax the muscles in your face and hands. Clear your mind.
Ask yourself these questions with the most honest intention. Write down the first thing you think of:
1. If I could do any activity, anything, right now, what would it be?
2. If bills did not exist, how would I spend my time?
3. What do I spend hours watching on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, or Netflix?
Look at your answers.
If the activity you want to be doing is hiking, think about volunteering as a park ranger.
Would you love to start a charity if personal bills didn’t exist? Join the board for a nonprofit.
Whatever you prefer to spend your time doing will be the thing that you will put the most effort and dedication into. This is organic success at it’s finest.
If your living expenses weren’t a factor, would you have gone to that technical school to become a glassblower like you always dreamed of?
Think about where your life has taken you because of the need to earn money and provide for yourself. Did you go to college for business, because you always wanted to? Or because you knew it was a secure future?
While killing time in the line at the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles), what videos are you watching? Are you addicted to crime TV? Maybe you always dreamed of being a police officer.
Love videos of animal rescues? Maybe you always wanted to be a vet tech.
If you ask yourself these questions and you can’t think of answers, that’s okay. You’re not alone.
Challenge yourself to read a few books or listen to a few podcasts to gauge your interests in life. Ask your friends and family what they think your strengths are. Use your resources.
The self-help world tells us, “do what sets your soul on fire.” I’m not certain I fully understand what that means, and it sounds dangerous anyway. At the end of the day, if you do want to find your passion, the first step is to let go. Don’t be too hard on yourself or others.
After quarantine is over and we all go back to our hustle and bustle, create time to pause. Don’t wait for a pandemic to care about your life.
And listen to that inner voice of yours—even if she tells you to eat some chips every once in a while.