“Choose a career that you’re passionate about and you won’t ever work a day in your life!” From a young age we’re taught to follow our passion and pursue it fully. But what happens to those of us who have many or none?
For someone like myself, a multipotentialite (as coined by Emilie Wapnick), passion easily and quickly gets twisted up in all affairs. Without one specific talent, one subject to pour myself into, one thing to dive deep into, I’ve learned that passion is also fleeting.
Often confused with excitement, passion is talked about like a hot burst of energy and burning light, like a freshly struck match, that burns out in a matter of seconds. In truth, passion is what stays behind when the excitement wears off and late nights blossom. For some of us, passion is the pursuit of knowing; rich curiosity that is rewarded in the journey of pursuing it.
The Greek root means, “to suffer” which I identify with best. To be so infatuated with something that I can’t get enough. Suffering in my wanting and awareness of how little I know and how far I need to go to be a master of this new interest. This ties into excitement yet in a different way. Excitement is more fresh, when everything is going well and all the possibilities are open.
“Suffering a new passion” is seeing all the possibilities and feeling the weight of the exciting journey to get there.
For me passion is as dark and sweetly bitter as good chocolate, as I know it won’t last forever. My life interests are varied and change strongly like waves from a hurricane as I grow and mature.
For years I have felt lonely, disenfranchised and so many times finding desperate jealousy pouring from my eyes when listening to so many people engage their passions for the long term. The questions “What do you want to be?” “What are you passionate about?” unhelpful as only one answer seems to be allowed and I have a list. My eclectic resume covering (currently) six separate and unaffiliated industries is viewed as immature and disappointing. “She should have a career by now…” written across their faces through their fake smiles and borderline offensive follow up questions. My internal question to myself: “what’s wrong with me?” A sense of failure creeping over me.
The feelings of lost wandering drip from my eyes when I put too much stock in a specialized world’s words. When the passion is gone, for various reasons, all of which are valid and sound.
I have come to realize the common thread and the underlying passion though. I’m passionate about knowing. With acceptance and love of my completely, shockingly varied resume, I’ve found my expertise. The expertise of learning. Because I have spanned so many industries, worked from the bottom to the top in each, my brain sees patterns differently. I’m not mired down to one way of thinking but have shared many ways of strategizing that apply to every facet of my life. I have a passion that is an entire universe and I’m discovering day by day that part of my universe-size passion is sharing that with anyone who values it. I have yet to meet a person that I can’t intelligently converse with about some topic. My experiences are just too broad to not allow that. Having once shared that passion I can fully appreciate theirs and soak in their knowledge while they speak candidly, without boredom or wanting to steer back to myself.
To the specialists in the world: I value you and appreciate your focus. I love that you know the in’s and out’s of your subject on such a deep level that I could get lost in it. I revel in that.
To my fellow multipotentialites: hold you head steady and your chin level. Accept your loves and passions, all of them, and accept the love of starting over. Allow yourself to get excited at new adventures. The success and lessons we experience along the way are sweet and delectable, remember, we’re lucky we get so many of them.