What Aromatic Soap and Heart-Shaped Tubs Taught Me About Passion

I find that while most products in the world work, they don't work as they're advertised. Jerry Seinfeld did a stand-up bit about this as it related to soda commercials, but I think it stretches much further then that. Guys, raise your hand if  you have ever just been sitting at a bar drinking a bottle of beer and all of a sudden a shapely young woman with long flowing blonde hair walks up to you and asks for your number. That's Doubtful. The natural reaction then would be to look at the bottle and then take a look around and ask yourself: "What is it exactly that I'm doing wrong here?"

I tried this last year when I was staying at a bed and breakfast by myself and started taking a bath in a heart-shaped jacuzzi tub. I browsed through the bowl of aroma therapy and started pouring in all of these concoctions like romance and passion. I waited and waited and waited. And then finally I waited. And nothing happened. I finally got out after becoming a raisin. It wasn't in fact therapeutic. I didn't feel romantic and I didn't feel passionate.

That's how I think many people approach passion. It's like we need this three-in-one passion kit that once administered, we simply wait for the passion to come. We think about our passions, often writing about them and talking about it with others, waiting for passion with an eager anticipation like a kid waiting for Christmas. Yet that's all that comes about: talking. There are a lot of irrelevant statistics that I hear on a daily basis, but I would be curious to see a stat that discussed the number of people on their deathbeds who regretted not pursuing their passions versus the ones who did pursue their passions. Something tells me that it would be lopsided.

I was a talker. I would write about my passions in a journal, share my ideas with friends, and daydream about those passions. I did this for 27 years. Few passions ever came to fruition and I was in a plight of unhappiness in life. At the bottom of the barrel I made a conscious decision to stop settling and start doing what I wanted to in life.

That was nearly a year and a half ago. Today I find passion permeating every area of my life, even my work, which is often where passion is least evident in most people's lives. There was a time not too long ago when I would wait to the last possible minute to get up and out the door for work, getting there right on time and leaving as soon as I could. Though I'm now my own boss as a freelance writer, I'm up around 7 a.m. and eager to take on my work. I work hard, putting a lot into those 8 to 10 hours, but play harder. I don't work many evenings and weekends and rarely work past lunch on Fridays, using that time instead to go watch a movie, go hiking, or spend the afternoon at a park or the beach. As a freelancer, there's always another buck to make, but I'd rather say on my deathbed that I played too hard than worked too hard. Wouldn't you?

Passion doesn't just come to you. You've got to go get it. I waited 27 years and it never came to me. I took off for nine months to travel last year and used that time to find my passion, but instead found two: travel and writing. I'm lucky to have those passions permeate my whole live, even my work since most of my work is in the travel industry. 27 years of waiting and nothing happened. 9 months of pursuing and my two greatest passions happened. If you want it, you have to go get it.

Do what you want to do. That has become my mantra. I learned this mantra even more so when participating in my first National Novel Writing Month, which challenges people to pen 50,000 words in 30 days over the month of November. While I hadn't written fiction in seven years, I took it on anyways, knowing that writing a book had been something I had always talked about, but hadn't done. On Tuesday afternoon I had a script of 50,000 words and had completed my first National Novel Writing Month, except I finished it in 15 days instead of 30.

"Not I--not anyone else, can travel that road for you, You must travel it for yourself." -Walt Whitman

I tell you this not to show you what I did, but rather motivate you to what you can do. If there's something you want to do, you'll make the time to do it, saying no to many things, while saying yes to the things that matter to help you reach your goal. If you don't know your passions, then that's alright too. Get up and go find out what you're passionate about. Travel to Asia, volunteer at a soup kitchen, take a class, meet with a career coach, go to the library to pick up some books, go to a conference. I don't know you and what your passions are. You've got to be the one who steps up to the edge, looks over, and then jumps. Except I recommend getting a running start. What are you waiting for?

What are your passions? How do you plan on living out your passions?

Hey good lookin'. Fancy seeing you here. This post was a response to BootsnAll's 30 Days of Indie Travel Project, which is a month-long project throughout November that is challenging blogs to respond to daily prompts about topics such as food, cities, the earth, and more. I bet you can't guess today's topic. No, it's not heart-shaped tubs. It's passion. While I've written for BootsnAll, they did not pay me to write this or give me any freebies. I just think they're good people and I was inclined to write about passion after reading Katie Hammel's post: When Work and Play Become One. If you've made it this far, congrats. It's Electronic Greeting Card Day. Nothing says love like an e-card, so send someone an electronic greeting card.