Find your passion

Looking out the window at all the concrete here I’ve begun thinking about the next step in my life. Passion came to mind. What is my passion? By nature, by definition, I should know. Right?

All the books. All the experts. They all say to find your passion.

What does passion mean?

The definition says it is a strong, powerful, compelling emotion. Desire or fondness towards someone or something. Lust.

What does that mean?

IMG_1696I mean, I understand what the words mean, how they work in context with each other, how they jump off the page and infiltrate my skull and bounce around the mysterious inner workings, looking for connections to make sense. I know what passion means.

I don’t know what passion is.

Recently, I discovered the curiously compelling world of Criminal Minds. I’ve always appreciated an interest in abnormal psychology and the show illustrates that to great effect. I found the writing quite good and the characters engaging. Traits are doled out slowly and begin to reveal motivations for doing what they do. In essence, there was something during their childhood that drove them towards their occupation as FBI profilers.

Something makes them tick. I don’t want to delve into any more details because I don’t want to ruin the show. It’s a great example of character driven crime drama.

IMG_4118Then I read a book; the main character has clear passion. Her motivation is a defined and monumental moment from childhood. Another television series comes up. Passion defined. Passion everywhere.

Passion began to look like obsession, even addiction. It sure is a fine line, to be sure. Passion has a healthy connotation full of positive encounters and productive enterprises. Obsession and addiction, on the other hand, lead down a pit full of sharp spikes.

So I started searching my childhood for that one thing, that special motivation that changed my life and pushed me toward and inevitable conclusion. Passion.

Nothing. There is no defining moment in my life. No motivation to push me towards that clear goal.

Then it made sense.

IMG_2192I’m an alcoholic. I have addiction. That’s passion. The problem is that I’ve been sober for close to nine years now. Those nine years have been spent controlling my passion, staying away from it at all costs, acting paranoid because it could creep around any corner without warning. I’ve been living in fear since that decisive, chilly day in April.

Consciously, I want to redirect that negative passion into positive, productive endeavors. But perhaps there is a part of me that fears the power of passion. Because it is powerful. Releasing myself to it could lead to another detrimental experience; a deeper, darker hole that I might not be able to crawl out of.

I must admit, sharing this is very difficult. I’m not looking for empathy, pity, or sadness. I made my decision and I’m sticking to it. I’m just exploring a concept that has become central to our modern time and how it relates to me. Finding passion is the new American Dream. It permeates every aspect of our culture from popular entertainment to education to religion. Passion is everywhere and has become a homogenous entity expected as a recognized privilege. Well, not a privilege, an entitlement. We deserve to find our passion.

Be careful what you wish for.

As I near the end of my blathering tirade, George Harrison’s “Got My Mind Set On You” came up on my random playlist. The outlook looks bleak, but it isn’t all bad.

IMG_4246The very nature of passion makes it uncontrollable, but if we can manage to redirect that thing, convince it, if you will, to find positive and productive endeavors to focus on, we will be able to walk out of that pit with our heads looking ahead and all around. To finally seize life rather than be manipulated by it.

Is it true passion?

I don’t know. I don’t care. It’s all I have.

“Follow your bliss.” – Joseph Campbell

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About Matthew J. Durocher

Matthew Durocher is a graduate of Michigan Tech University. He acquired his BA in English along with a minor in Music Composition and a certificate in Writing in Spring 2012. His style is one of passion and musicality. One foot is firmly rooted in tradition while the other slides dangerously close to the clouds.
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3 Responses to Find your passion

  1. Mabel Kwong says:

    This is probably the most emotional, darkest yet thought-provoking piece from you. You asked a very good question there: What exactly is passion? Passion can definitely be an obsession and an addiction. Is passion something we love doing and makes us feel better? I guess… For me, passion is writing and sharing. Yes, there are moments when I’m writing that I feel liberated, free and on top of the world, but there are also a lot of moments where I literally pull my hair out in frustration when I can’t put my emotions into words – and you can say in this instance I can’t control passion controlling me.

    Very sorry to hear you live in fear since that day in April. But I definitely applaud you for sticking to your guns and staying sober. I like how you end of on a positive note saying we should seize life. Wake up each day with a positive mindset and things will fall into place :)

    • Always great to hear from you! Writing has become that one constant in my life that just won’t go away. I’m not sure what that means, but it sure feels good. Although, sometimes it feels like blood, sweat, and tears are literally on the page. Every time I write something I am surprised at how physical the act of writing is, not to mention the emotional turmoil. Maybe that is passion?

      Going on nine years now alcohol free. Every day I learn something new about myself. And every day I go without alcohol is a successful day. The fear is motivating, not debilitating, and that helps me wake up with that positive mindset. Thank you so much! Your words always make me feel better.

      • Mabel Kwong says:

        It’s always nice seeing a post from you! I think you hit the nail on the head there – writing is indeed a physical act and an emotional rollercoaster one at the same time. A lot of the time i feel very frustrated with writing, have trouble with putting emotions into words but in the end, once that it’s done, it feels…strangely good and electrifying and the feeling “I want to do it all over again”. When I write, I get lost in my own bubble and the world falls away. Sounds like you do too :)

        Almost a decade alcohol free. What a great achievement. I’m on a 100-day chocolate fast. Did that last year, I can sure do it again. Don’t know about waking up with fear each day. Yeah, it can be a positive motivating factor and works for some people. Personally, I believe positivity comes from the heart. What we set our heart to, there’s no reason why we can’t achieve what we want to achieve.

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