I was at work attending a training. And lucky for us the company had provided lunch so we didn’t have to spend our hard earned pennies. At lunch one of the attendees sat next to me, and we started talking about what kind of jobs we would be passionate about. She had graduated from the university only a year ago, and she needed a job, so here she was. I told her I was a writer and needed a day job so here I was.
“How long have you worked on your book?” she asked.
“Five, six years,” I said.
Her jaw dropped. “And you haven’t given up?”
I laughed out loud.
I tried to explain to her writing was something I had to do. She didn't understand, so I wanted to use the sex example: Don’t you wanna have sex with someone just for the simple pleasure of it?
But of course that would invite a call from the human resource department, and my day job would see its sunset. I’d welcome it but eating food and having a roof over my head is kinda important.
So I had to use the watered down version: Haven’t you seen a beautiful man and have a yearning to talk to him, get to know him, see what’s he like?
She thought about it for a moment, and I could feel the veil of conservatism drape over her. “I don’t know.”
This woman had graduated from UC Berkeley, a renowned university in California. Tens of thousands of high school grads apply to be a Cal Grizzly every year, and only a select few (thousands?) are admitted, the best of the best. Some of the finest young men and women. We’re still talking about high schoolers, right? And this fine university doesn’t talk about passion? Maybe in their philosophy classes where it dies at the end of the semester.
Now, I’m not saying that there aren’t students who are passionate about what they’re studying, but they seem to be in very specific fields like math, history, or drama as examples. But the majority of the students have to study something that is practical, something that will earn them a living. Cool. But is that all life is about? Earnin’ a paycheck so we can go to the local brewery and chug it down? Or go to parties and have small talk all night only to come home wanting more?
I may not make it as a writer, but having passion, or doing something you love, or at the very least having a hobby is vastly important. Because no matter the material riches that anyone hordes, once they die, they leave it behind. So the experience of loving something, such as your children, your book, your sculpture, helps give meaning to being alive.