The other day, I saw a TikTok about being passionate. The scenario is one person asking someone else about what they were really passionate about as a kid, and the other person’s eyes light up as she starts talking about what her childhood passion was. Eventually, though, she starts to feel self-conscious and apologizes for rambling. The first person stops her and tells her to never apologize for being passionate about something, then asks her to continue where she left off.
It’s been about four days since I’ve seen that, but I keep thinking about it. In roughly 60 seconds, this girl not only showed how beautiful it is when someone starts talking about something they love, but also how ridiculous it is that we’ve been taught to apologize for being that passionate about something.
In my experience, I’ve noticed we’re encouraged to find our passions when we’re young. We’re encouraged to pursue those passions and learn more about whatever they are. We’re congratulated by our parents, our teachers, the adults in our lives, for getting involved in something we love.
But then, we grow up. Sure, some of us may continue working on those passions and possibly even make a career out of them. Some of us may discover new passions that we love and care about just as much as those childhood passions. Most of the time, though, we’re told to focus on something that can make us successful. We’re taught to equate passion with work, and we’re told to be more realistic about the kind of work we can do with our passions.
When we limit ourselves like that, though, we limit what we can be passionate about to what’s within our skill set or what we can make into a career. We start to lose the beauty in passion. Of course, it’s possible to be passionate about our work. In fact, I am a firm believer that we should be passionate about our work. I don’t think, however, that work should be the only thing we’re passionate about.
Think back to when you were younger. What were you really passionate about? What did you spend your free time pursuing or researching or practicing? What could you have spent hours and hours talking about or doing?
I remember a few of mine growing up. The biggest were always music and performing. We have a few home videos and photos from when I was a toddler. I would dress up in different costumes, turn on my little Playskool boombox, and perform dance routines on my “stage,” which, of course, was the area right in front of the front door. I would practice my routines for hours before my performance. As I got into middle school and high school, I joined theatre and show choir. I even did a few shows in college. I’m well aware that I am not a phenomenal performer, and I know I won’t be on Broadway or be a musician or anything like that. It’s not something I want to pursue as a career, but it doesn’t mean I don’t absolutely love performing. Even knowing how much I love it, though, I haven’t really tried to do anything with theatre, music, or performance since graduating. Honestly, I miss it. It was like an escape from everything else going on in life, something I could do for me and for no other reason than to just enjoy it. I know I probably won’t have the time or opportunity to continue doing theatre, but that doesn’t mean I should just stop enjoying performing. I can still sing and dance at home, and I often do, especially with my partner, who’s a music major and extremely talented.
I’m passionate about so many other things, too. Most of them are related to what I want to do or am doing with my life, and that’s amazing. Having this one thing that’s just for me, though, is so powerful and beautiful. Lately, I haven’t spent a lot of time practicing my passion for music and performance, and I’ve noticed myself feeling burnt out. I needed that little reminder that it’s okay to be passionate about something other than work. It’s okay to escape into something I love doing.
Being passionate about something is so beautiful, and I’m sure you all have that one thing that you love to do but don’t think you have the time, talent, resources, skills, or whatever it may be that’s holding you back from just doing it. I want to remind you that you can just do it. Do it for you. You don’t have to do it for anyone else. You don’t have to make money from it. You don’t have to be known for it. Let yourself escape. Let yourself be passionate.
As always, stay safe, and stay healthy.