Is Passion Overrated?

July 26, 2018

How many times have you heard someone our age (under 37) say, “My job is fine, I make good money and I like the people, but it’s not something I’m passionate about.”  And how many times to do you hear someone over 40 say it? Like almost never right?  They are on to something here.  The jadded ones might call it complacency, but actually I think it’s realistic expectations.  Something our generation (those born in 1981 or later – we don’t have a accurate name being sandwiched between Millenials and Gen Y) has yet to make peace with.

I have said this Passionless statement at least 100x so surprisingly, when I heard it from a friend a few weeks ago, it struck me differently.  Maybe hearing it from another friend, another time made me really think – “why are we so concerned with passion?”

How much passion is someone promised in one lifetime?  You want a passionate relationship with your spouse, you want passion in your work AND you want passion in your recreational activities (otherwise, why bother?).  To quote SATC, “you want passions on top of passions?”  For the longest time, my answer to that question was “Yes! I want to wake up each day just tickled pink to do my work, enthusiastic as hell to be with my children and tingling at the sight of my husband.”  And guess what? Day to day life doesn’t offer Passions on top of Passions, most of it is routine and small actions that hopefully eventually lead to something bigger (see: The Compound Effect).  And this left me feeling so hopeless and depressed.  I was expecting triple passions EVERY DAMN DAY and I wasn’t getting it, so therefore, I was a failure at life, love, and motherhood.  No wonder I was depressed.

The truth is, depression is something I have had to deal with a few times in my life, and I have always come out of it after a year or so.  Sometimes with the help of therapy, sometimes anti-depressants and sometimes it just goes away on it’s own. (Where’s the “confused” emoji with the hands up the air as if it say, “I don’t fucking know”?)

Unfortunately, lately there have been a string of high-profile suicides that make me stop and think for a moment.  These people in many cases are rich, famous, beautiful – why are they killing themselves? I always thought that if I was rich, famous and thin (I’m not even concerned with the beauty part) that I’d never be depressed again.  But of course, we can see it doesn’t work that way because too often there are beautiful famous people killing themselves with drugs, alcohol or sadly resorting to suicide.

I’m in no position to be the authority on this.  I can only speak from my own experience kike when I’ve felt, that maybe if I were dead the pain were stop.  Just a casual thought that rolls through on a incredibly low day.  Then I think, well that won’t work and I go for the cookies or something else to numb the pain.  I can only wonder how much pain must be present when that thought rolls through and you think, “yeah that’s the answer”.

My pain for now has stopped increasing though the past year hasn’t been easy.  I have been battling the depression just about a year now and I’m starting to wonder when it’s going to take a holiday.  I’m working on it in all the conventional ways and also dealing with some other underlying health issues, but I feel confident that I’m making progress.

So that’s why when this passion statement hit my in the face again, I decided to sit with it for a while.  I’ve been marinating on it.  And ultimately, this is where I landed, “How important is passion to my happiness?”

How important is passion in my job related to my satisfaction with the job?

How important is passion in my marriage related to my overall happiness in my choice?

How important is passion in my recreational life (not work, not family) related to my excitement for it?

I have a life coaching client right now and she told me that sometimes she’s bored at her job even though it’s something she loves and is successful at.  And I told her that job’s are repetitive, that’s basically the definition of a job.  Learn one thing and do it well, over and over and over again.  When I worked in cosmetics at Lord and Taylor do you know how many make overs I did?  A LOT.  Do you know how many times I gave the same training presentation when I worked in education for skincare brand? A LOT. Do you know how many times I have helped someone get started with their 30 Cleansing program and said the same script? A LOT.  This is what a job is, it’s repetition. And after a while, it can get boring.  It’s part of it.

So then we look to other areas of life to find that excitement.  Relationships, kids, friends, activities.  That can work.  Also making a lot of money at your job helps I think!

But it’s gonna happen so why are we so down about that? Why are we still looking for passion?!? Society tells us to.  Give up your boring job and chase your dreams kind of stuff.  Which, btw, I am not AGAINST.  What I’m against is putting all your passion eggs in one basket, regardless of which basket it is.

I think part of the reason I went into a depression last year is because I had happiness expectations that were taken from fantasy rather than from my own life.  For many years I’d had zero life outside work and family and that was really starting to stifle me (and make me lose passion for everything).  I had expectations on myself that were just not realistic.  I beat myself up over every little thing, all the time.  It was exhausting and it made me never appreciate when there was success or happiness, because I always felt like there was one more thing I could have done or done better.  It takes a lot of work to stop that cycle to, I’m constantly acknowledging myself for the little things to create a new, healthier, self-talk.

What would it be like to find happiness in the repetition of life? What would it be like to stop looking for passion in everything we do? What if we didn’t have to constantly try to “Have it All”?  What is life was all about ease?  Hmm, that sounds really good to me.  I’m going for that this summer, EASE.




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