Yesterday, I noted reading two blog posts. One was about the blogger's grandmother's advice regarding extremes.
The other was on Mother Magazine, an article written by Jo Morrison, a mother who was scared to become a mother at all. The article, entitled 'Mom Talk: Finding Your Passion,' details the moment Morrison found out she was pregnant and stood outside her NYC apartment crying, wondering if her 'life was over.'
Morrison writes about the transition to motherhood, the exhaustion and fear and growing small that comes when another person's needs in some ways overshadow your own.
Then, she read a quote by Nelson Mandela that changed her perspective:
There is no passion to be found in playing small - in settling for a life that is less than one you are capable of living.
That quote lit a fire under Morrison, who began rediscovering what her passions were and living a life that honored them.
Morrison's article resonates with me, and many other women, because I often feel myself putting things on the back burner until....later.
Until the kids are gone.
Until my husband is retired.
Until we settle down....for good.
Until I find an agent.
Until I get another degree.
Until the house is clean. (seriously)
As I worked out yesterday and did chores, folding laundry and cooking dinner, I thought a lot about Morrison's article and the idea of passion and whether or not we can live passionate lives if we're tempered by other responsibilities.
This speaks, I think, to yesterday's post about extremes and finding middle ground.
After some thought, I realize my greatest passion is people. My love for aid/international development is a love for people. My desire to write is a desire to hear and create stories about people. I've always been drawn to character-driven fiction because the person at the heart of it is always the point for me.
I love conversations with people, hearing people's stories and watching people, even if they don't know I'm watching, go about daily life.
I think maybe we're all this way, whether we're looking through the lens of a camera or writing a song or building furniture or cooking meals. We do it to find a deeper connection with each other.
I realize that connecting with people and hearing their stories isn't something I have to put off at all. In fact, my life is full of time and opportunity to explore this passion right now.
I think we get stuck in ideas that pursuing our passions means one thing or another: far-flung travel, a tiny cabin in the woods, a certain academic degree or landscape or amount of money. But I also think that doesn't really get to the heart of a thing; it's too surface.
This all reminds me of the Emily Dickinson quote, from her 1855 personal letter to Dr. J. G. Holland:
What is your passion?
If you dig underneath the layers of social expectation, must-dos, should-haves and I-just-need-one-more....what is underneath all of that?
I hope it's been a good week so far. We had a bit of welcomed sunshine yesterday.