Doing what’s necessary
You’ve established your goals. You’ve visualized your dreams. You’ve taken the time to write that vision down and revel in all it’s glory. You may have even created a gorgeous vision board to bring those dreams to life.
Now, will you do what’s necessary to bring them to life? Will you sacrifice the time, the sweat and the sanity to make those visions come to life?
I’ve asked this before on this blog and I’m returning to the topic for several reasons.
I have several dear friends who are about to embark on the journey of bringing their dreams to life. They usually come to me for advice on how to start or to flesh out the possibilities of their quiet dream. I guess, since I’ve been plugging away at this for so many years, I’ve become somewhat of a go-to person for such advice. And frankly, if I could just get paid to spit out ideas and brainstorm all day- I’d be a happy camper.
And the one thing I can tell them is to check their passion first. Above all else, you must possess sheer passion. You must, MUST have the passion that will fuel the insanely unorthodox decisions you will have to make.
Will your passion comfort you when you leave the unhealthy relationship you’ve been apart of that is a direct wall in your progress towards your dreams?
Will your passion wipe your tears and tell you to keep on going when you walk away from all the familiar people in your life to pursue your ultimate goal?
Will your passion console you when you’re teetering on the edge of insanity because you’ve turned down a $100K job to pursue a dream that can’t even buy you a cup of coffee yet?
Will your passion tell you to keep walking forward, when five years have passed and your dreams are still just out of reach- but you can feel them in your hand?
Will you passion scrape you off the ground and lift your head up when all of your bank accounts are in the red and the creditors come a calling?
Will your passion stand up for you in a room full of your peers as they speak of their 401Ks, their mortgage rates and their flashy new cars and show others that you may not possess those items, but what you possess far surpasses any material item parked in a garage?
Will your passion help you navigate the murky waters of the “real world” and make the decisions necessary to stay true to your goals? And will it continue to navigate, year after year, until you are standing in the reality of your vision board?
I’ve felt a little nostalgic while preparing to return to the Rockies and have been reflecting on all that I’ve become and all that I’ve turned away from in pursuit of my goals. And passion is the reason behind my decisions. So here’s a little look at what my passion has navigated me through- hopefully you’ll pull a lesson or a little comfort from my actions.
Over the years I have walked away from almost everything in my life in pursuit of my dreams. I’ve left several long-term relationships because we hit the point where my passion out weighed our love (or our loathing). I’ve turned away good salaries and 401Ks for idea of something else- something all my own. I’ve gone into debt to learn the necessary skills to become the best at my profession. I’ve missed weddings, births, baby showers, graduations, holidays and other countless occasions with friends and family to chase down my dreams. And now, at 35, I have life that doesn’t fit in the paradigms of the typical social narratives. I’m not sure how or when it happened- well actually, it started in my early 20s and grew from there. And, I’m fine with it, I’m happy about where my passion has guided me. And now my passions are guiding me back to the mountains I love and towards a winter of writing, creating and producing!
And as I pack up my belongings and get ready to hit the road, I’ve been taking a little time to look back on the past year of my life. This year has been insanely random and has tested all my perceptions of self and my passions. My decisions this year were based entirely on my passion and the vision of my dreams on the horizon. I turned down good job offers, walked away from excellent living situations and kept plugging forward, one baby step at a time, towards my dreams.
I even, at age 35, decided to live with my mom for 7 months in order to keep walking towards my dreams. I hadn’t planned it, it wasn’t deliberate, I stopped by for a visit after my walkabout and the time just kept growing. I picked up some local freelance work and then before I knew it, half the summer was gone and I was falling into that demographic of older children who return to live with their parents.
Uh-oh! When the realization of that sunk in, I started to look for my own place. Year leases, insane rents and un-dog friendly landlords squashed that task pretty quick.
So, I stayed. And I fought my inner pessimistic gnomes who kept tossing about the reality of living at home at 35. But, halfway through the summer, my passion stepped up and said, “shut the hell up already! Enjoy your time here and spend every waking moment possible working on your dreams.”
And that’s exactly what I did. I polished the blog, I found a more relevant voice, I embraced the Twitter and found an online community that I love. I connected with people I may have never interacted with if I had been waiting tables or working a real job.
And I’ve enjoyed my time with my mother more than I ever thought possible. It’s truly been a refreshing time to spend with my family and I’ve loved my time with my mom.
I learned to laugh at myself a little more. My passion showed me that not everything is as it appears. My passion propped me up and said “open your eyes and use this wonderful gift of time to propel yourself forward.” My passion took me out of my own head, squashed my ego and forced me to run full speed towards my dream.
Understanding your passions and how they can change over time to reflect the person we are at the moment, is necessary in pursing any goal or dream.
As I embark on this latest stage of my dreams, I feel as though the passion of my past self and my present self are merging at last. It feels as though there’s this happy collision that’s occurring and I just can’t contain the excitement.
My twenties were filled with random adventures, living in amazing places and skiing my ass off. My twenties had its moments- and they really were doozies- but beyond the tragedies of my twenties, I had a damn good time.
And over the past 5 years, as I’ve been working through my 30s, I’ve embraced that part of myself I knew existed in my 20s but could never truly find. The driven photographer, the intense artist, the intellectual person and the successful entrepreneur. This person of my thirties is the vision that caused me to sacrifice so much in my twenties. I knew she existed and I knew I’d never reach her with the relationships I was in and the places in life I found myself.
While those identities of my 30s are still developing, they are now merging with my identities from my 20s and we are all returning to the place in life where I truly felt happy. Standing on top of a mountain, taking it all in and realizing just how fabulous our lives truly are. Then blazing down the hill at ungodly speeds, just because I can.
Sort of a good metaphor for life.
Where did this come from?
This article came about as I was standing in line at Barnes and Noble waiting to order my usual double shot of espresso and trying to figure out what the hell to write about. The girl in front of me was insanely stylish. Seriously, beautifully dressed and for a split second I looked down at my outfit. I was wearing my old “Jesus Sandals” (bought next to his tomb) my 7 year old Patagonia capris (maroon b/c they were on sale) a green top and I hadn’t shaved my legs in a week. I kept this outfit handy because everything is packed away for my move and I was just too lazy to shave.
And as we waited, a vision of this stylish diva’s life passed before me. Yes, I project people’s stories onto them in passing, its a creative habit of mine. I saw the urban diva, working in her store (she had a bank bag on her and was ordering drinks for her staff) with her stylish husband at home and in their cozy little house. And there is nothing wrong with that, there are times when I wish I could have embraced that just for the sheer security of that existence.
Then, I looked down at my sandals- bought on my Palestine adventure and smiled to myself. My passion spoke up and said “yea, you look like you just rolled out of your suitcase and you’re not picking up any men looking like this, but you’re going to Breckenridge tomorrow. To live.”
Oh yea. That makes my outfit totally worth it. And that’s why you need your passion. Everyone needs a compass to navigate these waters.
While studying photojournalism at UNC, I produced a photo story about the Raleigh Roller Derby. Talk about passion- you have got to love this sport to take that kind of a beating! Here are a few of my favorites.