We have passions – all of us.
Some require dim lighting and a blank canvas, while others require a well-lit room and plenty of heartbreak, a sheet of paper, a ballpoint pen and a freshly uncorked bottle of whiskey. Some require a surgical floor, bodies on the table, carved open and needing saving.
Others require a standing-room-only lecture, deciphering and differentiating cultures, war and humanity, a conversation on race and gender, a discussion on the lenses through which we view the world.
We all have our passions. We all have the things that drive us.
When we are young, we’re taught to love many things: each other, our neighbors, Saturday morning cartoons, hot summer nights, hot chocolate on a cold winter’s day, sleigh-riding, boogie-boarding. We’re taught to have many passions, to have many likes, to have many loves.
We’re taught that it’s important to be inclusive, to make lots of friends and to have many hobbies. We’re taught to be good at many things – not just math, but English, too. Not just football, but baseball as well – so that we’re never boxed too tightly into one corner. So that we don’t just haveone thing and then nothing to fall back on.
We’re taught that it’s better to spread ourselves thin, to have many things so that there is alwayssomething to catch us. We’re taught that if we love things enough, they will keep us afloat.
We’re never taught to love the thing that kills us… but maybe we should be.
As we age, we quickly discover that we can’t always love everything – there has to be a lot of give and some take. We can’t have all the things, we just need to have a few and that few is enough.
We learn, usually the hard way, that it’s not quantity but quality for so many things: friends, skills, activities, hobbies, careers, partners. We learn that there are few things, small quantities, big qualities, that matter. They are the things that we continue to fight for, to strive for, to live for and, eventually, to die for.
Do I mean literally die? Not always, though history has proven time and time again that artists, writers, thinkers and dreamers have paid the highest cost for their work: They’ve paid in full for their crafts with their lives.
But for some of us, it isn’t the literal dying that’s important. It’s the proverbial dying. It’s the loving something so much that without it, you’re cut from the life support that sustains you. You’re empty, organ-less, brainless and soulless. You’re heartless.
Life without the thing you love is not living, on that we can agree. Whether it’s the dimly lit room, the half-empty bottle of whiskey waiting for us when we’ve finally finished the last page, the surgery finished and a life saved – without those things, there is nothing left, but a void where the fullness should be. There is nothing but space. Blank, sprawling, soul-crushing and hollow.
So find the thing you love – and let it seep so far into your blood that it radiates freely through your body. Find it and hold on to it. Grab it, not softly, but aggressively and with both hands. Hold it so tight that the very thought of letting go is deafening and impossible.
Find the things you love and refuse to let go. Refuse to back down, to have it any other way than the way you want it. Don’t let it dance in front of you, tauntingly and teasingly, don’t give it any chance to escape. Don’t let the nearness of it suffocate and paralyze you with fear. Have it – andwant to have it. Take it and keep it.
As we get older, we know what we love. We know that it’s Saturday mornings in bed with coffee, that it’s soft, slow kisses in the arms of someone we love, that it’s pee-in-your-pants-laughter with your best friend after one too many glasses of Pinot noir.
We know that it’s the job at the privately-owned company instead of the corporate empire. That it’s a small office with a view instead of a room full of 25 interns, waiting with bated breath to answer your emails while you pee in the bathroom next door.
As we get older, we know the thing we love. We know it’s that terribly-lit room and blank canvas, a world of opportunity waiting for you. We know it’s the never-ceasing and unforgiving heartbreak, the overpriced bottle of liquid courage and inspiration, we know it’s that page waiting to be filled.
We know it’s that wing of the surgical unit, we know it’s bodies circling the drain, needing saving. We know it’s a life lingering between this world and the next, we know it’s the change to step in and save them.
We know it’s that lecture on humanity and culturalization. We know it’s that never-stopping question and answer series, where all of the answers lead to more questions and all of the questions lead to fewer answers.
As we get older, we know that in order to hold on to the thing we love, we sometimes have to let it kill us. Proverbially, literally. Tomorrow or at some point.
We know that the moment we hold a new life, our soul dangles in the air between the gift we have created and the machine we used to build it, not sure whose love is stronger, whose love is safer, whose love is greater.
We know that being a mother, a CEO, a principal, a professor, a doctor, an engineer – we know that those things that we’ve worked relentlessly toward for so, so long steal a part of our hearts. We’ve followed them so faithfully that again, our soul hangs in midair, wondering which entity to call home.
We know that to love something so much, a career, a person, a dream, a challenge, an event and a memory, we have to give it the power to kill us. But we have to trust it not to. We have to, often blindly, surrender to it, knowing it’s the thing we love. It’s the thing that gives us life.
So when you’re staring down the barrel of what you love – of what gives you life, of what you look forward to today and tomorrow and 35 years from now – when are you face-to-face and eye-to-eye with the thing that maddens you with passion and forces your blood to flow erratically, surrender to it.
Trust it. Know that it will take, but it will give. That it will keep you. That it will feed you, sustain you, that it will be the heart that gives you life.
Know that not having it – learning to go on without that thing you love – will kill you.
*Original Article by Kylie McConville: http://elitedaily.com/money/entrepreneurship/find-something-you-love-to-do-surrender-to-it-and-let-it-kill-you/656662/