The Romanticization of Passion

It’s a romantic thought, isn’t it - it seems we students are urged every day to “find our passion” and follow it relentlessly. It’s a kind of novelty that is almost paraded more than it is appreciated, and is essentially another version of finding “the one”. But how much do we begin to lose ourselves in the race to find and maintain these passions, when instead we could accept the fact that maybe, just maybe, not everyone is meant to have a passion. We don’t consider this or even give it a chance in a world in which we are constantly told, "if you do what you love, it never feels like a job!" Since when did passion have to be connected to anything besides the enjoyment of participating in something? When did it become a matter of prepping your LinkedIn page, or polishing off your cyber-identity? Now it would be dishonest to not mention how I thoroughly admire anyone who has realized his or her passion early on and was able to go for it. That consists of everyone I know (and don’t) who has dedicated a summer volunteering in Asia, interning in Europe, or saving wildlife in the Arctic. The fact that so many people my age have gotten so much figured out, to me, is nothing short of brilliant. However, my issue in this is a simple fact that is often forgotten: everyone is different. I’ve been longing to find, discover and meet my passion for months now. I’m waiting for that spark, the one that will make me realize I want to dedicate my life to something. I knew it became a problem when I began to desperately latch myself onto every possible passion that was out there and formulate my persona around it. The very fact that I was constantly searching for a passion of my own in an environment in which I felt like every single one of my peers had something more, was becoming destructive. It turned into a hideously guilty habit that I couldn’t stop myself from doing, and that quickly turned into self-pity. Eventually, however, the sneaking feeling of self-doubt and sheer panic at feeling behind settled in, and I felt ridiculous for the simple fact that I was treating my goals as if I had belonged to a larger race against time, and I'm barely 20.  The bigger question is, do you really need to find a passion in life, or isn’t it enough to have a bunch of interests that you love? If there’s anything so many of us are guilty of doing, it’s all those late nights spent feeling like we're falling behind with what's going on in our lives while the rest of the world is farther ahead. The constant quest to find a passion can end up being a catalyst for doubt and an even bigger obstacle for our developing identities. The pressures of needing to find your unique passion as a brand for yourself to the world turns into a search that gets in the way of so many greater things, and it ultimately limits ourselves in the cruelest of ways. Maybe it's time some of us started rethinking the whole finding-a-passion thing. -Vahini    

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