Sunday, June 7, 2015

Pursue your passion and the money will follow

As a kid, my dad instilled in me his belief “...If you pursue your passions, the money will follow.” At the time, I’m assuming around the middle part of high school, I’m pretty sure my passion vacillated between competitive running and playing punk rock. I also wasn’t quick witted enough to reply with a snarky comment about how weird it was his passion was to stick his hands in people’s mouths, instilling fear and Administering pain (jk Dad! I appreciate the life you provided for our family with your passion). But truth be told, from this message, I always assumed that if I continued to pursue my passion, some form of a career would magically appear. Now, at the tender age of 28 and realizing that career may not be part of my vernacular, It appears that my Dad’s advice is just as relevant as it was in my early teens. The difference, now, being a realization of a perviously narrowed perspective. 

As of current, I am a writer in training, a youth athletics coach, a Lyft driver, and beginning to guide high school youth on trips abroad. Do I have a penchant for working with youth of all ages? Absolutely. Do I have a penchant for driving people from one destination to the next? No, simply put, but I do love being able to strip people of their guard, resulting in intriguing conversation between two parties that otherwise would have probably not met. Oh, I also believe in people not driving fucked up, so that’s on the table too. If you asked me today what my passions are, I would tell you that writing, travel, education, community building, and growth are at the top of the list. Am I working in these fields? Eh, that is a spot of debate. Does my dad's advice still resinate with me, even though I’m about as far away from a career as I am from being a being a father of four in the suburbs? My answer would be a whole hearted yes.

While I may never have a stable job (or maybe I will, who knows?), I can tell you in the last half-decade I have once again found myself in pursuit of my passions. To say I wasn’t doing this before wouldn’t be entirely true, but the difference, once again, is perspective. In our currenty society, I feel as if we are extremely polarized in almost every aspect. Disseminating from the top down, beyond just politics, it seems so easy for all of us to fall into a dualistic point of view. You are right or your are wrong. Things are black or white. People are boys or girls. You are gay or straight. We think this way because it has been dictated in our society forever, yet it is so simplistic. While many ancient societies preach an idea of dualism, it isn’t to believe that you are on one end of a paradigm or the other, it is to present a spectrum. It is to show you that every living being has aspects of both sides, and that instead of being shuffled to either of the opposing points, we need to find balance for ourselves somewhere in between. 

As an illustration, while driving Lyft I picked up a man who, to be blunt, was having a shitty day. He was well dressed, had a stylish haircut, and had been locked out of his house after a really rough day at wherever he may work. I tried to make conversation, but it didn’t amount to much. We let conversation attempts rest for a few moments, while bathing in the wake of the Tallest Man on Earth’s new album. The mutual love of a Swedish folk singer penetrated the gap between two unknown people, leading to a conversation about mutual interest in music. It also unearthed the truth that this guy was formally the frontman in a punk rock group, who now had chosen to domestic himself. While his band never was lucrative, he spoke of his time on tour with a naked nostalgia. Did he want to live in a van with 4 other guys and a drum set forever? Maybe not, but he also wasn't entirely opposed to another round or two of touring. When he said how this experience will forever taint the more traditional way of life he posses now, however, you could feel the backing veracity. The polarized jump from free wheeling to fenced in left him in a difficult spot.

Experience and growth give us perspective. Even the idea of growth has changed since I initially came in contact with it. I know now the only way my 5’8 (on a good day) stature will change is when I inevitably start to shrink. Seeing growth as physical is all but a thing of the past.. Now, I see growth in regards to things like happiness and physical well-being. Growth is no longer a tangible measurement, it can no longer be measured in feet, inches, or centimeters. It is measured only by our actions, our accomplishments, and our perceptions of the world around us.

For me, staving off polarized perspectives is realizing that my dreams to play music as a kid should never die. I may not be ready to jump in a van in an attempt to sell the emo songs I wrote at 16, but I also am not willing to discount my unwavering love for music, songwriting, and jobs that allow me to tour. Will my wrtiting be turned into a monetary venture? Who knows, but without it, my life would be extraordinarily different. So in regards to my father’s words, I still hold them as truth. The only differece, now, is a broader perspective.

Photo courtesy of author 

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