For her, it was music and singing. When she sang, it took her to a different place. She thrived on it and she would become restless and unhappy if she hadn’t sung in a while.
Having a passion is different than something you just like you do. It’s what gives you happiness and peace in times of turmoil. It’s what you wake up thinking about in the mornings. It’s what influences the planning for the rest of the day and for your future. It’s what interrupts your train of thought when you are trying to focus on other things. It’s what you go to sleep thinking about.
“So what’s my passion?” I asked my friend when we had the conversation. This was troubling me because it seemed like I didn’t have anything like that at all. I was just a boring blob.
I have one girl in my class now whose passion is writing, I would have to guess. She is an author and she thinks about writing all the time.
I was talking to another buddy in my class and he was saying how his friend recently got into an accident and is now quadriplegic. His friend was extremely active and had nothing else going on in his life except for just being outside all the time. My friend was saying how it would be extremely hard for his friend to adjust now because there is nothing else his friend liked to do. That was his life.
“Yeah, I can understand that one, man,” I said.
“I bet you can relate to that, for sure,” my friend in my class said.
I thought about my classmate's passion. He loves to climb. “Loves” is an understatement here. He lives to climb. It’s what he thinks about constantly. In class, he can often be seen watching climbing videos. Before med school, he spent a few years climbing around the country. His weekend plans now usually have something to do with climbing. He said he took leave from one dream, climbing, to pursue his other, becoming a physician.
I brought up this topic of passions with him. “Yeah, you need something like that. Or else you will go crazy. You need something that brings you back to that place of zen. That brings you back to yourself.” We both agreed upon that. I told him how I used to be working out, running, b-boying, swimming, or doing some other physical activity everyday and how much of a change it was to not be able to do any of that. I can imagine that his friend must feel dead and I reckon my friend would also feel that way if he could not climb anymore.
So was physical activity my passion? I was constantly thinking about health and working out and it always brought me peace. My days often revolved around what physical activity I was going to do that day. Instead of wasting time on Facebook like most people my age, I was reading health/fitness/nutrition blogs. So was that it? Was my answer that simple?
Back in high school when I asked my friend what my passion was, her response surprised me. She knew me really well so I trusted anything she would say. “People,” she said. “You are passionate about people. You love interacting with people. You would do anything for them.”
My close friends now can attest to that as well. Before the craziness of med school, I had a rule for myself: people come first. Even if I had an exam the next day or had to wake up really early, I would put my friends first if they ever needed anything. If someone was sick or emotionally troubled, they came first. Grades can be redeemed or repeated. Connections with others sometimes cannot.
“Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable.” –Sydney J. Harris
I said “before the craziness of med school” because I have had to stop interacting with people as much. School keeps me occupied most of the time. Still, if I know someone is upset about something, I cannot concentrate on anything and I cannot sleep at all either. I want to know that they are doing okay. So, there are harms to this as well.
I guess this conversation I had back in high school comes as consolation to me. I know that I can still have the thing I am most passionate about. And I am not ashamed of my passion. Sometimes, it hurts me, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. As a future physician, I think this will help me.
What’s your passion?