Today is my daughter’s last day of high school. It’s hitting me harder than it is her. I taught her to read and homeschooled her until seventh grade when I thrust her into a school setting and told her to swim. Although at first, she nearly drowned, she came back and is Olympic level now. This is a kid who is mastering not one, but two foreign languages, excelling in cybersecurity classes, and kicking ass in Calculus. And I couldn’t be prouder.
Yet, I see society pushing her in a hundred directions. Major in Y and you’ll earn a boatload after college. Do job X and you’ll make even more money. Can you fit in another foreign language? Z is super popular now with employers. Just become fluent before you graduate.
Yes, even I’ve been pushing her in that way parents everywhere have of making their kids miserable adults, but limiting their options into the safe and economically feasible. So I’m taking a step back and telling her what I’m trying to do in my own life. Live your passion.
Put everything into that one dream that fills you with joy, even on the worst days and there will be horrible days in pursuit of your dream. If you’re passionate about what you’re doing, it won’t matter. As a writer, I hear people questioning why I suffer so much, taking up my nights and weekends and holidays to put more words on paper that I may not even like and then suffering when my editor or agent may not like them either. My answer to them is that my worst day writing is better than all those other days living in limbo, doing what I’m expected, but not anything that strikes at my heart.
Perhaps the test should be to put out your hand and offer up your pinkie as a sacrifice. If you want to keep your pinkie attached to your finger, rather than pursue an activity, then it isn’t your passion. Because for every good day writing, there a bunch of bad days and even some downright sucky days, but I’d still prefer writing to just about anything else.
So my oldest daughter, I hope you find a life full of adventure and love, and in the mix of it all, find your passion and never let it go.