In early December 2009, Lisis at Quest for Balance wrote a very popular and controversial post called “Net Worth Vs Self Worth: The Passion Paradox”. Several other bloggers wrote responses, one of whom was David at Raptitude in “What Passion Will Buy You”.
At the time, while I wrote detailed comments on both posts, I hadn’t yet formulated my thoughts well enough for a post of my own. Now I have, in my own fashion.
I think that passion can be a worthwhile pursuit when it is couched in the knowledge that this discovery and search is life-long, not something that a book or a blog can tell you right away.
Donald and I approach success and passion differently. I have always encouraged him to find a job that he loves (even during his year of unemployment). He wants a job with a good enough income that he can support his family. While these two things are not necessarily mutually exclusive, they do sometimes cause conflict over what is most important to us. We both want to be happy and to support our family.
Jeffrey’s post at The Art of Great Things called “In Defense of Work-Life Balance” woke me up to the fact that typical 9-5 jobs are not inherently evil. They serve many purposes, including the ones Donald has. My role then, is not to constantly push Donald to find a job he loves. My role is to help him balance his work and life and to make sure that his non-work time is what he wants it to be. My role is also to remind him every once in a while of his passions and dreams and help him find ways to realize them.
As Donald reminds me, he has the same role for me and I need to keep paying attention to my own needs. For some reason this is really hard for me. Right now, I am so focused on gearing up for having a family, especially after reading Katie’s post about 7 months of motherhood at Confessions of a Young Married Couple.
I am also acutely aware of the fact that it’s quite possible to lose myself in motherhood, when it happens, and that I desperately want to avoid the realization after 30 years of marriage that I have neglected important things, as my mother has experienced.
And so I consider the things that ignite my own passion. It is so tempting to believe that wandering off the beaten path is to be rewarded with financial success and happiness. While I don’t want to make my passions into money, I do see the value in bringing passion to the work I do, no matter what it is.
I highly recommend going through the Finding My Passion questions at Blogging Without A Blog. Donald and I went through them together, for each of us, and I learned so much about us as a couple and as individuals. The more we each express our values and priorities, the better life we can create together.