For me, the Fall has always been the start to something. While January 1st of each new year is often flooded with thoughts of new intentions and redirections, I feel more akin to the fall months for the promise and opportunities that await. Perhaps it’s because the fall is my favourite time of year; the weather is appealing, I love the fashion possibilities, and there are many opportunities to celebrate. Or, maybe it is because the fall has been a time when I have embarked on new things; each new school year, the start of my first adult job, even my wedding. Whatever the case, the Fall stirs in me a desire to do something new, to reflect on where I have been and to re-evaluate where it is I really want to go.
But in today’s world of conflicting commitments, time constraints, financial insecurity and just a general unease that permeates through much of what I encounter, I often find it difficult to focus on what is important to me and what the next stage should be. I find it hard to get motivated and my indecision leads to no decision. While in times past the fall has given me the opportunity to ask myself what I truly wanted and what my true passions may be, recent years have left an overall malaise in how to approach this. Yet, I know that fostering a continued commitment to pursue our passions and interests is essential to our happiness, not to mention just really fun to do things that make us feel good.
So it got me thinking that maybe the rhetoric and buzz words we hear everywhere really aren’t doing us any favours. “Find your passion”, “do what you love”, or “work to live, not live to work”, are concepts that are great in theory, but sometimes provide an unnecessary benchmark that promotes more stress than contentment. So many of us have to work at jobs that don’t really feed our soul. We have to ensure a consistency in income to pay for our commitments and often that doesn’t allow time for soul-searching or to follow an unchartered path. While I myself am working towards creating a professional life that aligns more symmetrically to what I feel destined to do, it can be slow going and not always lucrative. Movement can become stagnant and then we find ourselves simply running through the motions of everyday life, leaving our passions and interests to the side until time allows us to be frivolous again.
So, we have to change the way we talk about those things. While living a life that allows us to wake up and do what we love everyday is the ultimate goal for many, we shouldn’t talk ourselves out of following passions simply because making them full time just doesn’t feel in the cards. We have to constantly remind ourselves that our interests, passions and desires are the backbone to motivating us through situations that aren’t always ideal, and even if not our everyday environment, should never be forgotten or tossed aside until the “time is right”. It’s a much easier path to maintain the status quo and get caught on auto-pilot than to push ourselves to carve time for our desires. There is less resistance, planning and organizing need to just go through the motions of everyday life. But it’s also more bland, less exciting and often boring. Don’t we owe it to ourselves to do more, engage our mind more, live more? As the saying goes, “you only have one life to live, and you’re the only one living it”.
Fall now has new meaning to me. It’s still the prompt to re-evaluate where I’ve been and where I want to go. But rather than feel frustrated that my situation may not be exactly what I had envisioned, I will look to reignite my passions, interests and desires a little bit more. It is only when we acknowledge that while we have a full and varied life outside of ourselves, we have a full and varied reservoir of interests and desires lying inside. And it could be simple pleasures that we pursue, like taking time to dig deep into a new book, go for an evening walk around the neighbourhood or indulge in an art project we’ve been meaning to start. We can ignite our passion for learning by enrolling in an online class, or feed our wanderlust for travel by researching somewhere new to explore when the timing becomes ideal. Whatever our passions are, whatever gives us that lift in our spirit, is the focus and intention we need to rediscover. Working on consistently fostering our interests, desires and passions as we go through daily life will help amplify our optimism and make us poised to step more deeply into what we truly want when the timing aligns.