I posted this very tongue in cheek recently. A brief thought that passed through my mind whilst walking my dog and listening to Break The Twitch. Weirdly the act of posting it made that thought stick around longer than it would have, and it is a useful thing to remember.
In my early teens I wanted to be a teacher, and only when I did some work experience and found out what it was actually like, were the rose-tinted glasses knocked from my eyes. It’s fair to say that I left University with not a clue what to do with the rest of my life, and worked retail for far too many years. From that day to this I have never even considered my job as my calling, but it is definitely something that I enjoy doing and will continue to do as long as possible.
I find it quite strange, but admirable, that people know exactly what they want to do for the rest of their life from a very early age. Discovering a passion without even looking and locking in their ambitions to their laser focus.
As the old saying goes “Do what you love, and you’ll never work another day in your life”. Of course, this presumes that the route to finding exactly what you love and making it your job is one that is straight forward and easy to navigate. You see, your passions take time to discover, and often need some effort to discover. As Stephanie O’Connell says, “You’re not born with it”.
Passion doesn’t arrive while waiting for inspiration to strike, it’s uncovered through action and work. Think of it like falling in love. You don’t just sit at home and decide you’re going to fall in love with a certain person, you go out and share different experiences with different people until you do. - Stephanie O’Connell
There is also a big presumption in this saying that you can turn your passion into a job that supports you. That can be a pretty big ask from some pursuits, and presumes you have the skills to ‘sell it’. Hustle and grind are words we see banded around as if everyone can do anything with enough work, but what if you just don’t have the skills or the ability to do it.
There is something to be said about hard work and dedication, but of course ability needs an environment to be able to flourish. For every person that beats all the odds and lives the dream, there are millions grinding away and doing what it is that they need to do. Or simply cannot get to where they need to be to realise their passion.
In my mid-twenties I decided I wanted to write. In my mid-thirties I decided I wanted to learn to code and improve my design skills. Perhaps in my forties there might be something else and I still don’t consider myself anything like the grown ups my teachers told me I had to become. There is something quite freeing of admitting this to myself and I wish I knew this earlier in life.
I wonder how many people still don’t know what they want to be when they grow up. I just know what I am right now, and that’s ok.