I seem to have lost it

Recently, someone asked me what my passion was. I was about to say writing, then stopped before the words escaped my mouth. I felt I wasn’t as passionate about writing anymore. I thought I would not be at all genuine by saying that but would only be doing so for the sake of conversation. So I risked appearing boring and unfulfilled and said that I was yet to find my real passion.

I scarcely touched my phone on my journey home that evening, something very uncharacteristic of me, I might add. I stared out the window the whole way, not seeing the familiar trees, buildings and places but thinking, worrying that I didn’t have a passion, which made for a rather sad existence. I’m turning 25 soon. I should have found that by now, right? What is it about turning 25 that makes that need to have everything figured out so urgent? I worried that I had very few things figured out. I got off the matatu and walked the short distance home, deep in thought, replaying various conversations I’d had that day regarding life, in my head. I’d had interviews for two of my articles with individuals not much older than myself who oozed passion for what they did. These left me challenged to find my own passion yet rather sad about the stark realization that I lacked this fountain of seemingly everlasting zeal for life.

Enter a chicken sandwich and two episodes of Suits and all these important life questions were neatly folded and stacked in a far corner of my mind. I never cease to be amazed about how easily distracted I am. Food and hours of mindless TV are the epitome of distraction in my books.

Image from http://authorashleysanders.blogspot.com/2011/04/burning-passion-to-write.html
Image from http://authorashleysanders.blogspot.com/

These thoughts were revisited about a week later, interestingly after yet another interview. My interviewee that day was a lesson in humility, calmness, fulfilment and other great qualities I hope Future Me will possess. A very accomplished man, yet painstakingly humble, gracious, and generally unrushed by that hustle and bustle synonymous with our Nairobi. How does he do that peaceful monk thing? I kept asking myself, but I digress. The man spoke wisdom of the ages. Well-thought out sentences laden with great wisdom about life and living. No wasted words. It was one of the most illuminating interviews I’ve done to date.

It also turned out to be one of the shortest interviews I’ve done to date. I kept going over my notebook to see if I had missed any questions I intended to ask. We had covered everything in less than hour, with 10 minutes to spare, in an interview that usually took me close to two hours at times. I was enjoying myself, in the moment, hanging on his every word. Taking it all in, more for myself than for the story I was going to write. Then it dawned on me, the reason (rather, some of the reasons) I do this writing thing.

It’s these rare inspiring conversations, life lessons and experiences I get to live through, vicariously nonetheless. The frequent chance to evaluate myself triggered by these encounters, the excitement of meeting new people and making new connections. The incomparable honour of telling someone’s story.

I do have a passion after all. I had just stopped feeding it. Nurturing it. I expected it to always be there no matter what. I needed to remind myself every so often why I write. I had stopped seeking to learn as much as I could about the craft.

I’d like to tell you that I regained my zest for writing, that I’m back on track, and can’t wait for the magic that will happen once I put finger to keyboard and eye to white screen, but that would be a falsehood. I am getting there nevertheless. I’m taking steps to get that fire burning once more. More of fanning the dying embers of a fire that once was, at this point.

I’m trying to learn new things about writing, seeking to mentor others younger than me who may be interested in writing, finding new ways of writing, breaking away from the mundaneness of routine, et cetera. These are just a few examples I found after reading and researching on ‘how to regain lost passion.’ I never thought this would be a Google search I’d find myself doing one day. I suppose I thought my passion would always be there, but evidently that isn’t the case.

Now I feel like a pseudo Thought Catalog. This is what happens when you turn 25. 🙂

What are you passionate about? How do you keep your fire burning?

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13 thoughts on “I seem to have lost it

  1. so you want to be a writer
    if it doesn’t come bursting out of you
    in spite of everything,
    don’t do it.
    unless it comes unasked out of your
    heart and your mind and your mouth
    and your gut,
    don’t do it.
    if you have to sit for hours
    staring at your computer screen
    or hunched over your
    typewriter
    searching for words,
    don’t do it.
    if you’re doing it for money or
    fame,
    don’t do it.
    if you’re doing it because you want
    women in your bed,
    don’t do it.
    if you have to sit there and
    rewrite it again and again,
    don’t do it.
    if it’s hard work just thinking about doing it,
    don’t do it.
    if you’re trying to write like somebody
    else,
    forget about it.
    if you have to wait for it to roar out of
    you,
    then wait patiently.
    if it never does roar out of you,
    do something else.
    if you first have to read it to your wife
    or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
    or your parents or to anybody at all,
    you’re not ready.
    don’t be like so many writers,
    don’t be like so many thousands of
    people who call themselves writers,
    don’t be dull and boring and
    pretentious, don’t be consumed with self-
    love.
    the libraries of the world have
    yawned themselves to
    sleep
    over your kind.
    don’t add to that.
    don’t do it.
    unless it comes out of
    your soul like a rocket,
    unless being still would
    drive you to madness or
    suicide or murder,
    don’t do it.
    unless the sun inside you is
    burning your gut,
    don’t do it.
    when it is truly time,
    and if you have been chosen,
    it will do it by
    itself and it will keep on doing it
    until you die or it dies in you.
    there is no other way.
    and there never was.

  2. Sorry for the long-winded poem but when Charles Bukowski starts he usually gets too lazy to stop. It always gets me, this one…just like your article got me. Keep on.

  3. It’s been a long time, Ed…enjoyed this. Guess what? I didn’t really discover my passion til I was nearly 40! I guess some of us are late bloomers. Keep discovering your passion…yourself! Blessings!

  4. Finally! I’m reading from you again!

    Do not worry about passion and purpose, the good news is that it is something that we discover and not invent or conjure up. Some of us, with all the inadequacies and with so much against us, would never have known what we are here for.
    Passion is what propels purpose. Once you discover your purpose [why you are here], energy [passion] is created. It will no longer be about being compelled to do something, but to WANT to do it.

  5. Passion is a a funny thing. I toyed with this thought for a while. Do you think your passion for writing may have been sated because you are writing for a living? Are our passions meant to be the thing we do, or are they meant to be fleeting pleasures? Dreams that we see while we sleep, and play hope to achieve, but work best unachieved?

    Whatever the answer is, I like reading you. Don’t stop writing.

    • I’ve thought about that many times, the notion that once you practice your passion for a livng it loses its lustre. Also don’t have the answer though I appreciate that I do something that I am passionate about. Thank you for that. 🙂

  6. I tend to think that passions are not sated easily. Some of our interests tend to be passing fancies, which fade with time. We all have those, but I tend to think a real passion can last a life time. I have a passion for what I do for my work. I have had that passion for many years and have not tired of it yet. Same holds true for my hubby. It doesn’t mean we don’t get tired from time to time & need a break, but the passion remains. After a rest, we’re ready to tackle it again. I LOVE my work & can keep at it for long periods of time. Keep searching Ed, God will lead you to your true passion in life.

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