Last week, I wrote about finding your passions in life and, wow, I received many passionate responses. I love hearing from you, so thank you for sharing your thoughts.
As I sorted through the many responses, there seemed to be a reoccurring theme. In some form or another, many people feel there is a window for finding something in life to be passionate about and if you are an adult, the window is closed.
First, let’s deal with the idea that anyone is too old. I authored my first book when I was 54 years old. I was told by many people that I’m not a trained author and I am too old to learn. It never occurred to me that they were right. I ignored the naysayers and began writing.
Three years ago, I was told that becoming a columnist without a journalism degree was a bridge too far, and besides, the newspaper business is dying. Again, wrong on both accounts and today, this column will be read in 34 thriving publications.
What is the moral to this story? There will always be more people telling you that you can’t do something than supporters telling you that you can. Ignore the naysayers and pursue your dreams.
You are never too old or too young!
As a young music teacher, I remember having a stellar student. From a very young age, this young trumpet player told her parents that she wanted to go to college to become a music teacher. The mother told me, “I keep telling her she’s too young to know what it is she wants to do, and besides, who can make a real living playing a horn?” In high school, the young lady dropped out of band and sold her trumpet. I asked her why and she said, “My mom said its time to put away my dreams and realize life isn’t about having fun. She wants me to be a nurse.” I asked her what she wanted to do, and she responded, “What I want isn’t important. Mom says I need to prepare for a real job.”
Where is it written that your passion and your vocation must be one and the same? I am not a professional drummer, yet I play almost every day. This very well intended mother extinguished the flame of her daughter’s passion and crushed her dreams. Mom did not understand that pursuing excellence in any way, makes us better in every way.
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I am using music as an example, but it is applicable in any situation. When we are passionate about anything, it drives us to learn more, do more and be more than we would without passion. By allowing our passions to drive our pursuit of excellence, we are learning habits that will serve us in any endeavor. I wish this mom could have understood that by supporting and encouraging her daughter’s passionate pursuit of musical excellence, that same pursuit could become a habit that can drive her passionate pursuit of nursing. My experience tells me that if I am good at one thing, I am often good at several, often unrelated skills. The connection isn’t the skill, but the passionate pursuit.
It’s also true as we age.
You are never too old to learn a new skill or develop a new hobby. And you are also never too old to reinvent yourself into something new. Learning new things keeps our minds working and our imaginations alive. I have never been a fan of retirement and I have no plans to ever stop working, but that is me. I’ve always believed that if a rocking chair is your goal destination, you are wasting all you’ve experienced and learned in life. Why not get out of the chair and share your knowledge and experiences? Be passionate about what you have learned and equally passionate about sharing.
If you believe the window of opportunity has closed, reopen it.
If that window has closed, most of the time, we closed it ourselves. Our belief systems may be believing the lie that says the time for opportunity has passed. Reopen the window — and if you can’t get the window open, throw a chair through it!
Think about your passion, then say aloud:
I will not be detoured.
I will not be denied.
I will embrace my passion and I will live my dream!