Passion, Purpose and an Ah-Ha Moment – Part 1 Passion

Iowa, Color the Wind Festival

Iowa, Color the Wind Festival

On Jan. 26 Otto posted a thought-provoking article titled Pursuing Passion. After reading it, and giving it a lot of thoughts, I started feeling uneasy. What qualifies something as a person’s passion? Do I have a passion? I left Otto a message: Is it possible some people don’t have a dream?

Growing up in Taiwan, before attending college, I was expected of, by my parents, one thing only: study hard, so I would be able to pass the entry examination in order to get into a good junior high school, 3 years later high school and another 3 years later college. My dad got a job out of town when I was 5. I started writing to him as soon as I learned how to write and I enjoyed it. In high school, my teacher sent several of my class assignments to a regional newspaper and several got published. I knew writing wasn’t hard for me, but I didn’t know what that meant. When my dad told me to select a science major in college instead of my original idea of journalism, I agreed without struggling. The truth is that I had no idea what I liked to do at that moment (The only to-do thing for me for many years was trying to get into a college, remember?)

When my daughter was senior in high school, thinking of all the free time I was going to have when she left home, I started writing and soon I realized I couldn’t stop. Writing made me happy. I studied, and wrote after work until 1 or 2 am. I thought about my stories while driving, eating… I have passion in writing, I finally could announce to the world.

I told my mom that I had to publish a book before I die; otherwise I would consider my life was totally wasted. In 2009, I self-published Jin-Ling’s Two Left Feet; I was happy and satisfied. But soon, my satisfaction faded away. When one reader came to me telling me how much she liked my book, I was grateful but deep down I wasn’t as happy as I thought I would be. What was going on? Isn’t that what authors dreaming of – readers liking their book? I felt something was missing, but I had no idea what.

Several years later, I decided to learn videotaping and photographing. Like when I was learning writing, I was, again, enthusiastic. I watched tutorial videos up to 1 or 2 am day after day; I read books; took workshop. I have a new passion and that’s photographing, I thought to myself.

Less than 2 years later, one day, I realized that if I don’t take any photo or work on any photo for a week or two (or longer?), it’s all right with me. What does this means? Could it be that photographing is not my passion anymore? Some people have problem holding onto a job, and I have problem holding onto a passion?

(To be continued… to avoid a long post. 😉

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About Helen C

A retired computer programmer who loves writing and photographing, and has managed to publish a YA novel "Jin-Ling’s Two Left".
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41 Responses to Passion, Purpose and an Ah-Ha Moment – Part 1 Passion

  1. Adhika says:

    First of all, it’s okay to feel saturated from taking photos. We get burned out. Try something new: Explore new style, try new editing process, get a new lens (see from different perspective), do something different. Anything. I have been taking photos of the beaches here in LA for a while and I start to feel uninspired. I used to love the beach a lot. I am trying something different this time. I am trying to go for a more minimalistic approach to my photos and it’s been pretty rejuvenating journey. I get to see things from a different point of view.

    That’s a great photo btw!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Helen C says:

      Thanks for your great advice and thank you for sharing your own experience, Adhika. I appreciate it. Maybe it’s this long cold winter that finally gets me. I can’t wait for spring to come. Anyway, part 2 of this post will explain more. I probably should make it one post instead of two, but it was getting long. 😉

      Like

  2. Coming East says:

    Oh, my! You sound so much like me! My passion was music, and now I hardly ever pick up any of my instruments. I don’t think we are much different than many people, though, Helen. We have different seasons in our lives, and that’s perfectly okay.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Amy says:

    I agree with Adhika and Susan. I think Susan said well, we have different seasons in our lives.
    I like this photo a lot. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Mother Hen says:

    Hi Helen, it took me awhile to think about this. I think for myself I may want to do a lot of things but does not mean I am meant to do them all or do them well. I have a lot of ideas but it might be best to leave it alone as I may be just spinning my wheels. Sometimes I wonder what is the point of all of this photography and time I put into it..what am I seeking out of it..what is important? I do internal checks every so often. I don’t totally want to be off the path I am supposed to be on..There are so many wonderful creative things to do…Some people can do a lot of things and do well at all of it..I am not one of those individuals..lol!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Helen C says:

      What you have said makes a lot of sense. I am not one of those who can do a lot of things and do them well either. Like you, I do some internal check from time to time. I want to use my time wisely 😉 Thanks, my friend.

      Like

  5. loisajay says:

    Helen, this is such a great and very personal post. I think along the same lines as you but instead of passion, I insert ‘talent.’ All these talented people who write so beautifully and take photos (and Photoshop them) to get them even prettier than they are… I don’t do that. I don’t have the talent. No other languages, no musical instruments…nothing. Is it wrong to not have a dream? Is it strange to not have a talent? I don’t know. But I like to take pictures and if people like them, then I am happy. Maybe I should up my game? No, that wouldn’t be me. Just do what you want for you. Not for anyone else; just for Helen. Because I love to read your posts and that photograph up top….awesome!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Helen C says:

      Lois, you have something more valuable than talent (I am sure you have talent also) and that is your big soft heart and your sense of humor. Everyone is different. Like you said, we should do what we want for ourselves and be happy 😉 Thanks, my friend.

      Like

  6. Cee Neuner says:

    You are so like Chris. She has a passion for learning. And it sounds like you do to. That is a passion in and of itself. We talk about it a lot, because she feels like you are right now. I have no passion. The thirst for knowledge and to learn more is a passion. And it comes in many forms. Yes it will the skill of the moment changes from time to time. You may even get stuck on one for a few years, but then you are happily off to find something knew to explore, to learn, to study and to read. I think that is a marvelous passion. Maybe because it isn’t me. You know my passion for photography … to me that never gets old. It may stall out for awhile, but it somehow always gets renewed. Qigong is like that for me too. Those two things will never go away. Embrace your zest to learn and explore and adventure into new worlds and various things that others define as passion. You are encompassing it all. Go for it!!! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Helen C says:

      Very interesting, Cee. I have never thought that I had passion for learning, but you were so right! I was always happy and satisfied when I was learning! Now I have more to think about. Ha. Thanks, Cee.

      Like

      • Cee Neuner says:

        I told Chris and she had to laugh at me and my “friendly lecture to you”. She has heard it so many times She is finally coming to understand her passion is learning. It has taken awhile for her to get it. That doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy photography and writing and other things you have learned. It just doesn’t give you that same thrill or satisfaction it did while you were learning it when you were in your passion zone. Embrace yourself.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Helen C says:

          Good morning, Cee. You got a very good point. Thinking back, I was happy when I learned something and it didn’t matter what I had learned. What you said really helps. Thank you!

          Like

  7. I know exactly what you mean, Helen … I can’t seem to retain passion for anything, either. Things pop up on my horizon and are embraced wildly … and then they fade back over it again. 😦
    I don’t know what it means; other than that they can’t have been REAL passions. So I’m still waiting to find mine (although playing around with WordPress themes has been on my radar for well over a year !)

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Sue says:

    I am with you on this – my passions change. If you read my blog from the very first post to the last, you will find I have changed direction several times! Another example: I started running when I was in my forties, then I took up cycling and now I love hiking in the woods. I call it the “Jack of All Trades, Master of None” syndrome. I want to experience it all, but usually move on to something new before I have “mastered” the last. For me, it’s not so much about having a dream, but experiencing as much life as I can. It’s not that I don’t have dreams or goals – I do – it’s just that they change. A lot. 🙂

    I love your photography and your writing, and I hope you continue to share both in your blog, even if they aren’t your “passion”. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Helen C says:

      I love what you said. “Jack of All Trades, Master of None” – Ha. I want to experience it all, but usually move on to something new before I have “mastered” the last — I KNOW! 😉
      If I remember right, there was a TV show called Profile or something. This guy changed his profession every day and he did everything well. I remember envying him 😉
      Your comment cheers me up. Good night.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. seeker says:

    You are not alone, Helen. I have reinvented myself so many times. I don’t believe in passion since its a fleeting thing. At least you have so many interests to fall back on should you lose interest on another or better yet, pursue something else. Colourful shot, btw.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Lignum Draco says:

    Interesting thoughts. Passion doesn’t have to be all-consuming. Just enjoy it for what it is, at the time.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I think passion is not something you need to hold one to as a constant characteristic of self. It develops and changes with years. I think it’s pretty clear you have passion for both writing and photographing, but it goes up and down as most in life does. I still think it’s important to pursue you passions – and if the changes, so be it. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Helen C says:

      Oops, I just posted the second part of this article. I meant to thank you for your two articles, but at the last minute, I forgot. Sorry. As you can tell, your two articles mean a lot to me. I really appreciate them. It turned out passion is not what I have problem with; it is purpose. I want to do something I like to do and do something meaningful at the same time. If it is not meaningful, I don’t satisfied. How to find a meaningful project that I am comfortable of doing is my next challenge. Thanks a lot, Otto.

      Like

  12. Steve says:

    I relate to this. I don’t have a single passion. Never have. I find it odd that people would pursue one thing so extensively to the point of neglecting other things. I enjoy plenty of interests though, but can’t act like those younge people you hear on shows like ‘American Idol’ 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      I was surprised how many people share the same feeling. All these time, I thought I was the only one 😉 Thank you so much for your comment. Bloggers in this community are wonderful!

      Like

  13. I know what you mean. I’ve done so many things that I thought were THE THING that I loved most, but apparently I didn’t. Don’t get me wrong. I like taking pictures, drawing, writing, making jewelry. I’ve tried playing piano, guitar, mandolin, and yes, even the accordion. I could go on. If I were able to pile everything I thought I was passionate about on top of each other – things I was sure were IT – I could probably reach the moon. So now here I sit wondering what’s wrong with being passionate about something for a while and then being passionate about something else. Times change, people change, maybe passions change too. I wish I could help you because it’s frustrating I know. If you find a solution let me know. And I’ll do the same. In the meantime keep up the writing, keep up the photos, keep up any passion that you feel when you’re feeling it. It’s better than no passion at all.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. rommel says:

    That shot is FTW!
    It’s okay, Helen. That’s just universal. You can have fling with something else from time to time when it comes to passion. 😀 I think it boils down to priority, attention span, and how strong your desire is.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. treerabold says:

    Sometimes I think goals are like Christmas….You look forward to completing them with such enthusiasm. But then once the day arrives that your goal is completed there is a let down. Its like we expect to be different when the goal is accomplished…but we aren’t. We are the same person….and for some reason its a let down.
    I think you are a wonderful writer and photographer. Sometimes I think we are just harder on ourselves. You are so encouraging to others…yet expect super-human talent from yourself.

    I also agreed with Cee about you having a passion to learn….once you accomplish one goal you move onto the next!!

    Like

  16. Love the photo and your story! Can’t wait to read the second part! I’m on to it right this very moment! 🙂

    Like

  17. Muzzy says:

    G’day Helen,
    I understand , and you have put it so well, I know what you mean. My passion only ever lasts until I master whatever it is and then it all becomes ho hum.So like you at the moment I have so real passion to pursue, albeit can be fun looking for one 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  18. restlessjo says:

    I’m kind of going backwards here, Helen, because I just dived into your posts at will. I think you’ve found a new passion in the Project you’ve been talking about. Photography is a newish passion for me but the overriding one is to ‘see’ the world, whether through a lens or on foot. I wish you well in your new direction. It sounds like a good one 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thanks, Jo. I am happy to say that the project is going well. I enjoy seeing the world through other photographers’ (you, Amy, Rommel… etc.) camera. Good photos always cheer me up… that’s why I like this community so much! Thanks again!

      Liked by 1 person

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