Get Lost Living Your Passion. Here's Why...
My girlfriend was lost.
She had just come back to the United States after graduating from Franklin University, an American college located in Lugano, Switzerland. For four years, she traveled around Europe, had an internship in South Africa, experienced reverse culture shock over the holidays and summer, and basically took care of herself in a foreign land.
This was June of 2016. Exactly one year ago.
She came back happy. It would be the first time our relationship wasn’t over Facebook messenger and Skype. Sure, we would spend time together during Christmas and summer vacation, but you can’t really develop as a couple with a maximum of three months spent together.
And so she began the quest that every college graduate embarks on this time of year: She tried to find a job.
But not just any job, of course; a job that would compliment her four years spent slaving away at a major she loved (international communications). She wanted to connect people in an authentic way. Anything less than that would be a waste of those four years.
A week went by. Two weeks. A month. Nothing.
Fraught with the fear that she wasn’t qualified enough, she became desperate. She took interviews and thought things went well…and then no call back or the position wasn’t what it was hyped up to be.
I finally got her a job at the financial office where I work, but that was the problem — it was just a job. Something you clock in and out of. Something that rewards you for spending time in one place, no matter what you are or aren’t doing.
That was the scene for eight months. She works the front desk, I work in my office. We got an apartment together in November, went on a trip to the Dominican Republic in December, and celebrated being together for once in our relationship.
We were following the script.
In February, I knew she was lost. It was her birthday, and she wasn’t happy. The veneer of being back home, surrounded by loved ones had been washed away with mediocrity. Now what? We would spend the next 30, 40, 50 years working for a life neither of us really loved?
I eventually asked her what her dream would be. She said South Africa. But not just South Africa; she wanted to travel again, like back in school, where she could create her own adventures and be challenged.
She was lost and wanted to find the world again.
I asked her what was stopping her from doing this, from escaping the rat race and being her true self. She didn’t want to admit it, because it was the one thing that kept her afloat for two years, the one thing that made her laugh her amazing laugh and be filled with happiness even when life was at its worst — me.
I was holding her back. I was the reason she was lost.
I told her that I would go with her. If that’s what was needed for her to follow her passion, I would sacrifice everything I had ever known to go explore with her.
Besides…I was unhappy too.
Fast forward to now, we are on our way. In three months, we have tickets booked to go to Cape Town, South Africa, the home of my girlfriend’s soul. She has started her own business that focuses on digital media, on creating genuine conversations between companies and their clients or customers.
She is following her passion. And she has never been more excited.
As for me: I am following in her footsteps. I have always been a passionate writer, but I never gave it an honest shot. I was always told to “minor in what you love, major in what gets you paid.” That is the biggest, shittiest lie ever told.
If there is something that sparks a fire in me, that gets me out of bed every morning psyched out of my mind to start creating, then dammit there is a way to monetize that. Besides, it doesn’t take that much to live life as a digital nomad. Aside from the plane tickets, you can live inexpensively around the globe, for way less than in the United States:
$100 = A night out drinking with friends
$100 = A whole week in a private villa in Bali, including food and massages
…I think I’d prefer the latter.
The amount of content out there regarding following your passion or not is astounding. Why should you allow somebody else to tell you what to do? Are they going to be living your life for you? Of course not!
The only person who dictates how rich or poor you are is you. The only person who determines how happy and successful you are in life is you.
You are the master of your ship; steer it in the direction you want, not what is safest. Yes, there will be an attempt at mutiny; family and friends will tell you that you’re batshit crazy and you should go the safe route, stay docked and live a long life on shore. That’s where you go pirate on their asses and make them walk the plank.
Listen to yourself. My girlfriend spent an entire year listening to outside influence, trying to find a career with a respected company and making tons of money. I spent five years thinking that being a financial advisor was the surefire way to be set for life at the age of 45.
Neither of us were listening to our passion. Since we woke up and recalled what those passions were, we have a new outlook on life. She’s happy. I’m thrilled to create content. Together, we are happy…and we haven’t made any decent money yet.
If we work a job, we look for the end goal: not needing that job anymore. If we work a passion, we fall in love with the process and never have to retire.