“For me, passion is the most important asset a person can have. To work with feeling for something. To care. That’s why I think it is most important that we connect with what it is we want to do- not someone else’s idea of what we should be doing with our time and our lives. Sometimes people are old and grey before they realize they have been following their parents dream, not theirs- and they wonder why they are so unhappy.
Find your passion and you will find happiness, because there is nothing more important in the adult world than enjoying your work. That has been my experience. And if you enjoy your work you will find work, because you will be appreciated wherever you go. ” -John Taylor
Yesterday, Rhonda blogged about how this applied to her life and her discovery about her own passion. This quote also caught my attention, especially after the questioning I have been doing with my own life lately.
I, too, feel like I have a passion. For a long time, I have felt my passion was my work, my career. I have been a teacher for a long time. In many ways, I find it hard to believe that I have been in classrooms since 1997. I thought experienced teaching would feel very differently than it does. I went into teaching for a pretty unique reason. I wanted to make a difference. Yes, I think that a lot of people go into teaching for the exact same reason. The difference between my reasoning and most is that I wanted to make a difference in a broad, whole society, big picture sort of way. I had spent most of my college years reading, analyzing, writing and researching about social movements. Thus, I thought teaching would be a perfect way for me to do my part to continue the necessary progress of many social movements that I studied, including the Women’s Movement, Civil Rights, etc. In particular, I chose to focus on students with disabilities who also lived in poverty. Many of my students are also students of color. Such an idealist I was! Then, as settled into my teaching career, I took on something else, something more.
In 2008, I decided to get involved with a political campaign. (I’m sure you can guess which one!) I found this work fulfilling. I can organize well. It truly is my strength. I can also lead people and explain things well, especially since I have been doing that for years in the classroom. On top of that, I loved the intensity of it. Loved it. I also loved the win. I had only felt that kind of high at concerts of a certain band we all know. After election day, I couldn’t let it go. It seemed like such a logical addition to my work in the classroom. Fast forward four years later, I’m still teaching. I’m still politically organizing. Teaching is more than a full time job. That said, I’m in a new position this year, which definitely is less stressful and does not require as much time after work. Campaigning, though, is taking up about 20 hours a week. If you are doing the math, that equals at least about 60 hours per week. I’m sure you are all wondering why I’m “sharing” so much here. I’m getting to the point, I swear!
What I have left out in this story of my “career” is this. Rhonda and I started thinking about the book, seriously, a few years ago. Soon, we started writing, reading, researching. It worked well for me, for Rhonda. Then, we added this blog. Still, all was good. We added twitter and facebook. This year, we started adding the today in Duran history and the daily/weekly questions. I get up an extra 30-45 minutes to do that everyday. We have more up our sleeve and just need the time to finish the book, get it published and do other related projects.
So what is the point? How does this connect to John’s quote or to the title of the blog? Here’s the deal. I thought my passion was to help others, to help make the world a better place. I am proud of the work that I have done both as a teacher and as an organizer. If I died tomorrow, I would know that I have done my part. Unfortunately, though, I’m not sure if that is my passion. Was it ever really my passion? Did I just want it to be? Would it still be if I wasn’t just exhausted, both from working so much and from working so intensely for so many years? I don’t know, for sure. The only way to really be able to answer that is to step away for a long time. After doing some soul searching, I think I know a little bit about where my passion really lies.
I love doing this blog. I love writing the book and I’m damn proud of all that we have done so far. I enjoy doing the daily tasks on twitter, facebook and here. It has become a third job of sorts as it is also time consuming and believe that it could be a lot more. Right now, 3 weeks into the school year and 46 days until the election, I find myself wishing I could just dedicate myself to this, this crazy thing that Rhonda and I created. Is it because this is about Duran? Sure. Of course, the band is part of it but it isn’t just because of the band. It is a lot more than that. Is it that I am uninterested in my other jobs? No, it isn’t that. I still love watching and talking politics. I enjoy being with kids and teaching them. Yet, I’m just not feeling the passion there. Maybe, in many ways, the true passion here is for writing, researching, reading, organizing around something. Something that matters. In our case, it is reading, researching, writing, and organizing in order to make OUR world, OUR community better by bringing people, Duranies, together for fun, for discussion. After all, part of what Rhonda and I wanted to do with this, with the book is explain our lives as fans and to show that being a fan is good, is worthwhile. Now, if I could just figure out a way to pay my bills this way…maybe those chains of the other careers could be lifted.