I talk about this in my upcoming book 90 Days to Holistic Wellness, but since conversations on the subject have come up a lot for me recently, I took it as a sign that it may be a good topic to talk about here as well.
Let me ask you, when you were choosing your career path, did people say things such as “follow your passion” or “do something you love”? Or did they say “be responsible and choose a career that will support you financially”?
I have always been a bit more in the second camp, because I feel that life is more enjoyable when you aren’t worrying about how you are going to pay your bills or feed your family. And, I’ve never had a desire to be hounded by credit collectors!
However, I in no way disregard the importance of the first two statements. I think the issue comes when you feel you must make money off your passion…that you need to turn that into your career. This leads me to images of a starving artist. In truth, it can be very difficult to make money at things like art and music…or even fields such as photography, coaching, gardening or herbalism (and many others).
Let me tell you a story….not about me, but about my husband.
When he was young, he was a drummer. When he wasn’t in school or working odd jobs, he was practicing in his attic, rehearsing with the band or playing out at bars. When the time came to get serious and choose his career path, his parents told him that being a musician was not the way to go… there was little money to be made and you spend your life in smoky dingy bars… he agreed. So he gave up drumming, went to college, got a real job, got married and had kids. Life continued, he made a good living, supported his family, the kids grew up, he divorced and this is where I entered the picture. During the first several years we were together, I would hear a few stories now and again about the old days with his friends in the band. As a matter of fact some of those stories were so outlandish I was sure he was making them up (turns out they were true, but aren’t appropriate for this blog!)
Believe it or not, only once in his adult life did he pull out his drums and play. This was for a friend’s party, long before I knew him. For the most part, the drums stayed packed away, while he worked jobs that were much more responsible.
Jump to a few years ago. A parent of an old band member dies, and the funeral is attended by most of the other members. Stories are told with laughter and several members talk about their musical interests. It turns out, most members have full time jobs outside of music, but they still play for fun on the side.
Days later, the plan is hatched for a band reunion. My husband is very excited, but has not played drums in many, many years….so a practice pad and sticks are purchased. Practicing starts. Soon a new drum set is purchased, followed by cymbals, a new throne, etc. The reunion went wonderfully, but the best part was that it allowed my husband to rediscover his passion. He realized he had spent years, almost in a state of mourning, caused by not including his passion in his life. Now he plays in a band, which is just getting ready to release their first CD. He still works his 9-5 job to help pay the bills and fund vacations, but now he has his passion to make every day fulfilling.
Yes, I believe (and so does he) that it was the correct decision to follow in another career path. However, in hindsight, he did not need to completely give up playing. He could have easily kept this as a fulfilling hobby.
Some people are lucky enough to find well-paying work in the field of their passion, but most of us are not…at least not when we are young. Retirement (or after you’ve established a nice nest egg) is a whole different story! For most of us, our passion does not need to be our source of income, it just has to be in our life. This feeds our heart and soul! And if our heart and soul aren’t fulfilled, we are not truly living from a place of Holistic Wellness!
If you aren’t already spending some time daily (or at least weekly) doing something that you love, take a moment to consider how you can. Pull that guitar out of the attic, run to an art supply store to get some supplies, dust of your camera or put on some salsa music and rediscover your love of dance.
Enjoy your life….follow your passion.
Tracy Martorana is a Nutrition & Wellness Consultant, Meditation Instructor and Herbalist...hoping to inspire you to live your life from a place of Holistic Wellness.