Recently over coffee a friend posed a question which stumped me. The irony and funny thing, if you will, was I’m certain that was not the intent of the question, yet there I found myself … no words.
“What are you passionate about?” he asked, as we sat solving the problems of the world and commiserating over varying parenting styles. My guess is he was just as stumped by my blank stare, as I was. I’m certain he expected any of the givens: running, my kids, yoga ... all things I speak of incessantly. Yet there I sat, staring blankly.
Slowly I verbalized, “I’m not sure. Is that odd? Why don’t I know?” He chuckled and then did what he does best, patiently waited. Slightly squinting as he could see by my expression that I was literally racking my brain for a better response.
“Life!” I finally declared. “I’m passionate about life. Is that even a thing?”
Days later the question haunted me a bit, as I thought of my initial (lack of) reply. Why didn’t I say running, my kids or yoga? Truthfully each of them I don’t feel I give nearly the time I’d wish to. Something always must give, as I juggle life, work, obligations, you know ... the list. Life. They are however three things I speak of and write about most, each enrich my life significantly.
As mommies we spend a lot of time in a car. Every now and again as we shuttle, we find ourselves alone and we get to … think. As I did this exact thing, I asked myself the question again. Ironically I had just read a blog post by Matt Fitzgerald on his Life is a Marathon journey. An inspiring story of a father/triathlete who completed a triathlon with his young daughter in tow (the daughter has cerebral palsy).
As I read the post, I became emotional, all types of emotional. I was happy, proud, overwhelmed, inspired and yes, I choked up. The love this father shared for his child and the beauty of his story just hit me.
Within minutes I found myself texting my friend my answer. I had recognized what I was passionate about.
“People!” I shot over in a text. “I’m passionate about people and life and humanity and ... writing. Writing about all of it.”
His reply was simple, yet indicated he knew this answer all along. Perhaps he planted the question to challenge me a bit. To cause the reflection, which did indeed come. He’s a good friend like that.
What I came to realize immediately thereafter was how fortunate it is to work in a field which utilizes what I’m passionate about daily. Granted, I’m still human. I don’t like people who occupy two parking spaces, read the McDonald’s menu like it’s their first time there or demean store clerks when they’re ringing them through the line at Target. I’m a different type of passionate for those people.
The lesson, or what I realized, is that it’s never a bad idea to check back in with yourself on occasion. We get so busy, it can become easy to forget what makes us tick, smile or even tear up. Ultimately what makes your heart race, your blood pressure rise a bit and your face fill with joy. How would you answer?
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.