“I thought you said you were tired.”
“Come to bed.”
“Not yet. I have to finish this.”
When I finally stagger into bed at 4 a.m., I have a new definition for passion: the thing that keeps you awake while others sleep.
Is this passion?
I used to go to bed at midnight and then wake up at 3 a.m., to watch The Australian Open, while everyone else slept. I love loved tennis. I kept abreast of rankings; I rearranged players’ bios in my head. I tracked live scores on my iPhone during sermons on Sundays.
I put my definition to the test. I ask friends, “Does this mean I was passionate about tennis?”
“Nah, you are were passionate about Rafa Nadal’s biceps!”
Never mind my friends they are goofy like that.
I attended a meeting, where the speaker’s call rang true: we should be passionate about life. He didn’t tell us where to find passion, but I have a thought or two, and maybe you do too.
Middle English: from Old French, from late Latin passio(n-) (chiefly a term in Christian theology), from Latin pati ‘suffer’1.
Pati, to suffer. How true in the sense that we willingly suffer pain to gain the thing we love. But the word has evolved.
Is passion duty?
I think of the nights in secondary school, when I read a small book called Calculations in Modern Chemistry—the bane of my fourteen-year-old existence. I couldn’t tell an atom from a molecule, those minuscule things unseen by the naked eye. Forged on I did, cramming formulas, until I decided I’d make my parents proud some other way.
“You want to drop chemistry from your electives? You won’t be able to study aeronautical engineering?” my teacher queried.
“Mmmm,” I replied, grateful that I would never speak of covalent bonds again.
Can Passion die?
“What happened to you?”
“I gave birth to the most beautiful boy in the world.”
“But . . . I don’t understand. You were going to go to LSE, you wanted to work for the World Bank—”
“When I cradled him in my arms; I can’t explain the feeling . . .”
“And now that you don’t anymore?”
“I don’t know, I mean, I have no desire . . .”
“Yeah, so what?”
Where does passion come from? Is it innate?
I stumbled on my love for writing, drawing, and music before I was eight. I experimented, my parents indulged. Books, art lessons, cassettes, and karaoke, kept me indoors and out of trouble, but I learnt they were not the path to wealth and security. So I chose another path, an acceptable one.
I remember watching planes land and take-off at the airport and the exhilaration that filled my young heart. Giant birds, what makes them fly, I wondered. Watching planes gives me a rush to this day. I know a little about lift and the law of motion. I know also that this thrill is not passion to study engineering. It is desire to fly and be free.
Passion is not the romantic word I once imagined it was. For me, it is natural ability honed by attention, repetition, focus, discipline, excellence, tenacity, and commitment. It grows, it dies, it resurrects, and it changes, as I evolve.
The desire to be a good mother, a loyal friend, a mentor, coach, teacher, the desire to tell stories, to influence lives, and to blaze trails have stayed. The how changes and control of the when slips from my hands when I clench my fist, but these desires, they are like liquid fire in my bones.
P.S. Aha! You thought this was some witty post about sex romance, so you kept reading waiting for the twist—gotcha! Maybe I like Rafa Nadal’s biceps, but that is a part-time obsession passion. What keeps you awake when the world sleeps?
©Timi Yeseibo 2014
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
1. Definition of passion at Oxford Dictionaries.com. http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/passion