Thursday, February 14, 2013

on finding Passions.

disclaimer: not books related.

So I'm 19. And I'm in my second year of university, and sometimes I'm.. floundering. I have my day to day things, I have my tests, assignments, social things, things like that. But I'm doing a bit too much stereotypical soul-searching and more often than not, I'm coming up blank. And it's like I'm stuck in this hole in which everyone has this silly little thing called "direction" in their lives, and I don't, because I'm unsure of what I want to do and what I love to do. How is that possible? How do I, ME, not even know what I like

So I backtrack, and I think, what was the last thing I was truly passionate about? 

Lo and behold: YA books and blogging.

I was equal parts passionate and obsessed. Maybe more passionate than obsessed, because it filled my mind. It was an interest that I thought about constantly, and on the upside, it kept my mind going and it's quite a beneficial interest-- Reading is cool and expands the mind. I'm so much better about having opinions on books. It's not as if I started smoking, I mean, I was obsessed with reading.

So what happened?

It's funny, because I think a part of myself purposely let that part of me go. I purposely cut the metaphorical rope that connected me to this blogosphere when I entered uni, and while that certainly gave me perspective (sadly, I'm much more cynical now about the the YA lit-osphere) it was also like "shutting down" my passion. True, I was also really busy, but I didn't try very hard to hang on. I let it go.

And I think I did it for the wrong reasons: I think I did it because I kept telling myself I needed to "move on" and "grow up". I couldn't sit around reading teen books anymore because society and the world requires me to "act like an adult" (guys, don't listen to my bullshit. If you're over 20 and reading YA, good on you, because I'm gonna be doing it as well). I guess I believed that I'd suddenly find myself immersed and in love with biology or something (heh, trust me, didn't happen) or my other subjects... but I didn't. 

I just cut a part of me off and nothing came in and filled that space, so now I'm sitting here in my oh-too-common "what should I do with my life" state of mind and I thought I'd write something down. 

And to tell you that really, if you're truly passionate about something, don't let go of it. 

I've always had things I was obsessed with, so right now, I think I watch too much TV (trust me, it's too much). And I adore movies. Except again, I have that stupid voice in my head telling me that those things are shallow and artificial and why can't I be interested in cool things like taxidermy?

I'm scared of being "lost", of never figuring out what I want. I'm scared of making the same mistakes and not realizing it until it's too late, because it didn't really feel like a mistake at the time. I wish I could change too many things, and I wish I wasn't so young to be already having regrets. 

So here I am, and I'm just going to keep on navigating this 20th year of my life (too many of my friends are turning 20, now that's scary) and I'm going to try new things and hopefully read some scholarly articles (ha) and some more good books (yay). 

I got some advice recently. 

"You will find your passion; it creeps up on you like an itch and you don’t realize what it is until it’s turned into a full-blown fever.  I swear it’s not as painful as I just made it sound, but what I’m saying is that you will realize it when the time is right.  The important thing to do is never stop doing stuff."

I hope that's true. 


So I'm curious, of those 10 who might read this. What other passions do you have? 


  1. Hello Audrey.
    You can stop blogging if you want. But please, don't stop writing. I love to read these honnest and insightful thoughts you have. You manage to convey all these feelings and turning points into paragraphs. And then, I don't feel so alone.
    I'm passionnate with stories, storytellings, discoveries. There is nothing I love more. This is how I learn and grow. And now I know I need to be filled with stories to be happy.
    But it doesn't mean I'm going to be an editor or a scenarist. This is a huge part of my life and I'm not letting go, but this won't be my job.
    You know what you love. You just don't know what kind of job you're going to do. Find something you like, something you can me invested in.
    Exemple: If I was a medical student, I probably would have become an Onlogist. Because I have this weird curiosity and deep attachment to cancer. But I'm not passionnate about it. Cancer doesn't make me happy. But I could have spent my life dealing with it.
    Long comment.
    I don't think taxidermy is cool.

    1. Hey Steff :)

      Thanks for your comment, seriously. I think I lose sight of that, that there's a difference between loving something and doing something for a living. I think I've romanticized the idea of the future which has been such a sucky, kind of un-smart, illogical thing to do because you're so right-- I can always have books be in my life and just because I try and find a job/career that's not related to books, doesn't mean I actually *lose* the books.
      I guess the next step in my life-crisis is to find something that I'm willing to, as you put it, invest in. Perhaps that's what I should be searching for, I'm surrounded by a lot of science that I feel are undoubtably worthy causes but I find uninspiring, but I really hope that changes.
      Thanks for your comment, really, I honestly appreciate it. xx

    2. I was curious. And I came back.
      I am so pleased with the responds and great feedback. I liked reading about these other girls who are so passionnate, stressed, looking for a path. And mostly passionnate and unafraid of loving things.

      Don't be so hard on yourself Audrey. I always thought my job would be my life and the reason I live. It would be my passion. When I was little, I didn't have a dream job but I would imagine myself accomplish big things and juggling situations. I had excellent grades and here came senior year. I had to choose. I could do what I wanted. What I loved. All the doors were open. Except I had no idea what I wanted or what i loved. I studied so academically and lived so cautiously I failed in building myself. I had no idea who I was.
      This isn't crazy or stupid to think you are going to be passionnate about your job. I sincerely wish this for you. And it can be real.

      In my case, I threw myself in the medical field and worked very hard and broke my soul to get in. Today, I have a direction. I'm going to be a dentist. I never planned or dreamed of it; but I don't forget this is what I wanted. I wanted to be defined. to be on a path. and yes, sometimes I feel trapped. Because I am going to be a dentist. I feel like this huge part of my life is determined and so many doors are closing. But this is a good situation, a good job, a satisfying one. I like dentistry. And today, I know this won't be my whole life. But a great base. There are friends and stories and art and so much more in the future to inspire you.

      Biology is interesting. When you take away the exams, assignements and the stress. And you only remember the learning. The wonder. How life works via cells and chemicals all in your body. I know you kind of like it. You like knowing it. You're not supposed to figure out right away your career. Especially in those kind of general cursus.
      You're 19. You are at the beginning. And you are going to be happy.

    3. Hey Steff :) Thanks for the reply-- I think you're hitting it right on the head, I'm still in that stage where I'm believing that my life and future would be somehow swept up in my passion, but I kind of need to face the reality that this might not be the case. Perhaps this is extra sucky for me because I don't have a lot of passions, and maybe I'm like thinking myself into a corner because that seriously limits my view of things I would want to do in the future. Like the venn diagram of possible job careers and things I'm interested in would have just a wee bit of overlap, you know?

      Oh Steff, I'm so scared about myself living so cautiously. I'm simultaneously scared and cautious about my decisions and everything, i don't want to assume or anything, but I think we're a little bit similar in the fact that academics was something I was obsessed about in high school (I think I've relaxed a bit now in uni) and I was determined to have some silly, perfect path through adulthood and it's all hitting me now that this might not be the right way to go about "life". And of course, as I'm almost 20, I'm fricken terrified that I'm wasting away my teen years without actually fully experiencing being a teen. What you said about building yourself completely resonates with me, it freaks me out.

      I'm not sure if you'll check back again, but were you interested in the medical field before you worked towards it? Or did you do it as a "best option" type of thing? I think I'm also worried about shutting out opportunities before trying them out because yes, I do think lab work is uninteresting, but I've said it before-- I haven't had a chance to do it yet. And I feel like I should try it before making up my mind, but there's this prejudicial part of me that doesn't want to pursue something unappealing.

      And I agree about courses, I think while I'm studying about it, it makes me exhausted and sometimes sad because I pressure myself to not do badly on exams, but after it's all said and done, I think for pretty much all my courses I can say I was happy to learn it and adding that knowledge, that sense of wonder about the intricacies about our bodies is really, really neat. Perhaps not calculus though, since I've forgotten everything about integration ;)

      I'm so glad you've found direction in your life though, that give me hope :) Thanks again for the reply xx

    4. Coucou! :)

      Don't pursue something you don't like.
      I know I said there was a difference between passion and job. This is true but don't become blasé please. I would feel bad. A lot of people are able to do their dream job because they didn't settle and they never stopped believing. Is this cliché?
      You can choose and I want you to what you love.
      But don't forget reality. Realising life may not unfold as you thought doesn't mean you're not going to find your way and be happy.

      I know a lot of people who don't have passions or hobbies. My sister, some of my friends. They feel like nothing is filling them. They don't get transported. They don't get excited. They definitely don't fangirl. It is not a flaw.
      I am just grateful I'm able to sometimes be passionnate, inspired and deeply interested in particular things. :)

      I'm sorry if I talk like a wiseman. I'm not. I don't want to seem superior.

      I'm 20. 21 in two months. This isn't so bad.
      I think we are called late bloomers. In the way we are only now experiencing what others had years ago. I don't want to close doors or say no. Because I feel like I won't have much room left if I do. I don't want to miss out.
      So at the beginning of october I went to the Wei of my school, Week end of integration. It is basically 200 students in a mansion, partying throught the night. And it wasn't so bad. It wasn't as wild as they appeared to be. I tried to explain this "not wanting to miss out" to some friends who were judging me. They made it look like I sold my dignity and I have nothing left to loose just because I went.
      "Don't you want to see the world? Step out of your confort zones? Aren't you curious?"
      "Nop, I like my confort zones."
      They didn't get it.

      My friend who is in a business school once told me she felt like she experienced everything about the twenties she could. Everything about being young. And now she could settle and be a well rounded adult. Without regrets. No need to say, I feel like I just started living. I only woke up at 17. And I did nothing crazy. I feel really different from her. We are living in different worlds.

    5. I understand what you're saying. I see those girls who are uunafraid, who do yoga and kickboxing, read 50 shades of gray and plan a trip to Lisbonne for spring break. And I'm not like them. I'm holding back. I don't go on adventures. But I should.
      I had never been a teen discovering life. I'm not a yound adult embracing life. I am me. My only dream is to be happy and to get my driver license.

      I wasn't obsessed with academics. Academics were my life. This was all I had and I didn't question it. This was my way to a brilliant future. My mom has always wanted me to be a doctor. She wanted to be a doctor when she was young. I swore I would never be a doctor. I was 5.
      But then, senior year, 1 month before the closing of the choices, it became evident. I would be a great doctor. So I applied. I could do it. And it was the easiest and best option. I understood it. This is not like engineering. What do engineers do? It is still not clear to me. And I would have a job at the end.

      I guess you're at a point where every decision you make now will have huge consequences on your life. And this is terrifying. But once you made them, you will no more hesitate on the small details and choices.

      I don't know about lab work. Do you mean you will spend your time running tests on blood samples, something like that? Or do you mean doing research in a lab? This is different.
      You need to find something that suits you. If it is psychology. Let it be psychology. I would have loved to study it. I would have loved to study architecture, history, creative writing, astronomy, baking. :)
      Sometimes I feel like I'm more a literature person. But then I took optionnal classes of Ethic and Sociology. The teachers don't get us. we really don't think the same way.

      If you want to reply to this or if you're panicked or confused, I leave you my email adress:

      bye. :)

    6. Oh Steff, I think I meant to reply months ago but I didn't have the time to write out something "proper", and from then, it just slipped my mind :( I really really wanted to say that I appreciate it so much that you took the time to leave such thoughtful, supportive comments, they really did make me feel slightly better (although, hell, 2 months later, I'm still kind of in the same space minus school-related stress).

      It's weird looking back at this post and our conversation in the comments, because I think that I'm still in the same place, yet I have a bit more perspective, and yet I'm still in this rut. I'm watching a movie right now called Before Sunrise and the way it makes me feel (or well, the characters make me feel) is something special, I think if I were to really fangirl about it my choice of phrasing would be "it's making me fall in love with life" but in truth (while it IS the truth) it's also making me scared that I'm living a tedious life, and growing PAST that age in which the movie is depicting, in which I SHOULD be falling in and out of love with life and people, and I'm just walking straight ahead and missing out. It's hard to really describe. I wish I had it figure out more.

      What if I'm half-awake right now and I don't ever fully wake up and experience my 20s?

      Anyway, midnight musings. Thanks again for your comment xx

  2. I happened upon this in my rare moments within the blogosphere. Actually, the real reason I'm here is that I finally reached the "OH MY GOSH I HAVE BEEN DOING HOMEWORK FOR HOURS PLEASE GIVE ME SOME RELIEF" point, and what could be a better fix than this blog that I used to frequent so often?

    Audrey, I know entirely how you feel. I have been plagued by the same listlessness and concern that I've lost touch with the things I really love. I haven't written anything fictional in ages. I finish a book every two months. I stay up late doing homework every night to wake up at six o'clock with a sore throat and go to school. It's not fun.

    Worst yet is the fact that, when I do have free time (or, in other words, when I procrastinate), I spend it doing ridiculous things like watching too many movies (another mutual obsession of ours) and eating loads and loads of food. I feel I've earned the day of brainless inactivity, so I go for it and milk it all I can. But I return to real life with a sneaking suspicion that I just wasted time I could have used catching up on the sequels to books I love that have missed in the last two years.

    I don't know if you have any idea what I'm up to right now - and you probably don't, considering I disappeared - but I'm currently working on graduating high school a year early and planning for my first year of college. I'm juggling AP classes with independent study courses, exercise, play rehearsals, and sleep (though very little of that last one). I miss reading every day. Certainly, I read books for school - and I LOVE English classes - but I rarely have time to read books I have chosen for myself. Fortunately, I have recently read the LOTR series, which changed my life, but that took months and months when it should have taken a week.

    I am fortunate enough to know what I want to do - I want to double major in History and English and move to the UK, where I can hopefully get a job in a publishing house and work my way up to a position as an editor. That has been my dream for years and seems to be sticking. But I miss living my life now instead of dreaming about the living it five years down the line. I mean, look at me - I've lost nearly all my book reviewing relationships and my blog is a decrepit little thing. It's heartbreaking.

    Wow. This comment will probably leave a sour taste in your mouth. But your post induced in my an urge to rant. Sorry. :)

    P.S. Also, I am too tired and have too much HW left tonight to edit this, so it's rough.

    1. Madeleine! Girl, i've missed you. I remember you telling me what feels like a LONG time ago of your plans, and I always knew you could do it. You're so bright, driven, and passionate about English and writing and I never doubted you one bit that you could do both AP and graduate early-- and I'm so happy to hear that you're doing just that. And I think I'm even more happy to hear your love of English classes, I always felt that the education system has good intentions but the assignments kind of ruined books (except luckily, my high school was super-lax about required reading).

      Anyway, I digress. I'm glad that you're pursuing your dream, it sounds really wonderful and I wish you the absolute best. I think that putting your blog on the back-burner is nothing to be concerned about, it'll ALWAYS be there. It's kind of like Hogwarts in a way, eh? ;)

      Good luck with everything, hun, hopefully we can chat sometime, and thank you for the comment. I think "listless" is the perfect word. xx

  3. Ohhh man I have SO many passions.

    Ever since I was a little kid I've loved to perform. I remember begging my mom as a kindergartener to let me join the church drama group so I could be in plays and get up onstage. She eventually let me (when I was 7. HA.) and I did a whole lot of church plays for years. Then in high school I finally joined a community theatre. For 3 years theatre was my world. I was in play, after play, after play, either performing or teching. It's been over a year since I've been in a production and I miss it. I miss it SO much. When I was younger neither of my parents really fed my musical theatre obsession and I've never had any formal training (2 half hour voice lessons don't count. :P) but I feel like if I had been allowed to pursue it more when I was younger, and was given access to more training I probably would have decided to pursue theatre as a career.

    I also have a HUGE passion for biology and animals. For years I was planning on attending this special school called EATM (Exotic Animals Training and Management) where the students basically run their own zoo and train the animals. I wanted to become an animal trainer, or work in the zoo world. Ironically, I am OBSESSED with the Brain Scoop channel you linked in this post (seriously, I LOVE IT) and I watch those videos and think to myself "I want that job! Can that be me?" The thing is, I realized nearing the end of my senior year in high school, that when I thought about myself in the future I would rather be a Childrens Librarian than a zookeeper who shovels animal poop all day. :P

    Basically, my last passion is books. It's a passion I've had since I first learned to read. Reading has always been my favorite thing in the world (other than singing) and I love sharing books with other people which is pretty obvious since I write a book blog. In high school I spent time volunteering at both the public library and the zoo, and I just found that I loved all of the people that I met through the Library. The librarians and other teens I worked with are still some of my closest friends even though I'm 2 years out of high school and have moved out of the state.

    So when I think about it, yes I love to perform but it's really not feasible for me to do it professionally, and yes, I love animals, but I just happen to love books more. I hope that I'll be able to have more chances to do theatre, and I'm currently studying natural sciences (because I need to get my BA before I can get my Masters to become a Librarian. UGH) so those passions are very much still alive, I guess I just have realized that the one passion I could not live without is books.

    I definitely know how tough it is to have so many passions and not know what to do with them all. Oh to be able to live a bajillion lives and get to do everything we've ever wanted! That would be glorious. :)

    1. Aw Julia!
      You want to know a secret? I'm envious and sometimes in wonder about how well and unabashedly LOVE things. It seems kind of silly to be saying it, but I always feel this weird restraint not to be too excited about this or that, but whenever I see your tweets about THG or LOTR, I always smile. And another weird thing, I can picture you perfectly fitting in in a theatre setting.

      I don't think I ever knew about your passion for biology/animals, and I think that's SO cool. And yeah, I've recently been obsessed with The Brain Scoop too, and constantly blown away by how smart and passionate Emily is about that subject-- I'm totally envious of that too. It was a huge "push" for me towards thinking about this subject, because I think I watch her show and I'm just left there thinking "why aren't I as passionate about something as she is about dead things?"

      And curiously, I was at this tutorial-esque thing at my school and the librarian was discussing her job and while she's not a Children's Librarian, she works at the uni and reads scholarly articles and that job sounds so interesting, I think that that's something people just don't expect about librarians and all the other jobs they can do.

      I wish I had as many passions as you. I agree, I need more lifetimes to do everything I want, and to do things I didn't even know I wanted to do. Thanks for the comment, Julia :) xx

  4. I love that you can be so honest with us.
    Reading has always been a passion of mine, I read to make myself laugh or feel something or to get away from my ow life. I literally cannot not be in the middle of a book (or three) or else something feels off.
    Another passion I have is just learning things. I like the feeling of knowing all about something which is why I find the sciences so interesting. Sometimes school ruins it a little when you have to memorize every piece of information so that you can ace the test instead of just being in awe of how the world works. Useless knowledge that may come in handy one day during a Trivial Pursuit game is also super fun to acquire.
    And lastly, sports and running around and being outside and friendly competition. I am addicted to that stuff. I wish it was socially acceptable to just have random bursts of speed while you're walking because you just feel like it. I love using my muscles and wide open spaces and it makes me so happy.

    1. Hey Karen, thank you for the comment :)
      I feel like I do have a passion to learn things, and I have an interest in new things (perhaps I'm just missing the stepping stone between interest and passion) but I feel like school systems sour this learning thing. That said, I don't think I have enough drive to learn all those little science-y things without the "oh god, I'm going to be tested on this" feeling, so it works as a benefit as well, I guess.

      Friendly competition is always the best! haha but I definitely need to get out and exercise more. Thanks for sharing your passions :) xx

  5. Oh, I can totally relate to this post, Audrey! The whole uncertainty about what I want to do with my life didn't hit me so much during my undergrad, because I had the clear goal in mind of graduating with my BA in psychology (which was pretty much one of the only areas I *could* see myself getting a degree in at that time). But then I graduated, went to Japan for a year and taught English, and then came back and was like, "Oh shoot. What do I do NOW?" And my career path started to get very twisty and turny. I think for a while I had a different idea practically every week about what I might want to end up doing as a career, LOL.

    I can definitely sympathize with the worry of making a mistake and later regretting it...sometimes I've questioned the decision to major in psych (versus a degree that might have been more helpful in finding an entry-level job without further post-secondary education) or other choices I've made. Or I've been concerned that in making one decision, I'm letting other possibilities disappear. But hindsight is always 20/20, eh? It's tough to know at the time if you're making the "right" choice (and who says there's just one "right" one, anyway?)

    Also, don't stress if you feel that you don't have a ton of passions. There aren't a lot of things I feel really passionate about either, frankly. I love reading, I love psychology, I love playing guitar, and like you I am also a big fan of movies/TV shows. But I know some people who have a huge assortment of interests/subjects/causes they feel very strongly about, and while I am sometimes envious of that, I also think I'd find it exhausting to be that passionate all the time.

    By the way, which TV shows are you following these days? :)

    1. I'm majoring in Psych and Immunology right now, and I think I'm overanxious about the Psych degree, because I know how common it is, and what you mean by having a more 'helpful' degree 'career wise'. It's kind of like where I'm so interested in the subject and I really love my psych courses more than any of the science-y things I've taken, but it's just the line between something i enjoy and something that perhaps (not necessarily, of course) be more useful in the "job world". It's also a big thing about letting other possibilities disappear, i think, because I think for one of the only times in my life, I'm studying something I'm interested in and don't mind reading about, as opposed to something that's "expected" of me since I excelled in the sciences pretty much my whole life. While I don't really have any lab experience, I feel like none of it, pretty much zero amount of it interests me and seems like something I want to pursue, but again, i get that feeling-- like a social script but more of an adult-world-script that I should try and work in a lab and pipette things.

      Hahaha, I wish I wasn't as stressed about the passion thing! I feel like I need something that I can obsess about that isn't TV/movies (trust me, I'm obsessed a bit too much about those) because I dunno, it just feels like I'm missing out or something. I don't really know how to phrase it. I think I need some more time or something. I really hope things are going well for you :)

      Hehe TOO much TV, man. HIMYM, Castle, New Girl, Modern Family, Supernatural, Suits, Person of Interest, Elementary, COmmunity, Parks and Rec, The Walking Dead... I feel guilty just saying all that :/

  6. I know exactly what you mean. I mean, I'm several years out of college, and most days I wake up and still don't know what my passion is. I think it's great that we're thinking about what our passions are so much (I feel like some people go through life without passions, or without thinking about what their passions are), but I don't think it will get any easier anytime soon. Sorry for the bad news. >_<

    One thing regarding passions that I never seem to be able to figure out is how my passions will combine with my career. I've never been good at figuring out patterns, and here is a giant, very important pattern that I can't figure out: how can I combine my love of reading, writing, good books, traditional forms of communication, etc. with a job that I can love going to every morning?

    Well, this comment is not very helpful. But just to let you know that you are not alone, and that in between finding our passions, we can enjoy the little things, like finding like-minded people and commenting on their blogs. :)

    1. Because this is like comment confessional here (ha!) I'll say that I look up to you in the "Steph Su has it all together" kind of way (I swear, in the friendliest way possible). I'm following you on your travels across the world and I'm just thinking about how I wish I was able to be able to do something similar, to work hard for a few years and go wherever.

      Two months later, I'm still in between finding passions; hesitate to admit how much I love movies and such, but really, I feel like I'm waiting for something to care deeply about to just fall into my hands or something. And I'm pretty sure it won't happen. But I'm hoping, eh?

      Enjoying the little things. I like that. Thanks for your comment :) xx


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