Giving your life to something

Passion is unforgiving. Get it wrong and it will haunt you like the ex-girlfriend who needed your love to come out of the closet. We’ve been forever fraught with the find your passion counsel but never been briefed of all the ways it can go wrong.

Most people never find their passion. Society, economics and your schools have been designed to prevent such human flourishing. Having no passion makes you look like a loser. So, you try the next best thing:

you do things passionately.

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From the outside, there’s no difference between this kind and the ones who find their passion. They both look comically intense; they radiate the energy they’ve sucked out of people around them; and they both give their life to the passion — their own, or borrowed.

The inside, though, is very different. There’s heart in one and hope in the other.

The hope that is a desperate part of doing things passionately is fueled by expectations and ironically enough, a sense of hopelessness. This is why giving your away life to anything maybe a terrible idea, to begin with.

If that thing is not what you chose your life becomes a means to someone else’s end. Obviously, there are worse ways to script a tragedy but to give your life away just to look busy is well up there with the typo in the neck tattoo that – somewhat weirdly satisfyingly when you think about it – now spells the aforementioned girlfriend’s brother’s name.

Giving your life to something needs a heart that can laugh at pain. That’s the kind of unbreakable heart passion is made of. It’s the kind of heart that runs on sheer insanity. The problem with giving your life away to anything is that the madness is borrowed, unoriginal.

If you are expecting the thing you are giving your all to lend a semblance of success to your life, it just might. But that’s a failure of a different proportion.

Just for the record, you don’t have to play this passion game. Plenty of people before you haven’t and they’ve lived just fine. Though, if you choose to give your life to anything, let it be in order to experience the whole range of living. Which means the effort coming to naught still fulfills you. I told you it was madness. Passion as a means to an end is false. Passion knows no end.

We give our life away to causes we don’t care about in order to escape putting in the work needed in finding something we actually care about. Someone who’s actually giving his life to something won’t care what you feel about it. He just does it. To him, you are respectfully irrelevant. Even if he needs your money.

Giving your life away to something can become a twisted form of validation, a function of your title, your salary and worst of all — the people you hang out with.

This is the tragedy of work: you give your life away to someone else’s shortsighted vision believing it’s your own and then you are surprised you are replaced. Of course, you are. Because you never did it for the right reasons. Your dreaming big is selling out to someone else’s dreams.

Be careful what you give your life to. You believe you are giving it all when the truth is all is being taken away from you.  In the end, you may have only discovered hopelessness you put off for so long; a tired prayer at the altar of regret.

Doing things passionately, if you choose, should be an unattached, unencumbered effort. It should be a symptom of enthusiasm, not desperation. Don’t make doing things passionately a means to find your passion — scarry stabs have been made many times over and it doesn’t work that way. Be so good they can’t ignore you, sure, but if their attention is what you are going for, no amount of being good is enough to find your own.

A life of passion is a deep one. As is the life, so is the passion. It must be yours.

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