I’ve spent most of my life doing something that I’ve been calling “looking for my passion.” It’s taken me a lot of time to realize that being passionate may not be a question of love-at-first-sight. I’ve never been the kind to fall in love passionately. Why should work be any different? Passion is something that is absolutely worshipped in societies today. Whatever happened to temperance, persistence? Working hard and gaining fulfillment in the work, any work? This type of feeling is devalued these days. Passion rules supreme.
It’s the same phenomenon in marriage. People get married because they fall madly in love, not because they’ve made a rational decision concerning the rest of their lives. This seems obvious and necessary to us now, but it hasn’t always been that way. So-called romantic love is mostly a very recent phenomenon. Sure, there have been tales of people being swept away by love for centuries, but those tales were the exception, not the rule. These days everyone aspires to what was once considered a form of regrettable madness.
Just a century ago people were happy if they just found someone of the opposite sex who wasn’t altogether unpleasant, and then they just made do. If the other party was gainfully employed, didn’t drink excessively or hit them, everyone was happy. No one talked about needing to feel more connected to his or her spouse. No time for that, they had work to do.
With work, it’s the same thing. People used to take any profession that came their way. No one had a choice. And most of the time they never even had the time or the inventiveness to think about how things might have been different. They just did their best to be happy with what they had.
I’m not saying I want to go back to those times. I’m dead happy I didn’t have to marry my first boyfriend and I’m also really hoping to choose my employment as much as possible. The point I’m making is that happiness is not something you find in those things, your spouse or your work. Waiting for passion to drop down on you from somewhere above is about as realistic as waiting for you perfect husband to just come knocking on your door one day. You have to find these things, and even more importantly, realize that happiness (and passion) is not the same as the perfect job. It’s not the man. It’s not the car. Happiness is the tune you whistle to while you’re searching. It’s the sunray that makes you sneeze. It’s the raindrops dancing on the roof. It’s breathing in deep because you are alive, and that is the greatest thing in the world.