Just recently I read an article about the importance of having a passion project, something that you do beyond the day to day work. It reminded me of the years when I felt stuck and constantly frustrated that work just took so much out of me. At that time, I worked long hours and sometimes ended up crying because I was still in the office when everyone else had gone home. I was clearly in a rut and didn’t know how to get out of it. I went to all sorts of retreats and forums, some quite expensive just to figure things out. After all these self discovery sessions I realized that I should set out to find that which makes my heart sing and that I should find time to nurture it. I also got to accept that work never ends no matter how much time you spend in the office. I had to carve out time for myself so I can give more in the other aspects of my life.
I was also inspired by my husband who seemed always happy knowing what he wanted to do in life. He loved to make games and has found a way to make this his life work too. If it’s possible for him to find his true passion then I could discover it too.
I bought hobby books, joined photography classes, opened a bar, among other things, in my quest to discover my passion project. I also tried blogging. But nothing really caught on. Until I discovered running.
In 2008, we were required at work to field a representative for the intercompany olympics and no one wanted to sign up so I volunteered. It included free coaching and even stipend so that was a no brainer. So we did training two to three times a week and also joined some weekend fun runs because the company sponsored the race kits as well. I found that I enjoyed it and didn’t even mind training by myself. I felt that running kept me attuned to my thoughts giving me tangible and conscious time to spend with myself.
So I pursued it, finding time to run every single day. I remember squeezing time to run even if I finished work late at night, parking my husband at a bar for some night out with friends while I ran outside. I guess the focus on this interest built up my love for it. Whatever one really focuses on expands.
I kept running even after I had kids. I was talking to someone recently and she felt that having kids will derail her practice. I think there will just be a momentary delay, a beautiful pause as you give life to another. But it will find its way back to you if you find time for it again. And just like at work, I find myself having more to give to family because I have given time for myself.
I am on my seventh year of running and as they say, there is that seven year itch. Just like in marriage, I’m rediscovering it just as I am finding out things about myself in the process. For this next phase in pursuing my passion project, I choose to embark on mastery, on becoming the best runner I could ever be. I have put out my goal, and my heart, out there through this blog with the hope that the universe conspires to make my running dreams come true.
So yes, go out there and find your passion project. You owe it to yourself to find that which makes your heart sing. “If you want to know where your heart is, look to where your mind goes when it wanders.” So let me leave you with seven insights that have marked my seven years of seeking out my passion project:
1. Be open and try out new things.
2. Once you find something you like, focus and master it.
3. Carve out time for your practice.
4. Get your loved ones involved.
5. Put your goals out there.
6. Fall in love with it over and over again.
7. Rediscover yourself in it. Evolve with it.