Live a Life You are Proud of, Live a Life of Passion

Over the Fourth of July weekend, I committed to four days of play and relaxation. No work allowed. A difficult feat for me, not because I am that much of a workaholic, but because, for the first time in my life, I love what I do. Some might say I have passion.

Passion is a funny word, an image pressed into our brains by those (that elite group we call ‘they’) who think we need to find it before we can be happy. I’ve heard it said that only the chosen few discover passion in their youth; the rest of us search our whole lives trying to find it, like a gem beneath a pile of dirt, a jewel beneath a stone.

But is passion that important? Is it the magic potion that leads to a blissful life? I don’t think so.

My life, like many, has been a series of mishaps. Deaths, moves, dramatic family moments, horrible (and sometimes embarrassing) jobs that never brought me passion.

These are a few of my former jobs (feel free to laugh, moan, or be embarrassed with me):

Babysitting, waitressing, phoning property owners to coerce them into developing on recently purchased swamp land (Scam? Yup. I was young, didn’t know any better, but thankfully quickly figured it out), washing dishes, assisting the elderly (bathing, brushing teeth, and some really gross things), cashiering, stuffing envelopes, doing assembly work, filing, entering data on disks, telemarketing magazines, and completing miscellaneous duties in a medical office. As an adult, I pushed papers in an insurance company and trained others to do the same, audited, became a licensed real estate agent, managed a home day care, and taught preschoolers.

Of all these jobs, the closest I came to feeling even a tiny bit of passion was when I owned my own daycare. Even then, I didn’t truly love my job. Yet, the work was fulfilling, and in the process, I found joy.

Joy, like passion, is hard to find. They are decisions we must make. Long ago, I chose both.

As a teenager, I thought my life was falling apart. I’d lost the only support I’d ever known, and my family didn’t understand. One day, while everyone was out, I placed a steel blade against my wrist, felt the sharp edge on my skin, and thought about life. My life, how horrible it was. How sad, and scary. I wondered what it would be like to leave it all behind.

In that moment, I knew I didn’t want to leave. I still liked pieces of my life. Like my little brothers. And my dog. I knew then, all I wanted was to be happy.

I made two decisions that day: I would be filled with joy. I would live a life filled with passion. Not passion for one certain thing, but for life itself.

Passion is a zest for life. Joy is knowing that life is worth your passion. Click To Tweet

 

Tears streamed down my face as I placed the knife back in the drawer. That knife, that incident, remained a secret, until today.

Life isn’t always happy, and if you are seeking continuous joy, you will never find it. Passion, well, it doesn’t really exist, not in the tangible way that ‘they’ tells us it does.

Passion keeps us going, enjoying life. Joy tells us that life is exactly as it should be. Click To Tweet

My life hasn’t always been easy, and I can’t say I’ve always had joy. Yet somehow, joy always returns, like that long-lost friend that never goes away.

Joy was with me:
*When my father passed away. As I reminisced of moments together, laughter and tears, and tiny regrets.

*When friends moved.

*When family matters got tough.

*When I received a brain injury, joy struggled, like me, to survive. But it did. We did. I did.

Joy kept me alive. Passion kept me going.

Isn’t that what life is about? It’s not career, where we live, what we own, what we do, or even about others. Passion, joy, they are decisions, to live a fulfilling life, a life that makes us happy.

Life a life you are proud of. A life filled with joy. Live a life of passion.

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10 Reasons I Love Lists

It’s safe to say I am obsessed with lists. I love the numbers lined up neatly on the side of the paper, the sense of organization, the details of what needs to be accomplished. In all honesty, I never have just one list. I have multiple lists, all for different facets of my life. If you are a list-maker, you know what I mean.

This week, it turns out my lists were an illusion, a futile attempt to keep my life simple and organized. Sometimes the best-laid plans . .

I will never stop making lists, but after this week, I began to wonder: Do lists give us the illusion that we can accomplish more than we really can? Do they truly keep us on task? How many other people are list-makers? Are any of them famous? I did some research.

It seems lists are common among some very well-known, accomplished people, celebrities like Madonna, Ellen Degeneres, and Martha Stewart. But that’s not all, Benjamin Franklin was well-known for his lists, as were Thomas Jefferson and Charles Lindbergh.

I guess I’m in good company.

If famous people make lists, then they must know something the rest of us can learn from. They must know how lists can turn a hectic life into a simple and organized one. They probably also know that some weeks, even the grandest plans can go awry.

Because I love lists, I have created one just for you:

The top ten reasons I keep a list:

 

  1. They keep me organized. I have a list for each area of my life, including work, website tasks, and home chores. More than that, I keep lists of books I want to read, and movies I desire to watch.
  2. They help me remember. I don’t have to rely on my memory for all the things that need to be done.
  3. They keep my brain free for more important things. The less I have running around in my brain, the more I can focus on what needs to be done each day.
  4. I know what I have to do. No guessing, wondering, or thinking about it.
  5. I know what I have accomplished. I love crossing items off my list.
  6. It takes away stress. Less to think about equals less stress.
  7. It gives me peace. (Which only makes sense if there is less stress.)
  8. It gives me control. In a world that feels totally off-kilter sometimes, it’s nice to have a little control.
  9. It keeps me focused. I know what needs to be done, and I do it.
  10. I am less likely to procrastinate.

Yes, sometimes I wonder if lists make my life more complicated. It’s one more thing I need to do. But then again, without them, I wonder how much I would accomplish. I wonder if I would remember the twenty things that need to be done on my website, the people I need to call, or the essays I still need to write.

This week didn’t go as planned, but that won’t stop me from making lists. The pieces I didn’t get done this week are just transferred to next week, and I don’t even have to think about it.

I will always love lists.

Are you a list maker?

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