“The most valuable land in the world is the graveyard. In the graveyard are buried all the unwritten novels, never launched businesses, unreconciled relationships, and all of the other things that people thought, ‘I’ll get around to that tomorrow.’ One day, however, their tomorrows ran out.”
-Todd Henry Die Empty
This post is not about making a checklist or a bucket list of things to do before you die. Nor is it meant to be some sort of “wake-up call.” The purpose of this post is to encourage you to set goals and to follow your passion. I want you to take a second and think about the things that you are passionate about. For me it’s children, photography, and the outdoors. If I don’t get one of these things in one form or another on a daily basis I feel stifled. Passion is almost like a life force or a heartbeat that keeps us going and keeps us motivated. We are a culture that pursues happiness rather than passion and there’s a distinct difference between the two. Happiness is a feeling, an emotion, and passion is a way of life.
Many of you know that I recently left my teaching job after six years to pursue my passion in photography and to focus on my daughter Afton. Not everyone has that sort of option and I am not condoning quitting your job unless it is something that is right for you and your family. If you’re not able to combine your passion with a career or some sort of income, make sure you pursue one of your passions outside of your job. If you love tennis, don’t let the racket sit in the closet for months, get out there and play. If you love painting, go paint. If you are passionate about hiking, then get on the trail!!
Our lives are all very busy and it can seem almost impossible to have time to do much of anything for ourselves (especially parents). If you can simply get in some time daily or weekly to do something that you’re passionate about you will find that it affects the other areas of your life in a positive way. If you have some sort of anchor like spirituality, yoga, or silence that can help you to have a clear focus, even better. The distinct difference between passion and happiness is that passion equates to making you feel like you made a difference in this world, happiness just make you feel happy. Passion is something you have to feed and it ends up feeding you. Happiness is great, but it is only temporary. Passion ends up leading to something better than happiness, it leads to fulfillment. I just recently realized that I could start taking more control of my life through my decisions and choices. I didn’t have to simply let things happen the way they happened, but I could actually make choices. I don’t want life to be a passive experience, but rather an active one in which I matter and the choices I make matter. Yes, I’m 29 and am just now figuring that out. It’s better to realize it now than to never realize it at all.
“Through the years I’ve known my share of broken hearted fools
And those who couldn’t choose a path worth taking
There’s nothin’ in the world so sad as talking to a man
Who never knew his life was his for making”
-Ray Lamontagne Album: God Willin’ & The Creek Don’t Rise
I share this with you because we all need reminders to follow our passions and I would much rather live in a world full of passionate people than a world in which people simply let things happen to them. I hope you enjoy these photos as they came from that place of passion, and from making a series of decisions I know my family and I won’t regret.