Nugget #4 Live with Passion
Passion keeps you young in body, mind, and spirit. It gives a deeper meaning to your life. In some ways, it can keep you alive.
Finding and following your passion can be emotionally challenging, but well worth it. It can transform your life in a multitude of ways. Some discover their passion early in life while others have to work at it. Those who discover it early are the lucky ones.
When I think of passion, I am reminded of a story I read about a Michigan woman, who—at a very early age—had a “fire in her heart” for cars. She became a lifelong car enthusiast and collector. At the grand old age of 101, her collection included a 1930 Packard 740 roadster, which she had owned since 1940. Her enthusiasm for cars kept her energized and active. At 101, she still drove the car, changed the car’s oil and spark plugs, and participated in car shows.
I am also reminded of my dear friend, Mrs. Lovette W. Harper, who loves poetry and reading it aloud. She celebrated her ninety-fifth birthday with a poetry reading at her home. She was eighty-eight when I met her. Long before I met her, however, I had heard of her impressive African art collection, which she eventually donated to the Legacy Museum at Tuskegee University, her alma mater. After meeting her I was fortunate to spend many hours in her African-art-filled home, listening to her stories…her travels, her passions, and her work as an educator in the New York State public school system.
At ninety-five, Mrs. Lovette is active, engaged, and her social/activity calendar rivals those of people decades younger. An avid reader, she is a walking encyclopedia on Africa and African-American art and history—among other things.
What keeps her going? She says it’s in her “genes”—that from a very early age, growing up in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, she was clear about her purpose and her passion. I think she was one of those who came out of her mother’s womb knowing what she wanted. All of her life she has had an intense passion for African-American history, art, and culture. Her purpose, in her own words, was “to go beyond herself and help others.” She can’t even remember when these things were not a big part of her life. And now, at the ripe age of ninety-five, she still has a “fire in her heart” for exposing young people to the global black experience. In her mid-eighties she became the driving force behind the establishment of a community Cultural Resource Center that houses, displays, and disseminates a special collection of books, artifacts, media, and photographs documenting the Global Black Experience, available to all who wish to learn.
It’s never too late to find your passion and follow it. It does take some soul searching, reflection, commitment, and courage. I add courage because it might mean taking some risks and stepping outside of your comfort zone; or doing some things that others might deem “inappropriate for your age or station in life”.
Here are three thought-provoking questions to ask yourself to begin your journey to find your passion:
• What excites me?
• What do I enjoy doing so much that I lose track of time?
• What would I do even if I were not paid to do it?