Do you know what it’s like to want something? I mean really want something. So much so that you develop a cop on a high speed chase kind of tunnel vision while you ignore the infernal screams of your rational mind warning of the most certain impending doom of that hairpin turn ahead?
That’s a rhetorical question by the way.
That’s where I am right now. It’s a wild ride, and one over which I have as much control as I do the eruption of an Icelandic volcano. And I’ll tell you why.
I’m a creature of passion. Not so much the “take me now subcreature” kind of passion, though I’m not saying I’m opposed to such acts of uninhibited carnal instinct. That’s actually quite a nice one, with the right intrinsically talented subcreature, mind you. But overall I speak more of an on fire for life kind of passion.
I’m the species of passionate creature that simply needs to feel passionate. It doesn’t have to be all the time and it doesn’t have to be about everything, but there has to be a level of passion for something or I begin to feel dead inside.
I’m here to tell you that dead feeling is not pretty. It comes on slowly, creeping into all aspects of my life. It will last for a relatively short while, a few months to a couple of years, accompanied by mild depression, impatience and withdrawal. I’ll not feel very active. I’ll not reach out to do things with friends. I’ll hide out in my room, watch a lot of TV or movies by myself, maybe read. I won’t have patience with family, pets, traffic, small appliances, coworkers or the guy who reports the weather in that nasally voice. I’ll not have much energy to do simple things like eat, clean the house or brush my teeth. You get the picture. Not pretty.
The good news is the dead feeling doesn’t last forever. Self-preservation eventually moves in and manifests itself as restlessness. That part is truly the most dangerous for me. It’s then that the monster stirs, reminding me that I am a creature of passion and things are a little low in the passion department. Like a bear waking from a long winter, a deep hunger rises in me and the worst part about it is I have absolutely no idea what I hunger for. I just know I’m ravaged and whatever crosses my path first will be the prey I’ll single-mindedly hunt down with a stamina a doped Lance Armstrong can’t even fake.
I can’t count how many times I’ve been through this little routine. Sometimes it’s for little things, like a project I want to do or a place I want to visit. Other times it’s a whole life change like when I moved to Glasgow, Scotland, after college or the four focused years it took to become a helicopter pilot. I just never know when it will strike and I’m just as clueless as to what will ignite my passion. I only know that once something takes hold, I’m in for a ride, and it’s almost always wonderfully predestined and makes my life richer.
In this latest trip around the patch, I’d spent the last two years in a nasty funk and this past summer the monster finally started to stir. And the longer the hunger for renewed passion roiled inside me, I knew the more fantastic the impending adventure. Then suddenly, I was on fire.
The ride started in mid-December and hit its first peak mid-January when I followed my instincts and a deep calling to the other side of the world, to a place that feels like home. While on that trip I got my groove back thanks to the people I met and adventures I encountered. I found my power and, like Ethan Hawke, was given an idea for the next step of my mission, if I should chose to accept it. But you know, as I sipped my first double whisky in a 300-year-old pub toward the end of my adventure I realized I was kidding myself. I didn’t have a choice about accepting the mission beyond how tight my seatbelt would be for the ride.
With the fires stoked, I’ve become more single-minded than ever. I, for the first time in years, have a clear idea of how I can put my professional skills to use to help others I care about make their dreams come true and it energizes me in a way I’ve not felt before. My energy is up. My interest in things I’d let slip by the wayside is renewed. My goal is crystal clear and in my sights. My bow is strung, arrow is notched, and my breath is held. I’m moments away from releasing.
As I wait that antagonizing last moment, I sway between anticipation and impatience. It’s in that moment a tiny voice of reason can ever so slightly get a whisper in. Usually I ignore that bugger. I’m all about damning the consequences when my heart is set. Perhaps it’s age this time that lets me hear him.
“With every action, there is a reaction. With every Yin, a Yang. You cannot welcome something so big into your life without seeing something go. Be fully aware of what you wish for, and be ready for the sacrifice you must make to bring it home.”
I’ve already come so far, but I know I’m not there yet. So far the sacrifice is my time and attention at home as I prepare. What will it be when I release that arrow and set the string of actions in motion I’ve so carefully planned?
I blink and, for just a brief second, glance outside my tunnel vision. I’m reminded that mountains were never climbed by those who sat at their feet and stared dreamily at their peaks. Oceans were never crossed by those fearing to leave sight of the shore. God doesn’t give you a passion without creating a path to achieve it.
Confirmed, I refocus forward with unshaken attention. I’m in this for the full run of the game.
I want this. I really want it, and when I have a fully ignited passion driving me, things balance out for the best. The alternative is a wreck of a Jen. Like Yoda, it’s do or do not. There is no try. I will do this, and if it fails miserably, I’ll never wonder “what if I had the courage to do it?”
I run my tongue across my lips in anticipation.