The question of how to find your passion is so common, it’s almost cliché. We’ve all heard Mark Twain’s quote “find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” As a creative genius, it’s easy for him to say! But what about us regular folks? What if we spent our whole lives chasing this dream, and in midlife, we still don’t know what we want to do when we grow up?
It’s okay! We don’t need to know! We just need to listen to our hearts and do the things that make us feel content inside. Now that sounds like pretty boring, basic advice! So, let’s add to that a willingness to experience new things, even if they make us slightly uncomfortable. Even if you don’t eventually find your passion, these two things alone can lead to a more fulfilling life.
But enough of that! You’re here to find your passion, so that’s exactly what we’re going to do.
What is Passion?
Dictionary.com defines passion in part as “a strong or extravagant fondness, enthusiasm, or desire for anything.” It also defines passion as “a strong sexual desire; lust.” But that’s another post. We’re talking about the kind of passion that makes you want to keep doing something without breaking for basic sustenance just because you love doing it!
When you have a passion for what you’re doing,
you want to do it morning, noon, and night,
and it doesn’t seem like work.
When you have a passion for what you’re doing, you want to do it morning, noon, and night, and it doesn’t seem like work. Diana Raab, MFA, Ph.D writes in Psychology Today “our passion is what we want to do naturally, not what sounds good or what others want us to do.”
It's Not Too Late to Find Your Passion
Midlife is the perfect opportunity to explore what we really want to do. Chris Dionigi, Ph.D. told NPR “at every stage of life, you should be a rookie at something.” Many of us have worked full-time jobs, taken care of children and other loved ones, or done both at the same time. Now the kids are grown, and retirement is approaching, leaving us more time to explore what we really want.
“At every stage of life, you
should be a rookie at something.”
Your passion doesn’t need to be a new career or business. It simply can be finding a new activity that makes you feel alive. New challenges can lead to an extraordinary life, Dionigi says. And don’t worry about sticking to it once you’ve decided what you’re going to do. Our passions can change. Remember, you’re in charge of this process!
Ask These Seven Questions to Find Your Passion in Midlife
1. What Kind of Person Am I?
Our passion is unique to us individually, which means one person may dream of performing on stage while another would rather sew quilts for the local shelter. What is your personality? Are you quiet, or do you like to be the center of attention? Do you consider yourself to be creative or analytical? Are you more comfortable around animals or people? I could go on and on, but you get the gist.
2. How Do I Like to Spend My Free Time?
What activities allow you to stay completely in the moment? When I’m writing my blog, I think of nothing else but the words on the page. I’m not thinking about what I didn’t finish yesterday or the myriad of things to do next week. That feeling of being completely immersed in that point in time is bliss or “flow,” as some describe it. According to Inc. Magazine, positive psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi says “the best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.” If you have an activity that keeps you in a state of flow, then you might have found your passion.
“the best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.”
3. What Have I Always Wanted to Try But Keep Putting Off?
If you haven’t found your flow and all you do is watch Netflix five nights a week, it might be time to think about those things you’ve always wanted to do but either didn’t have the time or the confidence to try. Fill in the blank: “I’ve always wanted to _____, but I’ve never had the _____to do it.”
This could be learning to play an instrument, acting in a community play, volunteering at the animal shelter, or any other variety of things. My mom always said she would have loved to learn how to figure skate. My mom is 81, so it may be too late for her. But in midlife, it’s not too late to learn to figure skate!
4. If I Had All the Time and Money I Need, How Would I Spend it?
Okay, this one is aspirational but can be pared down for real life. For example, if I had all the time and money I need, I would spend it traveling the world 365 days a year! In real life, I don’t have all the time and money I need, so what can I do? I can look at my monthly budget and figure out what I can sacrifice to put money aside for a trip to my dream country in 12 months. I can look online for an opportunity to trade houses or house sit for someone in my dream country for free lodging. I can find somewhere in the United States that I’ve never been and road trip there with a tent. There is always a way to pursue your dream.
5. What Are My Limiting Beliefs?
Money is one limiting belief based on reality. But so many other limiting beliefs are just that – beliefs and nothing more.
Limiting beliefs sound something like “I’ve always wanted to go hiking but I don’t have someone to go with me.” “I would love to write a blog, but I haven’t a clue how to build a website.” “I would love to open a boutique, but there’s too much competition.” And the list goes on and on. Stop this inner dialogue! Whatever it is, don’t let those limiting beliefs stop you! Of course, you need to proceed with caution, especially when it comes to a large investment. But most of the time your inner dialogue is the only thing holding you back. Don’t let it!
6. Do I Have Unaddressed Mental Health Issues?
If nothing sounds exciting or appealing to you, you might consider talking to a mental health professional. Lack of interest in daily activities could be a sign of depression.
7. When Can I Start?
Life is too short to wait a second longer! You have the tools to find your passion and live a life that you love! It’s not too late to pursue your dreams. Midlife is the best time to do so! At this age, we have never been more wise, capable, and confident.
Leverage your assets and live your best life today!
For more on this topic, check out my post 5 Ways to Have a Midlife Reinvention.
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