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The Passion of the Poops September 3, 2011

Posted by J. in FYI, Genius.

I remembered this morning that I had bookmarked a site awhile back that was full of journaling prompts. I don’t keep a journal–I have explained why I hate that kind of introspective bullshit on previous occasions, though whether the reasons are clear or not are probably still pretty far up in the air.  At any rate, most of these prompts were about at insightful and inspiring as a bag of used napkins.

But damn it, I’m at a loss. I’m all out of practice with the writing thing again and figured a jumping off place was probably a good idea, since nothing in my life seems at all interesting or amusing at this point.  I do love me some hypothetical questions, though, and in a sea of the pedantic, this one managed to catch my attention: “If you were free from want and need, and could live a life of unfettered creativity and passion, what would be your reason for living?”

Well hell, my reason for living every day is the simple fact that I have a life.  I have never quite understood feeling like I have nothing to live for.  Maybe it’s because things have never been bad enough in my life for me to despair of living it, or maybe I just have a well-honed sense of self-preservation.  Maybe I’m a true optimist, or a combination of all those things, but most likely it’s just that I know deep in my heart that this, too, shall pass.

Whatever the reason, it doesn’t take much to get me out of bed in the morning, so to pinpoint one reason–one thing–that I feel so strongly about that it would become my reason for living is a hard question to answer, and it’s why I chose it.

Let’s think of this in a different way: if I could do anything, provided that the basic wants and needs of my family were not a deciding factor, what dream would I pursue?  That, my friends, is where Poops is left hanging.

I have no idea.  Unlike Dr. King, I don’t have a dream of my own.  There is no passion that drives me.  There is nothing that given all the resources and time in the world, that if rearranging the circumstances of my life were indeed possible, I’d go for. I’m 42 years old and I have no idea what I want to be when I grow up.

However, the older I get, the less it seems to matter to me.   I start to consider the things that I do that I enjoy and ask myself, if I had all the time and money in the world and had nothing to tie me down, what would I do?   The answer is that I would probably keep following a path that is astoundingly similar to what I’m doing right now, even though the status quo leaves me with a little time, less money, and family keeping me rooted firmly to this spot.

For instance, I was asked what I’d go back to school to study if I had the time and money (since several of my friends have done that very thing once their kids were all in school) and if that were the question, the one thing I would love to study is theology.  I’d love to earn a Master’s degree from a Catholic university.  Yes, I realize that I have an undergraduate degree from a Catholic university that’s worth less than the paper it’s printed on, and realistically I know that even if I got a Master’s there’s nothing I want to do with it.  There’s no career path that I’d follow that requires that degree.  I’d do it for the sheer fun of learning.

But then I realize that there’s not a damn thing keeping me from sucking up all the theology I can hold any time I want.  I don’t need a university to do it.  I figured out that taking one or two adult faith formation classes at church has whetted my appetite for more, having discovered that it’s a topic that really interests me.  Right now I’m sitting here with the green flyer in front of me from the bulletin announcing the class dates for the third part of the class Sistah and I have been taking on the Gospel of John and I’m looking forward to it more than seems reasonable.

And yet, it’s not.  I think I get that the excitement of this little class would go away if I had to seriously pursue advanced schooling.  I doubt I’d look forward to my classes for very long and I’m pretty sure that I’d wind up hating the drudgery of it before very long.  I think I know somewhere in my heart that if this little thing I enjoy became Big, I’d like it less.

Maybe I’m not made to Think Big.  Or Dream Big.

It seems like whenever there is a next step to take or a path to follow, there’s usually so much more that goes into realizing a dream that it has the potential to turn into a nightmare.  Even with unlimited time and money and nothing tying me down, at what point does the dream lose its sparkle?

I’ve discovered it with my knitting.  I love to knit, and I love to create things.  I make patterns up all the time and I’ve written a very few of them to sell or give away.  They’ve been pretty well received on a very modest scale.  Why don’t I pursue that?  Why not write up patterns for all the awesome things I’ve made and sell them?  Get them marketed and promote them?  Get my name on blogs and have knitters around the world waiting for my latest publication?  Can’t I have my own yarn line?  Why can’t I be Debbie Bliss?

Because everything past the knitting of the item and jotting down the notes is just work.  Drudgery, in fact.   It’s something that the passion I have for it is so modest as to make it unsustainable in the long run.  In short, is it worth it?

Probably not.  I think, after all this navel-gazing and rampant speculation which perhaps does have a purpose, I’m probably better focusing on the here and now, and continuing to think small.  Maybe it’s okay to not have a dream or a passion that drives your every breath.  I know people, and don’t we all, whose passions consume them.  Individuals who have a Big Dream and pursue it doggedly, missing a lot of small stuff on the way.

Can living in the moment, just for today, be a passion?  I hope so, because I seem to find it sustaining.

(Author’s Note:  Oh, my God, that was some of the worst dreck ever, wasn’t it?   I’m going to want to kill myself when I stumble across this someday.  You mark my words.  *cringes inwardly*)



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