Just returned from another trip to Hawaii where I spent 18 days, every day, all day, on my standup paddle board working on my surfing.
That is pretty much all I do there during daylight hours. I take a break here and there to hydrate and refuel. Some say I should exercise “moderation” like everyone else: go out a couple of hours, rest a couple of hours or more. My friends tell me they surf for a couple of hours and then go do something else entirely. That’s great – for someone who grew up surfing and can do it daily, every day, all year.
I’ve been called obsessive for most of my life and it used to irk the hell out of me to be labeled. I just wanted to excel in everything I undertook and it took determination, drive, time and focus. I’d focus on one thing at a time – because that was the only way to give a new endeavor the time needed. I had the drive and determination to stick to it. I’m “all in” when I undertake a new activity. Such was the way for skiing and scuba diving. Today, I’m “all in” standup paddle surfing.
My Japanese cousin once said to me, “it’s so nice you have so many passions. I wish I had a passion.” Looking from the outside, it may seem enviable when someone is “all in” with passions. Initially, I spent some time with my cousin discussing a variety of activities that she might be interested in – to create a passion. Then I realized, it never works that way. And I’m not sure passion is the right thing for everyone.
I stumbled upon standup paddle surfing. I didn’t wake up one day and decide to become passionate about it. I just started doing it and when I caught my first wave, I was thrilled and wanted to do it again and again. A passion was born by accident. And what does that really mean? I looked up the word passion and it means that you are willing to suffer pain to accomplish what you are doing. And yes, I guess I’m suffering some pain – standing on my paddleboard all day, my feet hurt, my legs get tired and wobbly, my arms ache from paddling after waves all day long; despite wearing sunglasses, my eyes burn and hurt from sun and seawater. Yet, I get up every morning before sunlight to get out there as early as possible to do it again, just because I really like it. So, I suppose, SUP Surfing qualifies as a “passion.” I’m not sure there’s anything admirable about that. It’s just what I do.
TODAY’S HOW TO
I don’t think looking for a “passion” actually works. Nor do I think a “passion” gives meaning to life. Maybe the better terminology is “all in.” If you are “all in” about something, you are willing to give up something in order to do it. Maybe it means that while you are doing that thing, you aren’t distracted with anything else. Maybe it’s just finding something you love to do, and doing it over and over because it releases endorphins and your mind and body are happy. I’d vote yes and suggest that anything that made you happy should be repeated. Is it a passion then? I don’t know. But perhaps the label doesn’t matter. When you stumble onto something that makes you happy, just do it again and again.