The title of this post sort of seems like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? If we’re really and truly passionate about something, shouldn’t it just come naturally – without us having to “make time”? And yet, I’m sure we can all relate to the notion of being too busy for the things (or the people) we love. When we have many things going on – school, work, social obligations, extra-curriculars, family – it’s easy for our love of the easel, microphone, or keyboard to fall by the wayside. We all have a little bit of creative genius inside of us, whether we express that through computer programming, graffiti, juggling or flower arrangements. Or maybe our passions are less about creation than they are about consumption: books, art, music, fashion shows, blogs, magazines or restaurants. (I’m sure that most of us have passions that lie in the realms of both creation and consumption.) And if personal experience is any indication, our passions are the first thing to go when life gets busy and time gets scarce.
But hold up. Why should this be? After all, our passions feed us all the nutrients our spirit needs: joy, satisfaction, beauty, love.. Without them, we are flat, boring, listless. Uninterested. Uninteresting.
Of course, we all live in the real world. We all have pressing concerns, such as making a living, studying, or caring for others. Maybe it is unrealistic for some of us to pursue our passions on a large scale. But I think everyone has at least fifteen minutes in their busy day to practice their passions. And that first fifteen minutes is all it takes! Once you make it a habit, I think you’ll find yourself looking forward to those 15 minutes of you time, starting to stretch it out to half an hour, waking up earlier, going to bed later – doing anything you can do to feed your soul.
So maybe you can’t take four months off work to write your opera. But you could do a little every day. You could cook one recipe a day for a year. You could read five pages every night before you went to sleep. You could spend ten minutes learning a new chord on your guitar, practicing a new smoky eye, memorizing a dance routine or writing poetry. Sure, all us “creative types” would love to have that year-long sabbatical to “do our best work”. Yet I find that the juices flow more when I’m busy, alive, and experiencing the real world! And it would be lovely to be able to roam art galleries all day and read novels all night, but it’s just not going to happen. So check out library books on Medieval England and read them on the bus, pen dramatic lines for your film noir script in your notebook during the work day, bake cakes on weekends, and sing your heart out in the shower. Take any minutes you have and run with them, baby! Simplify, condense, concentrate.
2. Waste Not
..Your time, that is. Don’t complain to me about not having time for your passions if you’ve seen every season of Jersey Shore, know your high school chem partner’s relationship status on Facebook, and read every Goop newsletter or Gilt Groupe update that comes through your inbox. Unless of course, you’re passionate about those things. In which case..by all means! But chances are, Facebook, Twitter, reality television and junk mail are simply things you do, not necessarily things you love. So stop them. Cut them out. Leave them alone. Yes, they may be more simple, brainless, and easier than the activities you thrive on (which probably take heart & soul – they are called passions, after all) but they ain’t making you happy, sister. I suggest you take a good, hard look at the way you spend what precious little time you have in your day, and get rid of the time wasters.
3. Share the Love
One of the best ways to make time for your passions is to collaborate with others. Having other people involved makes the activity seem more important, special, or non-negotiable. Try starting a book club, sign up for a biweekly hot yoga class with a friend, or join a community of bloggers to kick your butt into shape. Having other people to “be passionate with” (ha!) will help you to make time. After all, it’s much easier to make yourself do something if you feel others are counting on you to make the effort, than it is to try and motivate yourself when you’re doing something on your own. Exploit those feelings of “obligation” to your advantage: if you feel you have to make time for your passions, then you will! And won’t that be grand.
Do you find it easy or difficult to make time for the things you love? Do you use any strategies to cut out the nonsense and be passionate? Do you find yourself saying you “have no time”, even though you’re on Facebook 24/7 and watch chick flicks like it’s your job? Can you think of ways to simplify your passions into tiny little nuggets of awesome that you can tuck into little pockets of your day?
All my lovin’,