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November 5, 2019

I Found my Passion—& I hit Rock Bottom.

Overwhelmed.

Depressed.

Isolated.

This happens to sum up my experience of trying to “find my passion.”

For years, I heard every self-help guru preach about finding our passion and how it leads to happiness.

Then you would hear stories of how they knew they wanted to be a writer since they were three. And others who knew they would be doctor, teacher, or photographer by the age of five.

I could never relate to this, and, because of the immense pressure of feeling like I was missing out on this “passion,” I set off to try and find mine.

And by set off, I mean I sold all my possessions, moved across the world, went through a career change, and started over—more times than I can count.

First, I went off to college to be a social worker. Because this was my thing. I wanted to help people.

After experiencing burnout and an overpriced college education, I realized…Nope, not The Thing.

Then I moved to Taiwan to become an English teacher. I would teach my dolls as a child, so obviously, This. This was my thing!

Nope, not it either.

I decided to take time off and travel, which led me to doing my yoga teacher training in India. Ah-ha! Found it, at last!

But, turned out this wasn’t it either.

I found myself burnt out and constantly back into the rut. By “the rut,” I mean this depressive state of mind I get into where I question my purpose in life, why I haven’t found my passion, where the hell it is, and why I’m even still here on this godforsaken earth if I can’t find the one thing I was born to do. Why?!

I came back to Minnesota and found another social worker job, though I vowed I was done.

About a year later—you guessed it—back into the rut. Once again, sold belongings and moved with my then-boyfriend to yet another island: Honduras.

By this time, I was ready to throw in the goddamn towel.

Where is this passion thing, and why can’t I find it anywhere? Everyone else has found it. What is wrong with me?

My ex-boyfriend was buying a dive shop, and it was like a dream come true—for him. After realizing that my passion was not to be found in paradise, I came back stateside, once again.

I remember lying on my friend’s couch on my 30th birthday—jobless, homeless, with Jane (my lovely dog)—and I decided, in that moment, that this was my rock bottom. I was done chasing things, people, and jobs. I was going to find a way to be happy—thing or no thing, passion or no passion.

It took me three years and five jobs to find peace within my soul.

And guess what? Still haven’t found my thing.

Because guess what? I’m not a person with one thing.

I’m a person of many things.

You see, I was trying to squish myself into a box that just wasn’t mine. A timeline of life that just doesn’t work for me, because I was convinced that this is the way it had to be.

Such a silly way us humans live. We set up these stories, thoughts, and parameters based on other people’s expectations that are different from our own true self.

Creating the space to enjoy all the things I’m passionate about is what brings me true happiness. After realizing it doesn’t have to be one thing, my life has become much richer.

I played this game of hide-and-seek when trying to find my passion, and, when I didn’t find it, I used it as an excuse for my unhappiness. Little did I realize the negative forces I was attracting into my life by acting out of scarcity and being so desperate to find my thing.

Don’t put so much pressure on yourself to find your thing or your passion.

Explore your interests; enjoy the contrast. Finding out what you don’t like is just as important as finding out what you do like. If you discover you don’t have just one thing, join the club! Turns out there are a lot of us.

You can’t attract happiness when you are desperately searching the world for reasons to belong. I wish someone would have told me that a long time ago.

You are here. You are perfect. Whole and complete.

Find your tribe.

Find more ways to laugh, connect with others, and appreciate the journey, instead of making it so much about the how things “should” be.

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author: Jenny Bailey

Image: Ian Dooley / Unsplash

Editor: Kelsey Michal

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