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  • Heather Mistretta

No burning passion, nagging desire or raging compulsion?

Some people dream of dancing the Nutcracker at Carnegie Hall, while others stay up late nights studying anatomy with the sole intention of becoming a neurologist. That burning passion may lead down a straight, steely path directly to the goal or for others unexpected life events may make the journey more circuitous than expected with bumps and turns along the way or just maybe still for others there is, dare I say, no burning passion or compulsion to follow a particular path.

Life is fuzzy, ever-changing and interesting. In fact, it can be downright distracting…in a good way. Desires change, variables multiply and life gets in the way sometimes.

I used to think there was something wrong with me when my only dream was to make enough money so that I had the privilege of helping others in a really profound way. Yeah, I liked to write, and I was actually quite good at it at a very young age. I think I wrote my first story with a crayon. But today I’m here to say it’s okay if you don’t have a burning desire. I know I’ve given myself permission to let it go.

As Americans, we have a ton of opportunities available to us so choosing only one can be baffling sometimes. And we’re constantly told that we can be whatever we want to be. That prospect can be a little daunting. For me, as a young, idealistic graduate with unrelenting ambition, I had many interests; so many so that I gravitated toward eliminating the careers I didn’t want to pursue rather than embracing the one and only I DID want to follow. In the end, I chose journalism, but that ceaseless gravitational pull that seems to guide some people down their career paths was just not there. And I don’t think I’m alone.

My writing talent and hard work led me to start a job at a small publishing company in Red Bank, NJ, where I followed the upward trajectory, landing in the position of managing editor. And from there I cruised across the river to the energy desk at the international news service, Reuters in New York City.

I won’t bore you with all the details, but I will say that sometimes your burning passion is an intention, not a specific job or career. And that’s okay. Be proud of your talents but also remember to embrace your flaws too, for they are also part of who you are and what drive or motivate you. Don’t stress over whether you have a passion or not. Let your curiosity lead your way, and you just might discover your passion after all.

And don’t forget to ask and accept help from others. It doesn’t mean you are weak or incompetent. It means that you haven’t let your ego dominate your thoughts, realizing that you don’t know everything. Believe me, the benefit is mutual.

Notable Indian actress and author once said, “Everything you desire, crave, need and want is within us. You are your own soulmate and the time you spend in your own solitude, the beauty you find in your laugh lines, the time you take to not smooth those curves, but to love them, is maybe not what you were looking for but something you are blessed to have found.”

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