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Growing up, my mom tried to convince me to become a marine biologist. “Just imagine it,” she’d say, “you could live by the ocean and work with dolphins.”

Believe me, I was intrigued. I’ve always been drawn to the ocean and I thought marine life was pretty cool. There was only one problem: I didn’t like science. At all.

My dad once said I’d make a great lawyer. I don’t know if he really meant it or if I’d just worn him down in yet another debate about why he should take me to the mall rather than spending the afternoon together in the park, but it made me wonder if I should consider a career based on my keen knack for arm-twisting.

When people make these kinds of suggestions, it’s hard not to question if they have better insight into who we are than we do. It’s enlightening to hear how others view us and what they perceive as our strengths. But if we’re not careful, those insights can lead us down the wrong path and we can end up becoming who the world wants us to be rather than who we really are.

In retrospect, I know I would’ve been a terrible marine biologist because marine biology doesn’t light my fire the way other things do, like writing. (Not to mention, my husband has imparted upon me an extreme fear of sharks.) And I would’ve been miserable as a lawyer because, as it turns out, I don’t like to argue.

Fortunately, this doesn’t mean my love of the ocean or persuasive skills have to go to waste, I just have to find a way to use them that is true to me…like writing on the beach and then convincing someone to buy my books 🙂

Who does the world want you to be?

Today’s Word of the Day (courtesy of got me daydreaming.

sabbatical\suh-BAT-i-kuhl\ , noun;
1. Any extended period of leave from one’s customary work, especially for rest, to acquire new skills or training, etc.

I’ve never taken one but it’s fun to imagine what I would do with such a divine block of time…

…I’d travel to new places like New Zealand, Eastern Europe and South America.

…I’d help rebuild places that have been demolished by natural disasters.

…I’d use my camera every day.

…I’d take my time.

…And, of course, I’d write. Long hand.

What would you do?

Passion is an elusive bugger. Finding it is like trying to catch a fish with your bare hands. And once you’ve got it, there’s no guarantee it won’t wiggle right out of your fingers and swim away.

People lose their passion more often than I realized. When I attended Elizabeth Gilbert’s talk a couple months ago, I could hardly believe my ears when she confessed that she lost her passion for writing after the unexpected success of Eat, Pray, Love. This, from a wildly successful author who thinks of herself as married to writing!

Naturally, she was panicked. The love of her life had left her. But then she took a friend’s advice, stepped away from her writing and let her curiosity lead her on a new adventure…one that unfolded in her garden. She dug, planted, watered and harvested for months. She kept her mind off of it. Then one day, while she was digging in the dirt, her passion returned. When it did, she stood up, brushed off her knees, went inside and got back to work.

Gilbert recently talked about this “passionless time” and the importance of curiosity in an O article, and I think her advice is worth sharing:

“If you’ve lost your life’s true passion (or if you’re struggling desperately to find passion in the first place), don’t sweat it. Back off for a while. But don’t go idle, either. Just try something different, something you don’t care about so much. Why not try following mere curiosity, with its humble, roundabout magic? At the very least, it will keep you pleasantly distracted while life sorts itself out. At the very most, your curiosity may surprise you. Before you even realize what’s happening, it may have led you safely all the way home.”

If your passion slips through your fingers and swims out of reach, let it go for a while. Put it out of your mind and follow your curiosity wherever it may lead you. Just remember to bring a net because you never know when it will return.

Have you ever lost your passion? How did you reclaim it?

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