I admire women who are able to successfully straddle the worlds of motherhood and career. I’m not one of those women. I knew I wouldn’t do either my family or my career justice if I tried to do both, so for 14 years I’ve poured my soul into mothering my two sons. And it’s been a great ride. I have no regrets.
Lately, however, I’ve begun to chafe a bit at the daily round. I’m still committed to raising a strong and healthy family and to creating a safe haven to return to after our forays into the world. But somehow it’s not enough anymore.
My children still need me, but that need isn’t as all-encompassing as when they were young. They are older and more independent which frees up time and energy for me to devote to other things. The million dollar question is “What might those other things be?”
Fourteen years is a long time. The world has changed significantly since I stepped away from my teaching career to raise my children. I know I do not want to return to the classroom, but what else do I have to offer? What other gifts (besides my sons) can I bring to the world? I know I want to do more, give more, but more what?
Enter The Passion Test.
Janet and Chris Attwood’s book provides an excellent map to living a passionate life. By the end of Chapter Three, I had identified my top five passions. It was a challenge to narrow down all my interests to a mere five, but thanks to that process I know without a doubt what is the most important to me at this point in my life.
The remaining chapters in Part One provide concrete tools for living my passions (I’m still working on those) and Part Two provides inspiring interviews with people who are already living passionate lives.
I was surprised and not surprised by my top 5 passions.
When I am living my ideal life:
1. Beauty! I am creating beauty that uplifts, inspires and delights. (The surprise/not surprise here is that pouring my creativity into something other than my family has moved into the top position.)
2. Family! I am enjoying rich and satisfying relationships with my family. (I felt a little guilty for moving them to number two, but the urge to be creative in other ways is just too strong. I have to listen to that yearning.)
3. Freedom! My time is my own. I follow my own agenda from moment to moment each day. (Luckily, we are no longer homeschooling. I now have seven hours a day that are all mine.)
4. Solitude! I am spending large periods of time alone. (Not surprised because I’ve been craving solitude for a while now. Am surprised that it made the top five.)
5. Land! My home is surrounded by nature. (Absolutely no surprise here. I’ve been yearning for the peace and quiet and natural beauty of country living for a good many years. This one is not going away!)
Janet and Chris recommend redoing the Passion Test every six months. Once we start consciously choosing in the direction of our passions, our lives will open up in new and exciting ways, revealing new passions we may never have allowed ourselves to imagine. So it’s good to check in with ourselves and see what, if anything, has changed.
I’m betting that a good solid year of huge chunks of alone time will fill up that empty part of me and my passion for solitude will make way for something else. But for now it’s Creating Beauty, Family, Freedom, Solitude and Land.
What about you? What are you passionate about? If you had to narrow them down to the Top Five, what would they be?