Happiness & Finding Your Passion
So tonight’s post came from an idea that I had the other day, I was thinking about Christmas. I don’t like Christmas but the one element of Christmas that I dig is gift giving. I really try to give great gifts, to think about the person and get them something they might not expect but that they will really like. I also like getting great gifts and surprises from people, I’m too often not surprised in life. So getting surprised or getting a really great gift makes me really happy.
Unfortunately I have a lot of folks in my life who would just rather I give them a list. Hey, that’s who they are, I’ve stopped trying to hope that’s not how things would work. So, I’ve been trying recently to be a kinder, gentler human and find easier and softer ways to confront the things in my life I’m not happy with. I was having a conversation with a friend and was lamenting that it shouldn’t be that hard to find me a gift I would like without checking with me first. I think there are some really easy things to know about me and I started listing these off, and that’s when I got the idea to make a list of those things to share with those folks. As I was thinking about writing this list I realized that the list was in itself a list of my passions.
It was a revelation, because I think about this idea often, the idea of how to identify your passion in life. I have over thought the problem it seems, it’s as simple as considering what things get your pulse racing a bit. For example, getting a Pittsburgh Steeler jersey from a friend was a great gift. I love watching the NFL and cheering for the Steelers, it’s a passion of mine. Now that doesn’t translate into the type of passion that leads to finding a perfect job but it does lead to ways to make me happy. This year I tapped into that by going to my first Steeler game in Heinz Field in Pittsburgh for a Steeler game.
Anything related to the Pittsburgh Steelers or Pirates.
Day of the Dead related items.
Full albums, yes albums, not single songs or greatest hits compilations from groups like the Doors, the Beatles, Credence Clearwater Revival, the Police or Howlin Wolf.
Hiking, Kayaking, cycling or Photography gear but even better gift cards to REI or Amazon so I can buy my own. Understanding why you’re buying me a gift card instead of just buying one is what makes it a good gift.
Books related to the same things above as well as books related to happiness, positivity, travel or science fiction.
Poetry by poets who would be considered outlaw poets. So no classics (Yeats, Shakespeare, Dickinson) but more modern poetry. Not love poems unless they are in a Pablo Neruda book or collection. My tastes run toward the harder edge of life, Bukowski, Warsan Shire, Doug Draime, Sapphire but I’m always willing to check out newer poets on the scene like Ashe Vernon. A tip, if I featured them in a Ministry of Happiness Poetry post they are probably someone I like.
I love pizza, if you live near me and know where I get pizza, a gift certificate, or even better yet, a surprise pizza, half pepperoni & mushroom, half cheese with a Coke is the ticket.
Heirloom species vegetable seeds for my gardens are a great gift, a co-worker once brought me tomato seeds from his family’s garden in Sicily, great gift.
The list got me thinking about things that I wish people could buy me either because they are not things you can buy; time working with students, time to lay in a hammock and watch the sky, opportunities for learning (although I guess someone could buy me a cooking or other type of class). Other things would be too expensive to ask for, the funds to go to Thailand or on a photo safari in Africa, a week in Bora Bora in one of those floating hotel.
What this list does for me is identify that the things that I’m passionate about include writing, music, art, poetry, gardening, traveling, learning and photography. I obviously enjoy being outside either being physical, cycling, kayaking, hiking or taking photos.
I also have a passion for working with students, learning and educating, something I know about myself is that I like solving problems and creating things.
So the point of this piece is not really for me to get better gifts, if that is a side benefit then who am I to complain. But hopefully this piece does two things. First, it gets you thinking about, and gives you a way to start, to identify your own passions in life. Secondly, it gets you thinking about the same things in others around you. The impact you have by surprising someone with a gift, no matter how small, that feeds or attaches to their passions is a powerful act of kindness and caring. We should all do more of that, it makes the people we care about happy, but being kind makes us feel better as well, and gives us happy days my friends ~ Rev Kane