I have some of the most beautiful, intelligent, funny, creative, clever friends.
Women who almost daily leave me in awe of their kindness, their fierceness, their determination and their drive. Women who kick butt in their jobs every day, who look after their families, who love their friends.
Women, in short, who are simply breathtaking.
These beautiful women are spread all across the globe and while most of them don’t know each other, they all have one thing in common, one strand that inexplicably connects them all (except for knowing me!).
Each of them wants to run away.
In the past few months, numerous girlfriends have pulled me aside and whispered to me their complete and utter unhappiness with their lives, their disappointment, their longing for change. Each one of these breathtaking women has expressed their desire to pack a bag in the middle of the night and escape into the great unknown like it was an illness, a deep, dark secret that must never be actually spoken aloud. Each of them spoke in hushed, ashamed tones about wanting to spend their days baking bread and writing their novel and growing a vege garden. Of painting and travelling and of reading. Each of them wanted to dive into the ocean and let the bright, salty water take all of their worries, all of their cares and this heavy, heavy, burden of being away from them.
And to be completely honest with you…
Why are these breathtaking women falling a part at the seams?
Or rather, lack there of.
In an almost desperate cry, one girlfriend told me about her deepest desire to pursue her passion…but didn’t know what it was. Another told me about how she’d spent years of university classes and fighting her way to the top, only to get there and realise she hated the one thing she thought she was ‘destined’ to do. Another was spending her days in the utter pit of a soul sucking job while trying to get her ‘passion’ off the ground and it was destroying her.
And so, in an effort to escape the unbearable weight of their perceived failure, each one of them wanted to run away. To run somewhere that allowed them to fill their days doing things that they wanted to do and made them happy. Somewhere where nothing was required or expected of them. Somewhere where the idea that following your passion = success didn’t exist.
These women feel like failures. They feel like their compromising themselves. They feel like they’re wasting their lives, all because they weren’t living and breathing their passion.
Where did this idea even come from?
How did we become so bogged down on the idea that we had to be living our passion 100% full time, earning a million dollars from it, swanning off to mid afternoon yoga sessions, all the while Instagramming each perfectly curated moment?
Life can’t be like that for everyone. Some people yes, but not everyone.
But that’s not really the problem is it?
The problem is, there is an expectation as insidious as the thigh gap that in order to be successful AND fulfilled AND contributing to the world, this is the life you have to live.
And so we thrash ourselves trying to find our passion, trying to monetise those things that make us happy…which in the end, really just leaves us all pretty
And look, it’s not the fault of these beautiful women. There’s a lack of openness and honesty around what it takes to pursue the stuff you love. Nobody talks about the stress or the financial strain or the sleepless nights. People don’t tell you that even though you love it, work is still work.
It hurts me to see these beautiful women struggling like this.
So here’s an idea:
Let’s change the way we think.
Lets say Boo! Down with passion!
You tell your friends and I’ll tell mine.
We’ll pass it on like articulate, 100% correct, Chinese whispers.
How about we don’t try to obsessively peruse our passion (wait, just hear me out).
What if we work our jobs, turn up on time, work hard, bring home the money…
while we’re eating lunch at our desks,
when we slip out shoes off at the end of the day,
or finish our brunch on the weekend,
we dive, head deep into all of the things that make our hearts sing. Fill our lives full to the brim with things we LOVE TO DO; sewing or reading, bread-making or craft, making handbags or teaching a yoga class.
How about we put absolutely NO monetary pressure on things that interest us. How about we take the pressure off ourselves to be fulfilled or contributing or impassioned and just fill ourselves up with things we love.
What if JOY was our only metric for success?
Love is eternal.
Give yourself a break.
Pictures: Sasha Fuller