“Can he do it on a cold Monday night in Stoke?”
This question is one often asked in England to measure a sportsman’s passion for football (or soccer). The thinking behind it is that if a footballer puts in a positive, heart-filled performance against the hard tackling Stoke City team, they must be passionate about the sport and the jersey they represent.
But what if you aren’t that passionate about football? Or your team?
What if you aren’t that passionate about... anything?
I always see the same repeated statement when it comes to minimalism; reduce the clutter in your life and you will have more time, money and love to dedicate to your passions. The situation for me though, as a recently converted ‘minimalist’ is that I don’t have a passion to invest my new-found freedom in. Obviously, I'm passionate about family and friends. That goes without saying. But other than that, there's not an awful lot that I put real time and energy into.
I certainly have a strong interest in music, but I wouldn’t call it a passion as I’m very uncommitted and often flit between different genres. I’m a football fan, but again I wouldn’t say it’s a big passion as I can give or take going to watch games. I like wine tasting and trying different types of cheese but I’m a long way from a connoisseur. What I guess I’m trying to say is that I do have interests, but none that I have the desire to cultivate into a fully-fledged passion.
I don’t see this as a negative thing though. When I was at school, I was asked what I wanted to be when I grow up. I didn’t know then, and I still don’t know at the age of 30. That indecisiveness bugged me for years. This, coupled with the fact I tend to be quite faddy with things, gave me a concern that I would never be truly happy, in either employment or my interests.
The lesson I have taken out of minimalism is the understanding that it’s okay to be indecisive. My life is my own. Removing distractions and pacifiers such as games consoles or social media have opened my eyes to the misaligned self-assessment I was making of my life. I thought I had to have a defined passion and that I was wasting my spare time. I thought I needed to hustle and progress in my job within X amount of years. Otherwise, I would be stuck and aimless.
In reality, none of these things matters to me. The important people in my life won't judge me, and those who do judge aren't important. I can pick up and drop interests as I choose. I can follow my curiosity. I don’t have to wholeheartedly commit to any of my hobbies, and as far as my working career goes, as long as my job isn’t detrimental to my personal life, then it doesn’t matter.
I STILL don’t know what I want to become. I’ve stopped feeling guilty about this. I don’t go out running in all weathers or force myself to play the guitar. I am ok with that.
Coasting along in a job isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you don’t know what you want to do differently. Neither is a lack of clearly defined passions. If you are happy and content with life as it is, don’t try and change it to keep up with other people’s experiences or expectations. Live yourself.