Explore Your Passions

I know that title is SO cheesy, but it's been something I've been thinking about lately. I've realized that pursuing your random, weird passions will bring added happiness to your life. This idea first struck me while reading Gretchen Rubin's blog where she talks about intense interests (you can read the post here).

 At various times I have felt passionately interested in a weird variety of subjects including colonial children captured by Native Americans, government housing projects in Chicago, women's health (including breastfeeding and fertility, long before I wanted to get pregnant), the Balkans, race relations in the U.S., prisons, and linguistics.

They were all sparked in small ways. For instance, when I visited Brock in Boise for the very first time, we toured the fascinating Old Idaho State Penitentiary. I tried to imagine what it was like to have been in that prison, and that trip sparked a huge interest in jails of all types. I have since read accounts of jails in various countries and different time periods and spend way too much time thinking about prisons.

A few years later, in Chicago, I was talking with a woman who mentioned that her boyfriend had grown up in the projects and talked about about how his childhood affected their relationship. I thought, "Huh, what would it be like to grow up in the projects?" And that thought led me to so many different books that taught me about this experience.

My newest passion (though most of the above still captivates me) is photography. Specifically, photographs of people. Bonus points if the pictures are from more than 50 years ago, but I'm not too particular.

There wasn't any small spark that I can remember, but since I just checked two giant photography books out of the library I am going to declare it official. I have no desire to become a photographer, but I know that I become single-mindedly absorbed whenever I'm looking at old photographs and that feeling gives me such great joy.

My point in all this is that my weird interests have taught me so much and really made me happier. I want to encourage you to explore your passions and interests, in whatever shape they come along.

I tend to dive into mine primarily through reading extensively on the subject, but for you it might different. Maybe it comes in the form of taking a class or a trip or mastering a skill by watching YouTube videos. But whatever it is, I believe that finding these passions enriches lives and brings happiness in a new way.

Do you have any intense interests or passions? How do you explore them?


  1. I love this! It's so important and really can teach you so much about yourself!


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