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The Passion Problem

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It wasn’t a fight. (For better or worse, Husband and I don’t fight.) It was more of a conversation. A real one, layered, textured, difficult. One I initiated.


“What’s wrong?” I asked Husband, looking up from my laptop screen.


“Nothing,” he said.


“What’s wrong?” I asked.


“It’s just that you work so much these days. Whenever you are with me and the girls, I feel like you want to be working.”


Dagger. Dagger. Dagger.


“That’s not true,” I said. Because it wasn’t true. Being with my family is my absolute favorite thing in the world. Hands down. But. There is a problem these days.


The passion problem.


Many of you know I left the law firm several years ago not because I was miserable, but because I knew I would never be passionate about practicing law at a corporate law firm. I walked away from a plum job and a high wattage career to give myself a shot at finding professional passion. I took a risk. A calculated one.


And I started writing. I liked it. At times, I loved it.


I had Toddler. Wham. Suddenly, I had a quick surge of passion. A new kind of passion. Not entirely unlike the passion I had felt and feel for Husband.


Fast forward a bit. We welcomed Baby. More love. More passion.


And now. Now, between the babies, the books, and this blog, I am feeling true passion of a different sort. Creative passion. Professional passion. I love writing. I dream of writing. I write in my dreams. I play with words while falling asleep and in the quiet moments after waking. At every moment of the day, I am brainstorming, telling myself stories, willing myself to remember new words I see scattered about me. My life has become my material. And my material has become my life.


I told Husband all of this. I told him how excited I am to be doing, actually doing, something I love and not just talking about it. I told him how if I am going to do it, I want to do it well. And if I am going to do it well, I am going to throw myself into it.


And I have.


And in that moment, when I sat across from the man I love and studied his sad and somber face, I felt a tremendous stab of guilt. I apologized. I took it a bit too far. I got defensive. I told him that maybe I would just stop. Stop blogging altogether. That my happiness wasn’t more important than his, or the girls’. Because it isn’t. It isn’t.


And then he said something to me. “If you need to be doing this, then you should do it.”


And this provoked me. “Of course I don’t need to be doing this. I want to be doing this.”


But then I thought about it. And I realized that it wasn’t this simple. I want and need to be doing this. That is what passion is, isn’t it? The commingling of intense need and desire? I have finally found something that fires me up, so I should do it, right? Right?


I don’t know. This is a problem. The best possible problem to have, but still a problem.


Do you have conflicting personal and professional passions? How do you differentiate want and need?

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