Maybe “passion” is too strong a word. But we all need to have something in our life that deeply interests us. Those of us who have diabetes probably need it more than most people because of the burden of our chronic disease. We need something to live for.
Someone very close to me says that she envies my passion. Her husband died about two months ago, and she understandably feels numb.
“Hopefully in the future I will get passionate about something again,” she says. “I guess after what I have gone through that is natural.”
“Married women with children generally put others first. In my case, with all of my husband’s problems, I lost my own wants. There just wasn’t time or energy for anything else.”
Sound familiar? If you are a woman, it probably does. And anyone who has diabetes will recognize the burnout that she feels.
I want to help her to find her passion. And I want to help you too. The key, I think, is to expand and develop your interests in whatever it is that you care at least a little about. For example, if reading somewhat interests you, then you could join a book club.
You can even make lemonade out of the lemons in your life. My real passion is helping other people to control their diabetes, which is one big lemon for all of us. I was diagnosed with diabetes in 1994. At that time I was an editor of a small business magazine.
When I discovered that I had diabetes, I became much more interested in diabetes that I ever was in business. As soon as I could, I got on the Internet and searched for information. I found that I really learned a lot about it from the Internet, far more than I learned from my health care providers, and I became interested in setting up my own website. In 1995, I established my website and have written about diabetes there and elsewhere ever since then.
Another example: If you appreciate nature, you can become a photographer. That’s what I did in spades. My love of nature has also led me to travel to beautiful places.
I recently traveled to Portland, Oregon, to visit Powell’s, my favorite bookstore in all the world. After spending several hours there, I went to sit down in a nearby coffee shop. The shop has only two tables so I wasn’t surprised when someone asked to sit at my table. Of course, I agreed.
Turned out he works at Powell’s. We got to talking about a big book about birds, Audubon’s Birds of America, that I had just bought there. I talked about birds and photography, including how much they mean to me.
He mentioned the word “obsession,” which triggered in my mind the word “passion.” I asked him whether he had a passion and how people could find one of their own.
His passion is cycling. Some of his thoughts were that people need to give themselves permission to find their passion. That they are so wrapped up in what they have to do that they don’t take time to do what the want to do. A passion, he says, can give people a perspective on why they do what they have to do.
It all comes down to having balance in our lives. In this case, a good life balances our needs — like taking care of a spouse or earning a living or controlling our diabetes — and our desires — with having fun doing what we love.
This article is based on an earlier version of my article published by HealthCentral.