Passion is a concept that I’ve discussed often with one of my sisters since we’ve retired. In our working years, we both knew what our passion was. Teaching. We loved being in the classroom (and, in my case, also clinicals) with our students.
After retirement, though, we had to find a new passion. What could fill our days that would give us the same fulfillment we’d had in our working lives?
For me, that has turned out to be writing. I’ve written and published a memoir of my nursing/teaching career (Caring Lesson: A Nursing Professor’s Journey of Faith and Self). But in the context of Daniel Taylor’s question of what am I willing to suffer for, I was stymied and said in my last post that I would answer later.
I had thought, of course, of things I take for granted. I’d be willing to suffer for needs of my husband, kids, and grandkids. But beyond that, I drew a blank, until fellow blogger, Pat commented on that last post saying, “FM [fibromyalgia] impacts everything we do, but not all that we are so we forget about it in order to do what we want to do.”
Pat’s remark was right on target. Most of the time my head actively denies the limitations that having fibromyalgia play in my life. So pushing my denial aside, I reexamined the question. Given that I have fibromyalgia, and given that I have physical limitations because of it, what am I willing to suffer for?
So I think of my worst days, the days when I’m very fatigued, or in my latest manifestation, itching frantically in various parts of my body, what am I willing to suffer for?
Answering this was easy. I always love my couch, and I always love reading. So no matter how not well I feel on a given day, I can always manage to go from my bed to my couch and read, either on my Kindle or magazines or books.
Secondarily, I realized that I’m also willing to suffer for my writing. I keep a small notebook next to my reading material in which I write things that catch my attention. I never know what I might be able to use later, when I’m feeling better, in a story or an essay or a blog post.
To make all this reading easily accessible, my husband, ever the handy man, has made me an end table that revolves. I only need turn it to get to the next stack of reading. I’d told him that’s what I wanted when he spotted something in Staples garbage. Staples shares the same loading dock as my high rise. He came home with a thing that has a base that revolved and was on wheels. He cut down the poles on top of the base and added the decorative top. Ingenious!
So now I’m set. On my not-so-good days, I can still read and get ideas for further writing. You might call these two activities my addictions. My head needs to get information. And my head needs to empty itself by writing. And my couch is a good place to get started on these things.
So, aside from the needs of my family, reading and writing are what I’m willing to suffer for. They are my passions. Daniel Taylor says it’s “no accident that the source of the word is suffering and pain.”
Have you decided yet what you’re willing to suffer for?