Today I’m participating in my dear friend and Birthday twin Tiffany Moore’s Big Questions extravaganza. She believes in asking the Big Questions - the kind that help you decipher your (actual) dreams — and (actually) do ‘em. Find out who else is answering The Big Questions and how you can win your own Big Question session here.
Hilariously, when I first typed out my Big Question question to start writing, I accidentally wrote “What do you want out of your one, previous life? “ Lucky for you I realized my error, or this post might have gone in a totally different direction.
What do I want out of my one, precious life?
Whew. This sure is a Big question. When I first sat back and thought about my life and all of the wants I have, this task seemed a bit overwhelming. Don't I want the same sorts of things that most folks must want? Good health. Happiness. Strong relationships with friends and family. A nice job that makes me happy. Children and grand children.
Is there something else I want? Something deeper? more at the core of the core of who I am?
Big questions deserve Big Answers. But sometimes those are really scary and really hard to give to ourselves. How often do we stop to articulate clearly this is what I want out of my life?
I started this blog as a way to inspire and motivate myself to work towards those things I want and to thoughtfully commemorate my life as I live it. I've even written down some of my wants in my Aurora project.
The Aurora project helps me remember all the little things I want to do. It’s my “bucket list” of sorts. And I love it, I love having a place to remind myself of all those little things and to encourage myself to achieve them.
But when I thought about what I really, really want out of this one, precious life, it wasn’t all the small things I want to see/do/learn that came to mind, it was more the way I wanted to live my life.
What do I want out of my one, precious life?
I want Passion.
I want it filled with a thriving, exciting, joyful, unrelenting passion. That want reminds me of an email exchange I had with one of my favorite college professors many years ago that still means so much to me.
He gave me a compliment that somehow shook me to the core and gave me a rock to stand on. You know when you have those teachers and professors who help you find your footing and recognize your strengths? He was one of those professors for me. After a bit of searching, I found the exchange in the dredges of my email account, and I want to share a small excerpt with you.
This was written in December of my Senior year of college right after I had presented my senior English thesis. I was 22 then. This is extremely personal, but I guess big answers always are.
A few weeks after my presentation, my professor emailed me on the last Wednesday of that December. And this is part of what he wrote. . . “i also want to emphasize that i was honored to be a part of your seminar project. it was as serious and compelling a piece of work as i have been involved with during my teaching career. i did not come up with good questions after either of your presentations, but i did come up with the quality you possess that i had been trying to identify, that sets you apart. it is passion. . . i think passion may be the key.“
He went on to say that he'd been puzzling over how to classify me compared to his favorite students of the past. I didn’t have the purest scholarly intelligence (that was a guy named Nick); I didn’t have most aggressive, independent intellect (Clay); I didn’t have the greatest creative intelligence (Ginny), but “I blended heart and head, mind and soul, more thoroughly than any other student.”
When I wrote him back two days later I said,
“In terms of passion, that may be what moved/struck the most deeply from your email. Because I guess it is all I really want for myself in life, and I wake up every day hoping that I am passionate about my existence, about my relationships, about all the small stuff.”
And there it was, written so many years ago—what I want out of my one, precious life--
+ I want to love passionately.
+ To be a passionate friend/sister/daughter/mother/wife
+ I want to write passionately.
+ I want to passionately pursue a richer life by learning and experiencing as many new things as I possible can.
+ I am driven by a passion for life and love and everything in between.
+ I am and want to continue to be the person that says YES. We must do that! We must see that! We must try that!!!!! We must go there!!
+ I want to live with a fervor and excitement and joy.
+ I want to fight for a full, precious well-lived life. I want to fight against complacency and mundaneness. I want to fight against stagnancy and lost opportunities, missed moments, and forgotten birthdays.
Living passionately for me is about more than just embracing a life of vitality and enthusiasm. It also means I have to be diligently working to avoid letting myself fall into a place of a muted, black and white existence. I want color!
For me this means fighting for the life I want and living it in a purposeful, all-out kind of a way.
My battle cry for passion and what I want out of my life would the words of the great poet Dylan Thomas:
“Do not go
gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
That’s what I want out of my one, precious life.
Thanks so much to Tiffany for letting me a part of this incredible opportunity. Don’t forget to head over to her beautiful new site to check out some of the awesome other ladies answering Big Questions today.