By Nathan Andrews
One of the greatest tragedies in modern day life is people losing that drive to enjoy the things they truly love. It is not always easy. Lack of time, money and work responsibilities are just a few of the factors that can keep us from doing the things we truly have a passion for.
The thing is though, if we aren’t living life with passion, our mental health can suffer. It will suffer. In a perfect world we would all being doing exactly what we love to do every minute of every day but for many reasons that just is not the case for most of us Especially if we did not set out on our path keeping our passions in mind. So, what can we do?
We make time for the things we are passionate about. Every day. Or at least try our best to. It is important. I would even argue that it is necessary for mental health. With the confinements of life, we may not always be able to enjoy the exact passion we are longing for, so I think it is important to also find secondary outlets that relate to what you “wish you were doing right now”. For example, if someone is passionate about travel but cannot afford to take an expensive trip very often, maybe tv shows or books about world travel can be an excellent alternative in the meantime. Something that gets the person excited about future trips or adventures during times when the trips are not possible.
Most of the things I really love to do involve being outside in nature. I am fortunate to live in a place that allows me excellent access to trails, water, and trees pretty much whenever I need those things. Nothing brings me a sense of balance and wellbeing like nature does. Things become even better if I can combine my love of being outdoors with other passions of mine. Such as spending time with my children, music, or physical activity. There have not been many obstacles in my life that were not conquered in my mind thanks to a simple walk in the woods.
Sometimes however, there are obstacles that get in the way of my passions. This winter for example I found myself stuck inside way more than I had hoped. There were a variety of reason for this. Enormous amounts of snow fall, slush on the ice like never before and some silly injuries to name a few. That was tough for me. It truly affected my mood and to a certain extent I even began to feel some depression. Being kept from doing the things I loved was tough. I still had access to other passions of mine, of course, but nature is my “medicine”, and I was not taking it as often as needed, so I became less equipped to handle the stresses in my life and in the lives of the people I care about. So, what did I do?
Obviously, I spent time enjoying other passions of mine. Time with my boys. Cooking tasty meals. Listening to music. Exercising at home. All those things helped somewhat but I was still missing that aspect of nature I have grown to absolutely need in my life. Oddly enough my saving grace was found on YouTube. I began watching channels dedicated to outdoor adventuring and in particular canoe trips. Another huge passion of mine! These “influencers” take trips and go on adventures just like I love to, but then they also film it all, edit it and put it up on YouTube for others to enjoy. For someone like me, this was an amazing find. Watching others enjoy activities I was longing to take part in truly helped me get through the winter, plain and simple. Of course, there is nothing as great as actually taking part myself, but this was a close second. Not perfect, but enough to hold me over for the time being.
Take time for your passions. If they are accessible for whatever reason, do not allow that to become an excuse. Find alternatives. Find secondary relatable passions if need be. Keep that flame burning any way you can. It is all good for the spirit.