i’m addicted to the passion of others.
my mother is a talented storyteller. i grew up on the story of a pretty little girl raised by a loving father and selfish stepmother. she later met a man with nary a streak of romance in him, but won her over with his humble honesty. she spent her life imparting wisdom to whoever would listen – in the classroom, through the airwaves, at home – and lived by the simple philosophy of “forgive, but never forget”. the story has been told and retold countless times; i have yet to tire of it.
i first heard his name at a gathering i had no business being part of. after grazing through the pre-event activities, i caught a glimpse of his tall figure at a booth selling shirts and buttons advocating knowledge and empowerment. it wasn’t the last i saw of him – he has the ability to attract a bevy of followers who gladly join in his (ridiculous number of) ventures and for a short while, i was one of them. he used his “powers” for good when he could have easily manipulated others for evil and that makes up for all the bad haircuts in the world.
“music really isn’t supposed to be perfect. it’s all about people relating to one another and doing something that’s really from the soul,” says tom petty in a scene from dave grohl’s rockumentary tribute to the analog neve console from sound city studios. it was 100 minutes of the kind of love we look for our whole lives – unrelenting, overwhelming, inconceivable love. musicians i’ve never heard of spoke about sound and words and tape. i felt a little dizzy after watching the film and i knew that, for once, the long island iced tea was not responsible.
i’m addicted to passion. some of my favourite books are autobiographies because you need to feel strongly about something in order to write a couple hundred thousand words about why you do the things you do in your life. i attended a conference on bowel surgery a few days ago and the most enjoyable talk was delivered by a british surgeon who helped develop a device to reduce the effects of faecal incontinence. he invested significant energy into the project and i could hear only pride as he described his work, determination as he spoke about the challenges ahead.
what others’ passion gives me is a great hope for what is to come. this world cannot be so bad if there are people who believe in leaving a legacy. my mother’s determination to make lemonade out of every lemon has helped me see that life is only as long or short, enjoyable or torturous, as i make it to be. but it accentuates the absence of passion in my own heart, whether it be passion for medicine or the things i enjoy doing. there just isn’t anything worth sacrificing for. nothing that moves me, motivates me.
so i feed on the enthusiasm of dreamers, casting my net ever further for a passion of my own. i’m just not happy where i am.