By: Ebony Dalimunthe, Class 12
I’m sure you can all agree with me when I say life as a highschool student is stressful. Actually, scratch that. It’s very stressful. Homework, studies, tests – it all builds up into a towering pile of stress. And on top of that, we have to make the most important decision of our lives: basically, our future.
Should I begin working? Should I take an internship? Should I go to university? Which course should I take?
Most Class 11/12 students have now entered the stage which I like to call the ‘fast lane’. All of our childhood we have drifted through life at a pleasant, slow pace, driving along without a care in the world. But now we find ourselves forced into the fast lane, moving at insane speeds, no time to think. And, if we are perfectly honest with ourselves, our cars are not fully-prepared to be in the fast lane. In my case, my car can barely make it to the speed limit. And yet I somehow find myself in the fast lane. Because this is a part of life – eventually we all have to move to the fast lane.
But what if I don’t want to? What if I want to stay at a steady pace, driving at a speed that I want to drive at? Not to mention, I don’t even know where I’m heading to. Which direction am I going in? What is my destination?
In other words, what is my passion?
Ah, the existential question of the century. What is my passion? What is my purpose in life? What career should I pursue?
Or even worse – what if I don’t have a passion?
Well, this brings me to a recent experience of mine. A video; an inspirational speech, one which, surprisingly, seemed to quench my fears and worries about my future – about my passion, or lack thereof. Ironically, I watched this video at school – seemingly at the source of my worries. But it was no less inspiring, and I highly recommend everyone watch this video.
The speaker was none other than Elizabeth Gilbert – the author of Eat. Pray. Love. You’ve probably heard of her. Well, Elizabeth explained how all her life she used to tell people to follow their passion. Follow your passion. Keep your eye on your passion and work hard at it, and don’t you ever stop.
But then came a voice. A voice from the crowd. A voice that changed Elizabeth’s perspective forever.
I don’t have a passion.
“I felt like a jerk.” cried Elizabeth.
And so she went home. And she began to reassess her perspective. For she was a woman who had known, all her life, that she wanted to be a writer. But some of us, or at least most of us, don’t have the same privilege. We don’t know what we want to be. We don’t know what our passion is – if we even have a passion.
And thus came the birth of Elizabeth’s renowned words, words that helped me stay calm in the face of an uncertain future: follow your curiosity.
Follow your curiosity, and it may just lead you to your passion.
Because who’s to say we must have a passion? Who’s to say we must focus on one thing, and one thing only, for the rest of our lives?
“The world is divided into two kinds of people.” said Elizabeth. “There are the jackhammers and there are the hummingbirds.”
Jackhammers are the kind of people who stick at one thing, working hard everyday to achieve that one goal. Hummingbirds, on the other hand, drift from place to place, trying a bit here, a bit there, exploring a myriad of experiences.
I want to be a hummingbird.
I want to have my taste at an abundance of challenges, opportunities, memories. I want to drift from place to place. I want my journey to be curved and winding, not some dull, straight line. I want to be a risk-taker. I want to take that leap.
After all we’ve been told – follow your passion, choose one pathway and stay on it – maybe we should be changing our outlooks. Maybe it’s okay not to have a passion. Maybe we should be following our curiosity instead.
Maybe, just maybe, it’s okay to be a hummingbird.