My parents had a garage sale this weekend. So while taking a break from work the other day, I went back to a project I have mostly abandoned since its start: going through everything I own and trying to declutter my life.
In the middle of sorting through the black hole that is my closet, I found a box. In that box were all the items I have kept over the years that, for one reason or another, were once very special to me. I found playbills from musicals I saw in junior high and high school. I found a lanyard from a summer music camp I went to the summer I turned 13. Possibly my favorite was a tiny box of floppy disks (remember those? Anyone?) with labels like “stories” and “projects.”
Those, I’m guessing, were from fourth or fifth grade. So yeah. This box dated way back.
As we grow and change, so do our interests. I used to be interested in Hello Kitty, American Girl dolls and Beanie Babies. I got older, and my interests changed. The things I paid attention to, the activities I engaged in when I was bored or tired or upset, changed. But judging by the things I found in that box in my closet, compared to the things I pursue now, there are things that haven’t changed. Because there are some things that are not interests; rather, they are passions.
Anything resembling my former interests has either been given away or is buried deep in my parents’ basement somewhere. There’s a reason I found so many treasures hidden away in that box. Those are things I never wanted to lose track of. Because they mattered THAT much to me then … and still do now.
I will still jump at the chance to see a Broadway musical live. I would give anything for the opportunity to sing with fifty other people for the sake of making music together. And, as you hopefully already know, I am still writing stories and working on numerous projects.
These things are more than just interests to me; my passions for theatre and music and writing are so embedded in everything I do that I wouldn’t really be me without those things. Writing especially. Many people go through periods in which writing becomes interesting. They want to try writing a story or they want to meet their favorite author. The difference between writing as an interest and writing as a passion is that at some point, writing often stops being interesting, and becomes an essential part of your existence.
To say I am interested in writing is an understatement. Writing is my life. Writing is something I have spent hours upon hours practicing, without prompting from anyone other than myself. When I move (someday … someday), little trinkets I have collected over the years related to writing will find their way into that box of treasures. T-shirts. Pins. Pens. Proof copies of old novels I was never brave enough to actually publish …
Look around your house. Some of the old things you’ll find, you’ll wonder why you’ve kept them around. Others, you’ll hold in your hand and let yourself travel back to the time in your life when they mattered to you most. That is how you know what you are truly passionate about. That feeling, that connection, never really goes away.
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and an eight-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.