A Long Life of Passion by Catharine Bramkamp
Let’s welcome back monthly columnist Catharine Bramkamp as she shares with us “A Long Life of Passion.” Enjoy!
I work with a 90 year old client who is very busy expressing, publishing and communicating with scientists and engineers about alternative climate change theories.
He works on his passion every day.
I am convinced that his passion not only inspires him to get out of bed every morning, but actually contributes to his health.
At 90 he still drives, he lives in his home with his wife, he walks unassisted.
How’s that for a successful fourth stage of life?
Bertrand Russell commented that the heart of a fulfilling life is the dissolution of the personal ego into something larger.
“The things he/she cares for will continue… I should wish to die while still at work, knowing that others will carry on what I can no longer do and content in the thought that what was possible, has been done.”
In other words, follow your passion, wherever it leads.
Nope, this isn’t the job thing, this isn’t a work thing, it’s a silly, unproductive, creative, engrossing way to spend the day.
We all understand that a best life is not one devoted to the constant pursuit of income generating projects.
A life well lived includes passion: for antique cars, creating the perfect cake, family research, it doesn’t need to make sense, it does need to belong to you, fully and completely.
When I have a little money, I buy books: and if I have any left, I buy food and clothes
Writing is a Passion
If you are a writer, you have a passion.
Writers are unrepentantly passionate about writing – anything.
Writers wake every morning to journal.
Writers spend more money than they have in order to shove six more hard back books into already full suitcases (my husband packs an extra backpack, anticipating the books).
Writers create small libraries in the bathroom.
Writers haunt Friends of the Library sales even though we know we shouldn’t.
Writers don’t get paid much, but we don’t let that get in the way of the novel, the play, the poem.
Words will always matter and what we have to say matters.
And the hours writing is time well spent.
Passion Keeps Us Going
To spend our days on a project that is larger than ourselves is key to an interesting (and long?) life.
Perhaps the subject will route us on many detours, the highways aren’t always complete, the roads are bumpy.
But it’s fun!
It’s the difference between driving highway 1 and driving highway 5. (In California, highway 1 hugs the coast – treacherous and beautiful, highway 5 unrolls down the center of the state, fast, flat and after four hours, a tiny bit boring but you have another five hours to go.).
A big impossible idea can lead to more nuanced questions and encourages larger dinner conversations that can lift you and your friends above the usual litany of health and family complaints.
What if you are temporarily unable to exercise or participate in your passion project?
For example, what if your passion is snowboarding but you just broke your ankle in seventy five places?
- You can donate to it.
- You can follow news about it.
- Listen or watch a class connected to it.
- Write a poem, create a song.
- Learn something new about it.
- Take or teach a class on it.
Whatever you are able to do, you can manifest it through a creative work, because the passion for it will sustain you and encourage you to make a difference, continue to voice your opinion and be a lively contributor to the conversation.
The habit of continually asking your own burning questions and following every new answer, is a life well lived.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Catharine Bramkamp is a successful writing coach, Chief Storytelling Officer, former co-producer of Newbie Writers Podcast, and author of a dozen books including the Real Estate Diva Mysteries series, and The Future Girls series. She holds two degrees in English and is an adjunct university professor. After fracturing her wrist, she has figured out there is very little she is able to do with one hand tied behind her back. She delights in inspiring her readers.