Life can be a bit of a hamster wheel on occasion. Each pace steadily exhausting us yet we seem to have nothing to show for it. Dizzied with monotony, when we do manage to step off we might just fall over initially, our feet so tired of stepping aimlessly one in front of the other that the only option seems to be to go on strike altogether. But at least then we can choose to either pick ourselves back up and walk away or crawl back into the dizzying discomfort. We never have to stay on the hamster wheel.
My hamster wheel felt like it was on fire sometimes and I was running but going nowhere, matches firmly within my grip unable to really say why I kept it alight. But I got out of that one and I discovered the world that exists outside of it and the potential and opportunity open to me, tumbling out in all directions.
I discovered that I am bursting with passion for life, the wonderful, messy, uncertain and exciting place that exists beyond that little wheel of spiralling negativity. I realised that I love to create, that I want to write, speak, move, share, learn and continue to grow. I want to embrace my dreams and follow my passions and really take off.
Maybe it’s just me - as someone who inundates herself with inspirational quotes on the daily - but I feel compelled to get acting on all that stuff that nourishes the real me, as soon as I possibly can.
But then I found myself in another little wheel rolling from 9 to 5. A Monday to Friday staring contest with a screen, shoulders hunched with the stress of knowing I want so much more. I felt stifled by the sedentary passing of my time. A boxy alternative to the flowery swirls of my dreams.
Funnily enough, that was exactly what I wanted and asked for about a year or two ago – structure, security, routine. But with a renewed zest for life, it’s simmered from ideal to too mind numbingly real. It feels like an obstacle. All the energy I have for what I want is churning under my skin as frustration because it’s not being released. It’s wheeling its way round and round suppressed beneath spreadsheets and clockwatching.
It’s all well and good getting passionate, and discovering that side of ourselves is so exciting, but until we are ready to actively pursue our passions, it’s helpful to learn a bit of patience.
Here’s what I’ve found helpful in pacing the pursuit of my passions:
I’ve got to turn all my begrudging, frustrated attitude into gratitude. I’m extremely lucky to have a job and it could definitely be much much worse. It’s helpful to shift our perspective from the idea of ‘obstacles’ to stepping stones. This isn’t my only option, I can look around, leave, move or choose to look at it differently – regardless, it’s not a permanent situation and it does have many positive points. I just have to focus on them.
I can make a point to channel my passions into every single minute outside 5pm plus the weekends too. When passion is strong and consuming, we’ve got to let it out somehow. Be it movement, writing, sharing, music, hobbies – any way that connects us to what we love is crucial in breaking down that frustration. It’s akin to the slow release of air from a balloon as opposed to letting it just burst.
- Use it:
In any situation, we can aim to discover what purpose it serves for us, if we decide to take a good look. Maybe we’re developing skills, learning how to deal with challenging people or even just getting adjusted to structure. There’s always something to be learned and we can choose to use those learnings to our advantage. Personal growth doesn’t always take the form we expect it to and we could be quietly building our confidence without realising it. Some unexpected situations can be the exact ones that build our character. Even if it’s not what we really want, we can find the value in each mundane task - the worth that comes with seeing it through and the experience you can gain. Everything serves a purpose.
When enjoyment turns into pure reluctant endurance, it’s time to change something. Even if it’s ticking things off a to-do list, connecting to a sense of achievement can make our efforts more enjoyable. Find the little things that aren’t so bad, the bits where we get to interact or laugh or learn something new. There’s always light to be found, we just have to seek it out, regardless how very dim it may seem!
It’s important not to let go of our dreams but to realise that now and then, we need to simply trust the timing of our journeys. Certain things need to fall into place first or we might need to cement our own personal development before taking that leap of faith.
There’s a reason why we are where we are and even if we don’t figure out that ‘why,’ we can still find a way to make the most of it.
Negative energy will fuel that hamster wheel for as long as we let it, spinning us round and round into a whirl of disappointment. But energy can be converted into any other form, so if I want to achieve my passions, wasting my energies on disappointment isn’t going to help break me free.
One of these days, I know for sure that the passion burning in the soles of my feet is going to propel the change in my life that I’m screaming out for, but until then, it’s going to walk me upstairs to my desk with a spring in my step ready to make the very most of my day.