I have spent a lot of my weekend watching’Chefs Table’ on Netflix; if you haven’t seen it, then please, stop reading this blog now and go watch it.
It is a documentary and each episode focuses on a different chef that is challenging the way that food is chosen and cooked as well as taking ‘old ways’ and traditions and moving them forward in a new and exciting way.
Every chef has one thing in common; passion. A love affair with food and cooking that makes you question every meal you have ever had and every morsel of food you touch going forward. They don’t do it for the money or for the fame; in some cases it even feels like they aren’t doing it for the people. There is a sense that they HAVE to do it. That there is something inside them that would just die if they weren’t picking ingredients, thinking of new ways to prepare and serve food and cooking it. That even if their restaurant was empty, they would STILL be doing it. For the love. Passion.
Think about when you are having a conversation with someone. Just a standard exchange of words and then suddenly you touch on a subject that ignites a flame inside the person. Their eyes change, they almost come alive right in front of you and before you know it they are apologising for rambling on and you are saying ‘no, no please carry on’ and you are both grinning and feeling electric even though before that day, you had never thought about that one thing in that way before. Suddenly, their passion about that subject has jumped out of them, wiggled across the space between and is dancing across your skin so now YOU feel that you need that thing in your life as well.
For me, this is a fleeting feeling. I have never felt that passionate about anything that I have turned my hand at. I was always jealous of the people that knew they HAD to be dancers or singers or chefs and nothing else would do it for them. I remember one girl at my college said to me ‘if there is no dancing in my life, then what is my life? I don’t want to be in a world where I cannot dance’. For some, this feeling is about travel. For others, it is family or film making or music; the subject itself is irrelevant. One thing that they all have in common is passion.
I live with Mark, who is so passionate about music and being a DJ that the thought of not being able to do it is physically painful for him. He is constantly trying to get me to find my thing and I am constantly sighing and telling him that at 31 years old, if I haven’t already found it then I probably don’t have one. But if this is the case, why does that thought make me feel sad?
Don’t get me wrong, I have tried to find it. I did drama at college and was good; I can sing and act ok but was I willing to give up everything to make it happen? No.
I liked art at school. The practical more than the theory and even sold a piece to a family friend. But do I crave to painting when I’m sat at my desk and my mind wanders? No.
Food, I LOVE food. I love eating it and reading about it and cooking it but what’s missing is that spark that takes it from something I enjoy doing to the next level of wanting it to be an all consuming entity that I cannot stop thinking about.
Writing. As you can see it is something I do, but when I look at other bloggers and writers, they are always on the look out for the next thing to write about. They are all writing or thinking about writing or networking about their writing. I stumble across something and write about it, but then could easily go months where I don’t even think about it.
I always say ‘when you don’t know what you want to be, you are free to be anything and still be happy’ but inside there is always this little empty space that just tugs at me whenever I see people doing what they love. It isn’t wanting to do what they do, otherwise I would just go do it. The tug is more a little voice that says ‘when will we find what we should be doing?’
Being able to turn your hand and be ‘ok’ at most things you do is a cool skill in itself; it has made it possible for me to get and keep jobs and I am a very fast learner. What I seem to lack is the ability or the attention span to keep at it and push the boundary so much for it that I become passionate. There is nothing in life that has been able to keep me interested long enough. I fell that I am looking for that ‘love at first sight’; not about a person but about a vocation. What is my vocation in life? What if I never find it? Have I half lived? Was I just existing and going through the motions when I could have been LIVING if I had just looked a little harder?
The age limit that people put on you as well is astounding. Not knowing what you want to be at 31 years old seems sad almost. In high school you are expected to pick subjects based on what you want to be when you are older. At 15 years old, when I was picking my GCSE’s I went for things that I was told I was good at because I thought ‘well, if I’m good at it, the more I learn the more likely I am to find what I am supposed to be.’
After school, you have to choose between finding a job or furthering your education, but in a more specific way. University or college courses are very niche and you need to pick one. I did drama as my sister had done it and had had passion for it so I thought it would be fun. I met some great people and had a blast but when the course ended, so did my interest and I went and got a job.
Ever since I have floated on the breeze of life and have touched down at various points, doing various jobs before something changed in me and I had to go again. Again, nothing has held my interest and the older I get, the sadder this is making me. You tell yourself when you’re young, that you have time. But I’m sure I blinked and overnight 18 turned to 28 and I STILL hadn’t found my passion.
I don’t know if I will ever find it, or maybe I have already found it but I just don’t recognise it because it doesn’t look like an actual thing. It isn’t a passionate love affair with a profession, but a quiet smoldering passion that just ebbs away in the background of my life. Just as real and just as strong but subtle. Maybe the meaning of it has not become apparent yet but one day will burst through and ignite my life so brilliantly, like a volcano erupting and forever changing the landscape in which it sits.
Maybe life really does begin at 40, so all I have to do is wait 9 more years and the second half of my life is where the magic happens.
Who knows, but something tells me it is coming and when it does, I will be writing about it for you 🙂