For the past 13 years swimming has gifted me innumerable experiences.
Both elating and heart-breaking, the sport has built and destroyed me more times than anything else.
From the torment of loss and stagnation to the ecstasy of taking titles and booking tickets, the sport has captivated me.
Though I wouldn’t change a thing about my journey, my passion has been innately tied to the competitive sport.
Without the time or energy to explore other ventures, I have felt this bubbling, feverish flood of uncertainty wash through me.
See, swimming has been my passion for so long, I was terrified that it was my only one. That the excitement gained behind the blocks, in the marshalling hall or first leap towards the water was my only source of true passion.
What I have learnt while on break is that I don’t need to be bound to a single passion. Swimming is merely one of an indeterminate number of passions I am yet to explore.
Therein lies one of the keys to passion…
Exploration = Action.
Determined to make the most of my dry time, I have tried rock climbing. The activity genuinely engulfed me. The resulting bruising currently illuminating my legs are symbols of a potential new passion. Regardless of the extent or duration, the mere excitement I have experienced while climbing has dispelled the weight in my heart that feared I would never again have a true passion once I left swimming.
Finding passion, for me, is exactly that- finding. It is a process of trying foreign things and deciphering my own enjoyment- or lack of.
I know I love to walk; I hate to run. I like to rock climb; I get bored stand up paddle boarding.
Though my passion for swimming remains active, I realise now that I am not limited by one passion.
I guess the message I am trying to convey is that passion is the result of your action and it needn’t be embodied in just one space. You may be an exceptional athlete and a mediocre artist, what matters is how much satisfaction you get from those activities, irregardless of the accolades.
Your passions will not be the same as others and it’s important to remain open minded to the ideas, people or places that we may not currently be.
I honestly believed that without competitive swimming I would lose my anchor. That I would be severed from passion, doomed to drift directionless and without purpose. This may seem intense, but for so long it has consumed my life.
For 13 years I have found fulfillment that I feared could not be replicated, replaced or reinvented. I was wrong. I just have to be willing to move against the allure of complacency the day I say goodbye to the black line, whenever that may be.
People with passion are exceptionally fortunate. It is a feeling that eludes many people. Regardless of what excites us, I believe it is essential that we pursue it.
Our passions are unique and beautiful. We should never let others, or even ourselves, dissuade us from chasing them.
Whether it fashion, fine art or miniature golf, finding that spark is what keeps us fresh, excited and motivated.
Passion: Find it, fuel it and fund it (the latter is often the hardest)