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Monday freedom question

Usually I do these later in the week, but a couple of conversations yesterday put this subject on my mind. So …

What do you feel truly, deeply passionate about?

And I mean passionate enough that you’ll leap in and go for it even when you see struggle ahead. Passionate enough that, when you’re pursuing it, the rest of the world goes away. Passionate enough that you live it and breathe it.

Although this is a freedom question, it’s not necessarily about issues. But about anything you love that much. A cause, yes. But it could also be about a vocation, a talent, a philosophy, a person or people, a moral or intellectual commitment, a quest, an institution, an avocation … whatever.


  1. Pat
    Pat April 28, 2014 8:48 am

    WOW ― what a question! β€œI refuse to answer on the grounds that it may incriminate me.” πŸ™‚

    Seriously ― *Thinking.* Human beings acting human as only they can, and β€œbelieving” what they believe because their reason and common sense tells them so, not because somebody else said so. They ― and I ― may not be right, but at least we give it our complete attention and never give up trying to find answers, or asking β€œWhy?” On a personal level, too often my questions or statements come across as challenging and/or belligerant, when really all I’m asking for is a more definitive answer.

    My position is, if we have no instinct, then we’d better have knowledge before we make decisions or take action because ― as history shows ― we make more mistakes by not thinking or following through to a proper conclusion.

  2. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty April 28, 2014 9:08 am

    I think my passion is fairly well known, among those who know me at all, of course. My passion is self ownership/self responsibility, trying to help those who read what I write to understand that nobody, and no group of anybodies, has any legitimate authority over their lives. They can delegate that authority if they truly wish to do so, but no one can assume it or force it on them.

    And yes, Pat… people have to be critical thinkers to understand that, and even more, to live that way. πŸ™‚

  3. DHawk
    DHawk April 28, 2014 9:14 am

    I would go with learning new things I want to know how things work and how to do them myself even if i choose not to do them I am very passionate about knowing many things more so than being really good at just one thing.

  4. Kevin Wilmeth
    Kevin Wilmeth April 28, 2014 9:56 am

    For me the obvious answer is “human beings in meatspace”. If I look at my life as an outside observer, that is simply what I have always done. Even at my very worst, I have always valued dealing directly with real people, in person. I move myself and whatever else is necessary, to promote and maintain those relationships. (This is ironic, I suppose, because I am mostly an introvert.)

    When I get a bad performance review, for example, they all pretty much say the same thing: “he’s a delight to work with in person, but…” (And what follows the “big but” is nearly always a perfectly valid gripe.)

    I’ve been told I’m a complete conundrum to some people because it’s hard to stay grudgy and mad at me when I continue to be hospitable, generous and gracious in all personal contacts.

    And people seem to seek me out specifically when face time matters–job, personal life, volunteering, whatever. It’s been that way for as long as I can remember.

    I do have to work at it–sometimes at personal cost–but it’s clearly worth the effort to me, because I keep doing it. And, more subjectively, it’s obviously worth it because that’s the kind of person I insist on being. (Those are not quite the same thing.)

    I do find it interesting that the “in meatspace” qualifier seems to be important. As a rule it seems much easier for people to be dismissive, grudge-mental and otherwise inhuman in the virtual realm. It’s harder to do that with the in-person responsibility of interfacing with physical flesh and blood. For me, at least. (The specific term “human beings” is also a qualifier, after all. I’ll do almost anything for a human being. Not so much for whoever proves they are otherwise.)

    One other mental observation: as I write this, I’m on the road with my wife and the girls, currently a guest at the in-laws’ haus in St. Paul. Prior to that, we were a week in Montana with my parents, and in a few days we’ll be a couple weeks with friends in Colorado. So I’m very much currently attuned to what it means to be a host and a guest. (Truly, both ends: with my sister-in-law’s wedding last Saturday, we have needed to function as hosts as well as guests.) It has somehow struck me that a great number of people seem not to know how to be a guest or a host, any more–and that the correlation of that deficiency with general incivility seems to be very high.

    Who knows, it’s just an observation. Maybe it’s just the general decline of empathy, manifesting itself in people not understanding how to guest or host. Or, maybe lots of people could benefit from having to be responsible for those roles for a time. (I know it always helps me, to refresh the skills as often as possible.) At any rate, it’s on my mind, and I wonder if there’s something to it.

    One way or the other, this is a great question. I’ll be chewing on it for at least a few days… πŸ™‚

  5. Joel
    Joel April 28, 2014 10:18 am

    But it could also be about a vocation, a talent, a philosophy, a person or people, a moral or intellectual commitment, a quest, an institution, an avocation … whatever.

    It’s such an open question, I had to think about it and come back. Wanted to go with ML’s “self ownership/self responsibility,” but that’s too “well, of course that” and it’s not specific enough.

    In my specific case – and you know my circumstances – it’s life as an avocation. My whole life until seven or eight years ago, I had a nagging sense that I’d never really quite grown up. I didn’t know anything about how to live without “the big boys” supplying my needs. I’d have starved without the grocery store and frozen without the gas company. I was so dependent on so much that I didn’t understand at all.

    Having moved to the boonies, much of that has changed. And to my delight, since nearly every part of my life has become a learning experience nearly every part has become a sort of hobby.

    It’s funny you should ask this, because you have actually helped answer a question I’ve been puzzling over for the past few weeks. Much of the time I don’t really seem to do much, and a while back a friend asked, “Do you ever get bored?” And I answered without thinking, “No.” And that answer seemed kind of odd, even to me. So I thought about it for a few moments, then had to repeat: “No. Not at all.” But I couldn’t say at the time just why that was. I never thought about it anymore. There was a time when I’d have found the ennui unbearable, but now it just isn’t present. And I hadn’t noticed that, and couldn’t explain its absence.

    But the reason is, my whole life is a hobby now, and I enjoy it very much. There’s always something new to learn, some element of the environment trying to knock my efforts down that needs to be outwitted or defeated, some new thing I’ve never done before that covers me in victory or defeat or sometimes blood. Even when it’s dirty or hard or repetitive or painful or gruesome, self-reliant life is a lot of fun.

  6. Curt S
    Curt S April 28, 2014 12:14 pm

    Joseph Campbell once wrote “Follow your bliss”. It seems to me that so many prople are afraid to do that. They fear what others may think of them. They fear being different. That to me is sheer idiocy. I could not care less what others think or say about me. Remember that song “Take this job and shove it”? Well…that is how I live my life. And I have NO thoughts on changing it. I have literally walked off jobs rather than out up with bullshit. On the other hand I will bend over backwards for those who treat others and me with respect. As an example re what others think….I know a person, he is a cashier for a major food chain. He buys a new car every other year even when it means the loan is an upside down one. I asked him once why he just didn’t buy a used car and get out of debt. Egad, know what he told me? He said that would harm his image. Inage?!!:??!!! I told him hey….you’re a damm cashier….not the chairman of the board! Get real!! I guess some folks will never get it…………… And people wonder what is wrong with this world… your damm eyes! I learned a king time ago money and a house on the hill is not happiness, much less contentment.

  7. naturegirl
    naturegirl April 28, 2014 2:53 pm

    This answer changes with every stage of life change and/or every new circumstance I find myself in. Some of my biggest passions can be shoved aside for more pressing – fix it now – situations, too.

    Freedom gets tossed around often, and there’s millions of definitions of what it is as well. Most people don’t even understand what their definition really is until they lose their freedom in some form. But it’s my #1 priority, every day all the time. Calling it a passion is the nice word, it really resembles more of an obsession LOL. There are 2 key components to this: 1. Self sufficiency and 2. What I am willing to give up in order to keep my version of freedom. And usually one if not both of those is happening constantly. Picking this apart to explain what I mean by it would take a novel, LOL.

    I do have to also mention creativity. Back in the days when I had life running as smoothly as I could, creativity was a huge part of each day. Painting, or working with wood or flowers, or sewing (not my favorite) – there was always something coming to life. For a while it was a business, but all of the time it was a passion. A challenge to see if I could do it. That brings me to my other passion: challenges. I love a good challenge because I know I will learn in the process of conquering whatever it is. Conquering is such a great high, too. There’s never a shortage of challenges that life tosses at us.

    I think the older I’ve gotten the more I’ve emphasized adventures and experiences. It’s not so much about all the stuff one acquires, it’s about what one learns about and sees for themselves – it’s the experiences that really count.

  8. Dick Summers
    Dick Summers April 28, 2014 3:04 pm

    I wish to be left alone.

  9. LarryA
    LarryA April 28, 2014 4:03 pm

    1. My family, since 5/31/1969.
    2. The Right to Keep and Bear Arms, since 10/22/1968.
    3. Singing (choral music, musical plays), since 10/?/1959.

  10. MacGregor K. Phillips
    MacGregor K. Phillips April 28, 2014 4:33 pm

    Getting an 8 X 10 signed picture of Claire!

  11. Matt, another
    Matt, another April 28, 2014 7:43 pm

    My passion? Family. My family, not,yours,or someone else’s half a world away. Mine. I’ll fight to protect them, to keep them together and to help them succeed. Family has become more than my flesh and blood, it has grown to include some Ronin, family,of,I’m laws and the odd homeless guy. Thank God,they don’t all live with me. I guess that family is more like a tribe or old Highland Clan, but they are mine and I’m there’s.
    My other passion, equal to family is Christianity. Not religion, a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, on my terms, not some,potentates or charlatans terms, just an honest and true one-on-one relationship.

  12. Unclezip
    Unclezip April 28, 2014 7:47 pm

    I’m passionate about quality of life, not quantity. Oh, and the wife. And kids. And grand kids. Yeah, the dog, also.

  13. Kent McManigal
    Kent McManigal April 28, 2014 7:58 pm

    If I could figure out the answer to that question- which has haunted me since I was a mid-teen- I would probably be able to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. My problem is I am very interested in a lot of things, but nothing overwhelmingly rises to the top.

  14. Dana
    Dana April 28, 2014 9:51 pm

    Claire: Why not oblige Mr. Phillips? It would be a nice excuse to model the latest in Afghani fashion. πŸ˜‰


    “And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith.”

  15. WolfSong
    WolfSong April 29, 2014 6:13 am

    Right there. That’s my passion.
    She was the final driving force behind our move to a farm, because I knew, looking at her, that she was going to be mine.
    She came out of the meat pen at a local cattle auction. She’d been used and abused all her life, nothing more than a broodie, who, once her latest owner got the foal he wanted, dumped her at auction. She’s been beaten, she’s been starved, she’s been tied down to have her feet trimmed.
    Girl has issues.
    And I knew it was going to be the hardest thing in the world to work with her, to gain her trust, to prove to her that not all humans are pieces of shit.

    Inside that head is a smart mind, and a great big heart in that body…she’s surprisingly willing to please for all that she’s endured. Oh, but she has her days! Days where she and I butt heads from the very second I step in the pasture…days where she just *can’t* handle contact, but is so jealous of the other horses getting attention, that she tries to drive them off…days where the simplest reminder of ground manners sends her running.

    On the flip side there are the days where she shows her absolute trust in me and we can do anything. Days where I can lift all 4 feet, and pick them out…or I can brush her without her running…days where I can rub her under belly, and pull burrs off…or I can approach with a halter-still can’t get it on her, but I can brush and handle her while I have it slung over my shoulder.

    Even better is when she meets me at the gate, or calls when I open the back door. She knows my voice, and comes trotting from anywhere in the pasture when I call. I am over the moon, when she relaxes and comes when I invite her into my space, and accepts breath greetings, hugs, even kisses on her pretty face.

    It’s going to be a long time before she’s ready for anything other than ground work, but I have all the time, and patience, in the world. Even if she is never broke to ride, this will always be her home. There is no other for her.

  16. Joel
    Joel April 29, 2014 8:45 am

    Claire: Why not oblige Mr. Phillips? It would be a nice excuse to model the latest in Afghani fashion. πŸ˜‰

    I’m trying to picture the mayhem that would greet anyone trying to get Claire into a burqa…

  17. Claire
    Claire April 29, 2014 10:19 am

    LOL! Joel, if anybody tried to make me wear a burqa, I agree you’d see a battle. (Or maybe I’d just quietly submit and later cut big holes in the thing.)

    But Dana knows me, too. And I’m betting he remembers that I’m on record as saying that my feeling about privacy is such that I could happily hide inside a burqa — as long as it was my own choice. I’m seriously giving that 8×10 photo idea some serious thought. Now, do they sell burqas cheap on Amazon or eBay …?

  18. naturegirl
    naturegirl April 29, 2014 2:10 pm

    Wolfsong – Cookie is beautiful πŸ™‚ So sad she’s had such a rotten life until you came along. But it sounds like you have made more progress than you give yourself credit for.

    And Claire, if the burqa thing doesn’t work out, you could try a ghillie suit.

  19. LarryA
    LarryA April 30, 2014 1:00 am

    Burqa: The ultimate in concealed carry clothing.

  20. Karen
    Karen April 30, 2014 4:41 am

    I’ve spent the last 2 days trying to think thru this one. As I’ve aged life has become less about passions and more about a que sera sera taking the days as they come for me.

    I still have interests and enthusiasms, still enjoy learning new skills, still engage in life and enjoy interacting with most people(on line and IRL) most of the time, but there’s really nothing anymore that makes me jump out of bed in the morning with a burning desire to go out and show the world anything.

    I think that the closest I come to being passionate about something these days is trying to get people to be more awake and aware and prepared for a possible/probable food or economic crisis. But since I’ve volunteered at the local emergency food pantry for 21 years I think that’s as much habit as actual passion.

    If I vanished into the forest tomorrow, a few people would miss me, but nothing in the bigger picture would change.

  21. Ron Johnson
    Ron Johnson April 30, 2014 7:02 pm

    The Truth. My life has been spent pondering it, searching for it, studying it. I wonder if I’ll know it when I find it.
    Second to that is sailing, but I repeat myself.

  22. Nill Stefkemper
    Nill Stefkemper May 4, 2014 11:18 pm

    I am 60 years old, an 8th generation floridian. Three divorces cured me of wanting women. I feel love for my cat, a sad truth.
    But after living through 50 years of liberal yankee infiltration of Florida, the only time I get get passionate is when I think of democrats and how much I hate them. They took a fine free state and have done their level best to destroy it. Now they are ruining the entire country.

  23. ILTim
    ILTim May 8, 2014 5:20 am


    Cars, motorcycles, heck I like going fast in my kayak. It was bicycles in my youth. Running, swimming, to the (somewhat limited) limits of my physical ability, I like fast.

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