I haven’t been writing as much lately, and the reason is two fold: Partly it’s because with a 9-5 job I have a lot less time, but the main reason is that I have lost my passion.
The watershed moment for me was when I wrote the post Forlorn Hope. I came to the conclusion that humanity is fucked at a very basic level. Yes, we are slowly inch by inch making progress, but the fact that we have to fight so damn hard to get that inch should tell you something about people. I wouldn’t say it is 100% pointless to argue religion and politics with people, but I just don’t have the desire to do it very much anymore.
In a way I feel like I have ascended to a post-political, post-atheism state. I was once starry eyed and zealous about both, and now I don’t care. It’s a faint feeling of superiority for which I am displeased with myself.
In my experience, passion is a fickle thing. My passions have always come in stages. My first passion as a kinder-gardener was volcanoes. Then in first grade it was the civil war, then Pompeii. In fifth grade it was guinea pigs. Between the ages of 11-12 it was the Titanic.
The biggest passion hit when I turned 12. The computer game Age of Empires II: Age of Kings came out and I discovered the middle ages. This passion would grip me for the next 10 years. I joined a medieval living history group, built a suit of armor, learned how to sword fight, and went to college to get my BA in history. For the longest time I was planning on living my life as a medieval archaeologist. I woke up early every morning for almost two years to go dig at a local site, I hurt my GPA by taking multiple language classes (not my strong point), and I even traveled to the UK for schooling. Now I’m not so enthusiastic about it.
Around the same early teenage years I discovered a passion for film making and politics. I seriously came extremely close to going to film school instead of a 4 year program for history, but at the last minute I had a huge falling out with my best friend and film-making companion. I thought about being a film editor for the rest of my life, but that passion died out.
Politics was a similar story. I used to volunteer and wage road sign wars before I could even vote. I’m not proud of it, but at the time I described myself as a political zealot. (I was a teenager, cut me some slack) I wanted a life of politics, fighting the good fight and all that. I almost majored in political science at college. My first semester I signed up for the freshmen starter classes, but then changed my mind at the last minute. I reasoned that I didn’t need a degree in political science to work in politics, and that history had been my driving passion for much longer.
The most difficult aspect about all of this is the lack of certainty.
Each one of these passions consumed me, sometimes for years at a stretch. While in the grip of a passion I was positive about my life’s calling. I knew what it was I wanted to do. Inevitably the passion died out, leaving me jaded and lost. How am I supposed to plan for life if I don’t that what I am passionate about today will be what I am passionate about tomorrow? I know some people might be tempted to say “Oh don’t plan!” but that’s not reasonable. You can’t “not plan” and become a medieval archaeologist. (My goal for more than a decade of my life) I had to plan what courses I took in college, what I did outside of college, how to build my resume for grad school, which grad school to go to, etc. Planning is a must. But how was I supposed to know my passion would die my senior year? (My biggest fear is that my passion and decade long plans were the collateral damage in the slow implosion of a serious three year relationship whose end coincided with that senior year, but I have no way of knowing)
Regardless, now I’m left in the uncomfortable position of floating aimlessly; passionless. What am I to do? A lack of passion is not something you can just “snap out of.” If I find a new passion, how can I avoid being cynical about it given my history with previous passions?