Thursday, April 16, 2009

Play It Passionate

As a nerdy Jewish high school girl in Livingston, New Jersey, I couldn’t get close to the group of guys everyone else found attractive. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to. “It” boys owned the hallways in Varsity jackets and low-slung jeans. I tried hard, but couldn’t see what made them the ones I should want to be with.

When I was a freshman at Tufts University, there was a guy I’ll call Jimmy. 5’9” with thick lips, long lashes, black hair, slight build. He was kind and sometimes funny and socially awkward in an endearing way. A nice acquaintance, nothing more.

Then he picked up a guitar.

When Jimmy played gigs at the campus center, singing his own songs or covering “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” he sounded romantic and full of promise. He became someone interesting. His allure was not the result of my strong Captain n Coke or sleep deprivation from the Philip Roth midterm essays I’d been writing until 3 a.m. He was hot because music was his passion. Eyes closed, houselights dimmed, he spilled his soul. He sang with conviction. Jimmy now works in finance.

I was certain at a young age my passion was to play with language. Post college, I’m trying to discover how to make my passion a profession.

I’m afraid if I follow my dreams, I’ll ruin them. I worry by trying to make writing functional, not fun, I’ll end up forgetting what I loved.

I need to get my voice out there somehow. I cannot imagine doing anything else, but I need to make a living. Hope is fading as I hear over and over that now isn’t a good time. NOW is the only time I have. While I try to forget fear, I wait for someone to realize I’m not fucking around.

=Carly Okyle


Anonymous said...

You're right. Passion is more important now than ever

Anonymous said...

this is interesting. from guitar to finance

Anonymous said...

I think I have a description-based crush on Jimmy. And I hear you. Fuck fear. I have a theory that if you follow your passion relentlessly, you will have no regrets. It may not be an economic theory, but will surely lead to some form of happiness.

Passion and survival tactics. That's what I'm living on. But I happen to like this life better than, say, finance and fine French wine.

Anonymous said...

!Viva la passion or die trying!

Anonymous said...

Incredibly well-written- the description of the guitar scene brought me back to my college days. I wish more people had similar philosophies, as it is the passion that drives true success.

"I’m afraid if I follow my dreams, I’ll ruin them. I worry by trying to make writing functional, not fun, I’ll end up forgetting what I loved."

This concern, in itself, makes me confident that you are set in life. Sure, you may still be looking for the optimal job, but you have discovered your dream, found the spark.

When it comes to "success," there are two types of people:

1) Those who pursue the path that meets the socially-constructed definition of success (READ: "lucrative," "prestigious," "law school," "i-banking) and hope that they find some aspect that they enjoy along the way

2) Those who realize their passion, and as a result, pursue their dream with such conviction that they live and breathe their work. In fact, "work" is aligned with "play." The best part? By focusing on pursuing the passion first, the success ultimately follows.

Too many people fall into the former group. They are pressured from Dad or their peers to get the job in finance, or apply to Law School. If these recent grads decide that's what they want, power to them. However, what worries me the most is: who is deciding what they want? Do these people have the ability to distinguish their personal passions and life goals from those that sound good to their social circle?

You can try all you want to be "successful," but in the end, money only perpetuates the superficiality of "success." What's most important is that you take the time to reflect on what you're passionate about, and how you can utilize those interests and personal resources to make a positive impact on your personal development, as well as the world.

I think you're on the right track, and if this piece of writing is any indicator, I know you'll do just fine.