The other day, I met a lady who asked me what was my passion in life. I don’t have an answer. I am a pretty level headed person without huge swings in emotions (although my ex would disagree!). I don’t think I have ever felt “passion” for anything in my life. That doesn’t mean I have no emotions, I just don’t assign “passion” to anything that I do. Do we really need to have a passion to guide the direction of our lives?
That lady was passionate about helping others. I like helping others, but I don’t think I would say I am passionate about it. She also has a living philosophy, live well and do good. All very noble and admirable, and definitely no harm adopting such a philosophy. I think a lot of us are striving to live well and do good, I just don’t think we will go that far to call it our living philosophy. In the end, the answer I gave her was, I am passionate about responsible living — responsible to self, family, friends, society, our environment and the world. Seems like a very long list but that’s who I am. I like to have fun and travel the world. I enjoy me-time and learning new things. But I never forget my responsibilities towards my family, for example, the need to help take care of mom and provide for her. In my own way, I try to recycle and do my bit for the environment. I try to help others whenever I can and be there for my friends.
I did volunteer work in my 20s, helping out at a social service centre working with children who are low achievers in school and with behavioural issues due to a challenging family environment. I wanted to make a difference in someone’s life. I didn’t have a lot growing up and when dad died when I was 14, we had very little money in the house and a sickly mom to take care of. My sisters and I turned out well — we managed to finish school and graduate with degrees with financial help and part-time work. I wanted to help others once I was financially independent, not so much in terms of giving money but contributing my time to do good, to spend time with these children so that they have help with homework and have activities to go to after school instead of loitering around void decks and mixing with the wrong crowd. It didn’t feel like I made a difference during my 4 years as a volunteer, and I eventually left the program and lost touch with these children. Imagine my surprise when my charge found me after 20 years and invited me to her wedding. She turned out well and became a kindergarten teacher. We later connected on Facebook and I saw that she now is a mother of a girl and boy. I am so happy for her. I would like to think that perhaps I did make a bit of a difference in her life after all.
Perhaps it is time to go back to charity work and do some good in this not-so-nice world that we live in. I didn’t have the time and energy when I was in a corporate career, but now that I am on a career break (or temporary retirement like I sometimes call it), perhaps I should make time and the effort to do some social work sine financially, I am unable to do much with no income myself. That’s a thought.