l’appétit vient en mangeant

We hear stories all the time about people and their passions.

These stories, in my experience, follow a pattern.

Example: Ever since I was a little girl/boy I wanted to be a famous actor/singer/fighter pilot/banker. I would play (insert passion) with my little friends and make little (insert passion relevant artifact) when I was just a little boy/girl.

Yeah, we get it. From the moment you were born, you had a thing. And you ran with that thing all the way until now, where you’re a big-time grown up.

Bully for you.

I wonder, though. I wonder if this isn’t really the norm. I wonder if maybe most of us spend a lot longer finding out the thing, or heaven forbid, things, that we’re into.

I wonder if most of us don’t even have a single thing?

I wonder if, in a normal, healthy human, these things are always changing and evolving.

And more than any of this, I wonder if these stories about people with their mono-maniacal passions make the rest of us who have a more nuanced and shifting focus towards our endeavors, feel a little like we’re phoning in our pursuits. Like we’re the ne’er-do-wells of the hobby landscape.

Maybe these stories are leading us to believe we don’t feel passionate enough about anything. And to that end, maybe we don’t feel passionate about anything.

If you feel this way (and for context, I often feel this way) I suggest a reframe.

The French have a saying: l’appétit vient en mangeant, which translates to, appetite comes from eating.

Passions follow suit. They evolve and complicate from doing. And during this doing, we not only find out if we like them or not, but we find out why we like them or not.

The trial, the work, and the corresponding decisions are what help us becoming complicated and interesting people. They help us find ourselves. Not just our interests.

Being into one thing forever might get you great at that one thing, but I wonder what else you lose in that equation. What roads were never walked, what rivers were never crossed?

Consider this next time you’re lamenting your lack of focus in one pursuit.

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