The difference in following interests and passions isn’t immediately apparent. Many people I’ve known and I myself have followed things that have been very interesting, but then found out that those things aren’t a passion, that we weren’t as prepared for what it took to really master whatever those things are. A lot of the time, our efforts in these things just sort of peters out, without much result other than a loose understanding of crocheting or particle physics or Japanese.
I did this with game design in my last couple of semesters at college. My brother told me about a free development kit by Unreal that could, and can, be used to create games. At the time, I was getting more interested in visual art. I was drawing more and thinking of things visually more than just scenarios, which is how I think of stories I end up writing.
At first, trying my hand at the game design with the Unreal Development Kit (UDK) was very enjoyable. I spent a week creating different levels, following videos from a great educational YouTube channel called TheNewBoston, which I highly recommend checking out if you enjoy learning. After this week, however, I felt deflated, and opening up my latest project felt much more like a chore than it did a couple of days before, and, while I still worked on these levels to a degree, I felt very much uninterested.
For a while, I was dissapointed. For something I enjoy so much (video games), I thought I’d like doing the development stuff much more, but it just bogged me down, and while I was and still am interested in it, it’s definitely not a passion.
Not long after that, while, still in school, but very near graduation, I changed direction from game development to animation. I’ve always loved animation, 2D and 3D. Pixar movies have always been something I look forward to. So then, I put most of my chips into studying to be an artist geared towards animation. I even got informational packets from a couple of colleges I was interested in, like the Art Institute (I can’t remember which one. Atlanta, maybe?) and SCAD in Savannah Georgia.
This switch from games to drawing was like night and day. Practicing drawing became my life and still very much is a large part of my life. I practice every chance I get and none of it feels like work. I was able to find something that I really enjoy doing, not because it’ll make me successful or because it’s cool, but because the process of it does something to me that I can’t recreate anywhere other than either writing or playing music. So, for me, creating stuff is my passion. Whether it’s written word or a drawn or painted picture or a song, creating is what keeps me going.
I know there are people out there, I’ve spoken with a few of them, who don’t know what their passions are and don’t know how to find out. I know people who have a lot of interests, but don’t know which they would choose to pursue the way I do art or writing. For those people, I would say that it might not be as simple as something like that. A friend of mine enjoys collaborating. The project or subject matter almost doesn’t matter, as long as she can work to create something with someone else. It can be as simple as writing a song with someone, or as complex as preparing and carrying out a research study, but the thing that excites her the most is working with people.
So there is something out there for everyone to fill their days that they enjoy and that benefits themselves and others, we just have to figure out what it is.