what is your passion?

by The Dreamer

just the other day my sister wailed out, “i don’t know what my passion is!” with her fingers stretched out and hovering over her keyboard, after perhaps half-an-hour of contemplating over her scholarship interview questions. “i’m only nineteen, i’m not supposed to know what my passion is!”

my parents chuckled.

the question fell into a pit of my gut, echoing as i digested it. i had to disagree with my sister. i was only eighteen, but i sort of could vaguely make out the contours of what i was passionate about; they were familiar shadows cast out from me and following me wherever i went. you just had to recognise them and befriend them.

i’ve had my fair share of interviews, and whenever i was thrown an open-ended question like this, i faced the dilemma of straddling between professional and authentic. as an artist, authenticity is extremely important to me, and i inwardly cringe when i think back of all the shallow and cookie-cutted answers that had tumbled out of my mouth in my past interviews. i think probably everyone knew i was blindly bullshitting or reading off a script that i had prepared beforehand. it wasn’t me.

now, older and more introspective, i value the importance of being true to myself when providing others my insight, because it really reflects who i am and changes how others perceive me to be. maybe it would just completely fuck up my interview, maybe i would stand out, who knows.

but i can imagine it.

sitting in front of a panel of bored-looking interviewers, someone deadpanning in a monotonous voice, “so jean, tell us about what you are passionate about.”

here is what i would wholeheartedly sincerely reply:

to me, passion is a well, one that i would like to think has no visible end, supplying an unlimited supply of freshwater for people who wish to draw from it. and while the water is obviously used for consumption, it can also be applied to so many other functions – washing clothes, painting, watering plants, just to name a few. so in a nutshell, passion is not a one-way track. one can be passionate about many many innumerable things, and one should, because that’s what makes them a holistic person. hence, to limit my answer to only one passion would be a pity and an injustice, really, because i have the capacity to embrace so much more, and to simply name one (especially in the context of this job interview) would discount the depth of this word.

the first thing that i can tick off from the top of my list is my passion for loving. to me, i am here to give love and to receive love. life is so much more colourful and flavourful with love as an ingredient. i want to love my family and my friends and my job and myself. passion does not have to be tangible, and loving makes me feel full and happy. loving means appreciating my surroundings, even the little things, like the way the sun dances on my skin and the way the barista smiled at me today. this is why i applied for this scholarship – it allows me a greater capacity to touch others with love, especially the younger generation.

which brings me to my next point. i am passionate about inspiring others. i want to be the presence in their lives that is not overbearing but rather companionable, stoking in their heart the embers of hope and passion and to awaken dormant dreams. as a child, i deeply respected my teachers that had the ability to enlighten and lift me up with their stories and experiences and wise words. i wanted to be just like them. i am passionate about being there for people, because i generally have a passion for people. i am never tired of learning more about the lives of others, because it feels like i’ve learnt more about the secrets of the universe and life is just so much more meaningful and moving, you know? i find that the memories that remain rooted deeply in my mind are the moments spent with others, such as being the listening ear to the grandma in the hospice as she sings to me with a trembling voice and i will never forget the way her life lights up as she tells me stories that will otherwise be left unsaid and tragically die away.

stories – i am passionate about stories, which is why i love writing and reading them. words are our most inexhaustible source of magic, as said by jk rowling, and that resonates deeply in me. often the mundanity of our fast-paced life just sucks the magic out of everyone’s souls, and that’s such a regrettable thing. writing brings to me so much joy, and escaping into countless worlds through books is the most amazing thing ever, and if possible, i want to continue creating stories as well and be enpowered with the ability to transport others out of reality. imagination and creativity is so powerful and i really treasure these two qualities deeply. and if by chance, just maybe, if i was able to touch one person’s lives with my words, i don’t think there is any greater honor. i will be forever content.

i am passionate about discovering and observing the complexities of life. i am passionate about man’s capacity for wonder. i live for the transitory enchanted moments when i feel as though my body is just a physical vessel but spiritually i am so much more. i live for that moment when the energy in my body feels so connected to the energy of the universe, when i can zoom out and feel the world tilt off its axis and i can zoom out and sense the insignificance of myself and i can zoom out and be awed by the utter complexity of even the most insignificant things, like the way the blood roars in my ears or the way the veins of leaves intersect or the way bacterias kiss. everything is so amazing – i am here sharing  my passion with you guys, and at the same time, the world is rotating so incredibly fast around a 16 billion year old light and stars are burning itself out and galaxies are colliding.

i am passionate about living my life to the fullest, about experiencing as many things as possible, about feeling all the emotions i can.

i am passionate about being me. living authentically and as a good person and slowly but surely realising my dreams.

i am passionate about people who are incredibly passionate, and are not afraid to be so. be it the boy group that i adore or my father about his investments or the busker singing his lungs out, i fall in love with soulmates and strangers alike, as long as they radiate passion out of their pores.

i do realise that i have only lived eighteen years of my life, and my passions will definitely change in time, but what i do understand is that my passions at this time are valid and worth chasing.

j e a n x x

钧 x x