Culture / Life

What Are You Passionate About? I was asked recently, “What are you passionate about?”

It was in the context of working on my PhD, and I had a hard time answering. I’m interested in a lot of things, many of which connect to the overall area of my studies (Information, particularly in the context of law and public policy).

The professor advised me to think harder, and to think differently than I’ve thought in the past, to figure out the answer to this question. She cautioned that without being passionate about something, it is unlikely that I will successfully complete my PhD. She also framed the question in terms of developing new knowledge. What new knowledge do I want to develop in the world?

How do you think differently?

I was feeling down about not knowing, wondering if I should look for a job-job, wondering if I was doing the right thing, and generally miring in self-doubt for awhile this afternoon, when it occurred to me that as a lifelong couch potato, perhaps I would think differently if I were exercising.

So I put on some socks and sneakers, and downloaded a Couch to 5K program on my phone. Then I went outside and walked-ran for 30 minutes.

Two blocks before I got home, I had One Of Those Moments. I remembered what my life is for, and I remembered the moment when I realized it.

My life is for lesbian and gay families, and for creating a world in which our families are free to thrive.

I first realized it around the time that Jill and I got married, during a class I was taking about how people relate to and deal with money.

Since that time, a lot of things have distracted me, and I’ve found it hard to stay focused on that calling. In a lot of ways, it scares me to take on that large of a commitment. It scares me to stand up and say, YES, that is what I am supposed to be doing with my life. I don’t really know what it looks like. I don’t already know how to do it.

That very fear, the very question of who am I to take that on, the guilt of activism un-done and contributions un-made, of other interesting and challenging and sometimes rewarding work done instead…it tells me that this IS my direction.

And it is my responsibility to figure out how to join together with the many activists, thinkers, leaders, politicians, and families just trying to live their lives as who they are, so that together, we can create that world.

Right now, I don’t have a clear vision of my role in building this world.

But thinking outside of my couch potato comfort zone was a good idea. And I declare that continuing to think and exercise will clarify my next steps on that path. I’ll be the one in the t-shirt running a 5K to raise money for Children’s Hospital in September, by which time I’ll have a much clearer idea of how I will be creating a world that is safe and fulfilling, and gives lesbian, gay, queer, bi, and trans families space to thrive. (If you want to, you can sponsor my run!)

Thanks for your patience with this site. I think it is fair to say that I’m back!


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