I remember it clearly, the moment I realised I just couldn’t stand another day of architecbollocks (the language architecture students speak when discussing their work).
It was September 2009 and I sat cringing in the first week of my masters of architecture class in Dublin.
I had no idea what else to do with my life, but knew I had to quit architecture to try and work it out.
A few months earlier when I was travelling in Portugal en route to Dublin, I’d met Kelly, an American chick who told me about this majestical thing called superyachting.
Had I stayed in Auckland pondering my passions, I never would have met Kelly, and I never would have stumbled across one of my most unexpected passions later down the track.
Two years more lostness and a great deal of unhappiness later
I’d started and then quit a Masters of Digital Media in Sydney, and was more lost than ever.
Around that time I also buggered up another lovely relationship with my unhappiness and self sabotaging tendencies.
In the midst of floods of tears and one of the lowest points in my life, I remembered Kelly’s stories of this thing called superyachting.
Despite the guilt of STILL not having worked out my life, I set off to get a job on a superyacht in Europe.
At least that way I could earn a lot of money while working out the rest of my life.
One day in my crew bedroom floating on the Adriatic sea I followed a link that Kelly had shared on FB about meditation and sex. That one article, written by Kim Anami, lead me down a rabbit hole of Mind Body Green articles over the coming weeks, and I became fascinated by healthy eating, coconut oil, chia seeds, almond milk and kale, the whole shebang. It probably helped that while my fascination grew, I wasn’t actually able to taste any of these things. The bloggers seemed to be telling me they were all very delicious.
Especially kale. I couldn’t wait to try some.
Since I was at sea with no chance of experimenting in a kitchen or buying any ingredients, I began researching and reading everything I could about health and wellness and my curiosity grew.
When I was learning new things about nutrition, I was engaged, I felt alive in a way I hadn’t felt for a bloody long time.
I didn’t even mind waking up in the morning some days.
Never in a million years did I think that I would make a career out of health and wellness,
I knew that would require going back to uni to study nutrition and dietetics, and I felt it was way too late to start a whole new degree. After all, I’d decided, I was getting old.
I also wasn’t sure if it was definitely what I wanted to do.
Additionally, I’d always sucked at cooking. My repertoire up until finding out I had coeliac disease had mainly consisted of cheese on toast, creamed corn and cheese on toast, pasta with cheese, 2 minute noodles, red bull, and indian takeaways. When I found out I had coeliac disease, I converted to a new diet: gluten free cheese on toast, gluten free pasta with cheese, gluten free cakes, and indian takeaways. Vegetables and me didn’t really have a lot to do with each other. BUT, the bloggers told me, kale is delicious.
To my surprise I began to feel pretty excited (dare I say passionate) about health.
But I thought that in order for it to be a passion, I’d surely have to be good at it, and I’d also probably need to dedicate a lot more time and money to retraining in order to make it a career, and therefore I couldn’t make such a radical life change.
So I stayed on the superyacht another season, still delving into my head over and over to try and find the answer to “What am I passionate about? What am I going to do with my life?”.
Inside Neville’s headquarters, things were becoming more and more chaotic. So many options, so many reasons why all the options sucked.
Thumbs were being twiddled in Nev HQ.
I’d become caught up in the zest-wastingly common misconception that we’ll need to spend a lot of time and money re-training in order to follow our passion, that we have to be good at it already, and that once we find The Thing, it has to become the central focus of our life. AKA, leash number 2.
Instead of being held back by this leash, we can take one mundane activity that we do routinely (Facebook scrolling?) and replace it with something that we’re really curious about.
Lack of career potentiality notwithstanding.
Though I never thought it would become a career, I started making terrible tasting green smoothies out of the ingredients the chefs on the yacht would let me use. The crew were not much impressed with the green concoctions I manufactured.
But while I was concocting my horrible fruity-vegetabley concoctions, I was happy. And though I was still working every day in a job that I found mundane and meaningless,
I started experiencing excitement again, and some of my missing zest for life found its way back into my mornings.
I still had no idea it would lead me to even bigger passions.
Everything only ever makes sense in hindsight.
Often pursuing simple activities we’re curious about will lead us to new passions and new opportunities that we couldn’t have conceived of before –
but the point is simply to start feeling more fulfilled in your everyday life.
It will start to shift your energy and motivation.
If, like me and blending vegetables, you suck at the thing you’re curious about, keep going.
You’ll either get better at it, or you’ll get bored and move on to the next curiosity.
Put some thought into it – you might realise that you’ve already abandoned something you could be passionate about just because you thought you’d need to be better at it in order for it to be a passion. Or perhaps because you didn’t feel you could spare the time or the money it would take to reroute your career and make it the central focus of your life.
Next week I’ll be back to talk about