Thoughts on Exuberance
(This is a cross post of something I wrote recently on my personal blog. Someone asked me to share it here as well.)
Last week for our Mormon woman book group, we read Exuberance by Kay Jamison, a book about the role exuberance plays in both the natural/animal world and also in the lives of certain extraordinarily passionate people.
I enjoyed reading about people who devoted their lives so passionately to certain causes or interests, but was left feeling slightly lame since I don’t think I have that sort of exuberance. I think when I was younger I was more passionate about life, partially because the future was so exciting. I could do anything! Be anything! Go anywhere! Fall in love with anyone! It was intoxicating to think of all the possibilities in the future.
But now….. well, I can see my life stretching out in a pretty straight road in front of me. I’m 28 and I’m almost positive I’ll spend the rest of my life in my current house, my current community. I know who I’ll be married to (forever). I know I’m limited in some interests (grad programs) I’d like to pursue because of geographical limitations. I know I’ll never make the big splash in the world that I once thought I would. Though my life is very comfortable and full of satisfaction in some ways, I’m just not as passionate about it as I once was.
Which is why I appreciated the quote Jana just emailed our group this morning. I may not have the ecstatic experiences some people do, but I think I can still find this kind of passion in my life:
From Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach:
“Passion is the muse of authenticity. It’s the primordial, pulsating energy that infuses all of life, the numinous presence made known with every beat of our hearts. Passion does not reveal herself only in clandestine, romantic, bodice-ripping cliches. Passion’s nature is also cloaked in the deep, subtle, quiet, and committed: nursing a baby, planting a rose garden, preparing a special meal, caring for a loved one who is ill, remembering a friends birthday, perservering in a dream. Every day offers us another opportunity to live passionate lives rather than passive ones, if we will bear witness to passion’s immutable presence in the prosaic…”