Changes are taking place here at P&O, slowly but surely. This website is a work-in-progress, just like me, never static for too long. For example, a teeny-tiny change has been made to the tagline of this site. The word passionate has taken the place of eccentric to more accurately reflect the mission of this site. For a few weeks now, I have felt that Be eccentric. was not quite the right phrase. After all, ordinary is quite valuable, too. I wanted to include a word that enveloped my hope for what this blog will inspire in readers and, as overused as the word is sometimes, passion is something most of us could use in greater quantities. To me, though, the phrase Be passionate. means more than simply feeling strongly about an issue, person, task, or idea. To be passionate means fully embracing your passion, accepting and celebrating that it is part of you, not hiding it from the rest of the world because it seems a bit odd, unfashionable, or ridiculous.
One of the benefits of celebrating your passion is that you will be able to bond with others who share your it. If you hide your affinity for children’s literature, your interest in bugs, or your love of obscure music, you are cutting yourself off from an entire population of people who will welcome your presence in their life because of your shared passion with them. I have enjoyed many a conversation with others based on nothing more than a common love of all things Star Trek or Harry Potter. If you decide that your talent for creating recipes from uncommon ingredient combinations, sculpting discarded items into unique pieces of art, or speaking a little known language is not worth sharing with others, you rob yourself of the opportunity to guide a newcomer through the wonderful world of weird you inhabit. Without the knowledge and support I gained from those already in the know, I would not have taken the rewarding leap into chicken-raising and, now that I have, I look forward to sharing my obsession with all things chicken with someone else someday.
Society uses all sorts of pejoratives to keep us from believing that what we love, what we get excited about is valid and worthwhile. Geek, nerd, weird, strange have all been used to describe me and others who are bold about their uncommon interests. Eyes are rolled, derisive sniffs are sniffed, and we are sometimes mocked for daring to say we like something that others do not understand. And yet, who doesn’t envy a person who feels utterly free to be themselves in the face of intense pressure to conform to the status quo? Be passionate means waving your freak flag proudly with the confidence that you are enough and that you, as you are, have something important to share with others. So whether your passion is comic books, parenting, lawn care, human rights, dog training, justice, knitting, unicycling, Russian literature, environmental care, inventing, or extreme hiking, whatever you have a passion for, accept it, embrace it, and share it with us. We would be happier and the world would be better off, if more of us chose, on a consistent basis, to be passionate.
This week, I hope you take steps to be boldly you, in all your wacky glory.