This was a summer of traveling and spending time with family and friends, but it was also a summer of searching. Strangely enough, I have for the past two years or so felt less and less engaged and interested in different things. It is like I haven’t been able to look forward to things the way I used to, or take on new tasks with the same passion as before. Like life has become routine and I have had little interest in committing to new causes and in finding new goals. I remember coming back from winter holiday a year and a half ago, filled with energy and new ideas. But then things happened in my life which made everything else seem so immensely unimportant, and despite sincere efforts, I have been unable to feel really passionate about anything. There are a few exceptions of course. The Master’s program that I am doing has for the most part really interested me. As have my singing and my dance classes. But my work, or rather the issues that I work with, which used to be my passion, has captured less and less of my commitment. As has other things that used to truly excite me, such as traveling and acquiring new knowledge. It is like my curiosity, which always used to drive me, has been slipping along with my passion for justice and a better world. It’s a terrible thought and it has scared me immensely! Fadi Quran, who presently leads a nonviolent Palestinian organization, said to Time Magazine a while back, in response to the prospect of armed response to nonviolent demonstrations that “I only hope we’re not too well educated to be courageous!” It made me think that perhaps that is what has taken aways my passion and commitment, as with that of so many people around me who used to talk about changing the world and living life just and with passion. Or is this just inevitable as we grow older?
As you probably understand, the prospect of loosing curiosity and passion has been a great concern for me. Except for kindness and humaneness, I believe that curiosity is probably the most important quality in a person. Without that, life stagnates and people become ignorant and self-absorbed. Hence, I took the summer to discuss this with people around me to see if this has happened to others too, and while in Sweden, Jonas and I decided to do a little survey among our acquaintances and see how they feel about their work and their interests. Sadly enough, we realized that few feel that engaged in what they work with. Instead, routine seems have taken over and for eight hours a day, people execute tasks without really feeling that engaged in what they do or in the sector that they are a part of. And even worse, a few confirmed this feeling of fatigue in taking a stand and trying to convince others of their believes in how to make this world a better place. However, with the input from the people we talked to, and as the summer evolved, Jonas and I came to a few conclusions:
Surrounding ourselves with close friends and people that give energy and encourage creative thinking and new goals, and that make us discover new things is vital. It is easy to spend too much time with people that neither inspire nor support, and with whom the conversation leads nowhere, and that doesn’t help. To be engaged and committed, and to look forward to new things, it is also important to be well-rested and to take breaks from these commitments. No-one can can sprint through a marathon! So after a few weeks of vacation, a change in environments, and spending lots and lots of time with people that stimulate my thinking in other fields than just that related to my work, I already have more energy and feel ready to take on new tasks with passion, and a renewed motivation to work for a better world. Quite a relief!
Spending lots of time discussing life with friends at cafes around Stockholm, and some time in the water certainly helped bringing energy and motivation back!