Where Passion and Purpose Meet

I have been away too long so damn finals crunch time, I'm writing a blog post. I'm in my second semester in the library and information science program at Dominican and have gotten lucky enough to land a practicum at Skokie Public Library. If you haven't been there yet but are an advocate for libraries, then you've likely heard about how magnificent their space is along with the work they do. I've been working with primarily junior high kids, the "tweens" with their bubbly personalities and snide but hilarious remarks. Kids are awesome. But before I started working with them, I was probably like that old bat living in the apartment below you whose eyes were perpetually glued to her ceiling as she shook her fist and mouthed, "those damn kids."

It's been great.

I want to talk a little bit about why I'm pursuing an MLIS (Master of Library and Information Science) and seemingly moving away from writing. Earlier this year, it was getting harder for me to get up in the morning. I was burnt out on trying to make my book happen. One of the worst traps a creative can fall into is expecting their work to save them fully, that is, making art because they want to make money off of it. Now I know this sounds idiotic because who doesn't want to make money off of their passion? Wanting to make a living off of your work is all fine and dandy, it's when your sole purpose for creating becomes to make money that poses a problem. It's a very personal dilemma and it makes you step away to really examine what it is your doing and compare it to your intentions.

Crowding around my book in the hopes that it would save me was never something that I wanted. Countless writers, including the late and great Ray Bradbury have preached to write for the love of it. The rest will just come. But living in these times, it's hard not to worry about money. I'm fortunate enough to have a flexible job with a beyond accommodating boss, but I don't want to be an assistant forever.

This may sound hokey, but I started listening to motivational videos to wake me up in the morning, which caused me to stumble upon a guy named Jay Shetty. He's a storyteller, YouTuber, and many other things including sage-like from what I presume can be attributed to his time as a monk. In this interview with Tom Bilyeu, Shetty says something that really resonated with me.

"Your passion is for you, your purpose is for others. Your passion makes you happy. But when you use your passion to make a difference in someone else's life, that's a service, that's a purpose, and that's the hand."

And that's ultimately what led me to librarianship. I knew that writing was always something I had done for myself. Even as a teenager I remember saying that when I grew up I would have a job and write on the side, but it has taken me almost a decade to realize that I needed to find another fulfilling career to inspire and help me grow in different ways. Librarianship appeared out of a strange mist that dissipated slowly then all at once.

What I wanted was to make a difference in some capacity. I knew that I wanted to work with teens in underserved communities because they need the attention more. They need people to care. I knew that libraries were these wonderful institutions with free resources where people could feel safe. My sister and I were latchkey kids and if we had known about what the library could be for us when our mom was working and we were alone, we would have been there. Librarianship, in its quiet way, is what I would make my purpose.

Most days, I even get to use my passion. I facilitate a reading and discussion with a group of enthusiastic kids. Next semester, I'll get to lead a writing program for 4th and 5th graders.

Who says you can't have it all?

The rest, as they say, is history.

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