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Passionate Success Advice

Written by Jane Brooks

Columnist Jane Brooks writes about successfully discovering passion in midlife and she's not even talking about sex.


Last weekend I went sailing with my friend Linda, whose chiseled cheekbones, silky skin and radiant smile make her appear a decade younger than her 52 years.

Linda's loved sailing since her college days and bought a boat a couple years ago. Each weekend she invites grateful friends to sail with her. She's a cool, calm captain and a great teacher.

Advice on Finding Passion:
What kinds of activities have excited you at different times of your life?
Experiment with activities to see which invigorates you most.
Share your passion with friends, but let go of any expectations. If someone shares it with you, that's great. If not, try another friend.
You'll know when you've found your passion because you'll want to spend all your free time pursuing it.
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On our day out she let me take the helm, and for nearly an hour I steered us through shifting winds, exhilarated as we sailed in New York Harbor past the Statue of Liberty. Linda's passion for sailing is contagious.

Mention passion and most people think sex. But passion goes way beyond orgasm. It's about finding a connection to something that excites and motivates us, keeps us feeling young at heart, renewed and optimistic. Passion is about soul, which you can never be too old for. (You can't be too old for sex, for that matter).

I have another friend who loved to dance but felt too constrained by everyday demands to indulge her favorite pastime. A breakup with a longtime boyfriend moved Deb to enroll in a dance class, where soon she found herself dancing several nights a week.

The other day a mutual friend watched her at a local dance club and commented that, at 48, she was leaving the younger women in the dust. Ask Deb about her dancing and she'll tell you, with sparkling eyes, that it's absolutely her life's passion.

Several years ago, my friend Carol experienced a career crisis that left her restless and down in the dumps. A jeweler by trade, she read about a papermaking class and decided to enroll. Watch this video of former NJ Senator Bill Bradley on springing forward from setbacks.

You can guess what happened. Carol discovered her passion in papermaking. Today she's a gifted and successful paper sculptor. Carole's exciting, organic work reflects her passion for the medium.

Rather than slowing down in midlife these friends are revving up, grabbing life with gusto and pouring energy into activities that invigorate them. They're daily reminders to me that passion dwells within and it's up to each of us to find it, nurture it and celebrate it for as long as we can.

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