We can’t live without passion. Without it, we are merely existing. I also believe that we need to find our balance in passion in all areas of our life. A way to divide our life is by classifying them into the components of health, work, play and love. Health, play and love are all mainly part of our personal life, while work is usually considered more as part of our professional lives.

I believe that to discover your passions, and essentially yourself, is to strip you down of all the communities that keep you on a rut. If you didn’t have school, college, an office, an organization, or a specific place to be every day, what would you do then? How would you use your time?

I feel that only when you’re left as an independent and vulnerable self, without clinging on to the belonging of a community, when you learn to prioritize your life. When something like this happened to me a year ago, I completely restructured my life to adjust to my current circumstances.

I realized that I hadn’t truly taken care of myself during my last years in high school, so fitness, health and trying out different sports became a priority. I also realized that in being so focused on academics and school activities, I camouflaged my innate passions for reading, blogging, learning languages, photography and all things creative. I even used these hobbies to connect to my academic and work interests; these include reading books about psychology, my intended major, and learning ASL and other languages as I currently hold a job at an NGO in this field. Finally, I dealt with my emotions and social circle, trying to understand their influence on my life. I spent more time with both my immediate and extended family, and I chose to let go of many acquaintances why strengthening the ones that truly mattered to me. Luckily, the one thing I didn’t have to worry about was finance, as I still live with my parents.

But in essence, I feel that I have come to understand my health/work/play/love dashboard independently. I know my place in this life at this present moment, and was able to connect each of these seemingly diverging factors in my life into one cohesive whole. My dashboard will change – maybe even every year. But at least I know that I’ll find my way back, because my ‘way’ is not determined by college or work anymore, it’s determined solely by who I am.

I wrote this post in reference to the book Designing Your Life, which is a popular course (in university and in life) by two college professors. I am just starting it, but it’s a book that triggers ideas in the reader/student, and writing about it is a key component in further understanding myself using design thinking. I talk about passion and design thinking without defining either of these terms because I am not entirely sure of them myself. I know what they mean to me and the role they have in my life, but it’s up to you to designate them in yours.