I remember the days when writing was a thing. If you are an 80’s or a 90’s kid, you would probably remember the cultural trend of blogging. Whether it was the fancy blog themes – in which we had to wreck havoc our brains for HTML codes to work fine – that drove us to dive into the blogging culture, or peer pressure: we were all once an amateur programmer.

The main accessory was a chat box which was essentially spammed by our “cliques” or that annoying anonymous person (read: troller) – one who kept visiting our blog with the intent of leaving a crush text without ever revealing him/herself. We would even put a music playlist of obscure artists and emo bands to show how “cool” we were. Most of the time, we were rebellious in our own ways; we wrote about our feelings and trivial rants hoping that someone would relate to us.

Ahh… the good ol’ times, with sprinkles of cringeworthy moments.

But then again, that’s the beauty of writing. No matter how horrendous and vain my writing was, I felt good because I could express myself even if no one was reading.

Even before the craze of the blogging culture, I had a hobby during primary school. I used to secretly write ramblings on pieces of paper on my bed and I’d hide them under my pillows. My first official journal was a cute little blue book that came with a lock and a key. I’d had some suspicions someone would have been intuitive enough to recognise my routine for writing.

Around the same time my passion towards writing started blooming, collecting notebooks had also become a trend in the late 90s. My friends and I would exchange our notebooks to fill in our bio data, which had a shameless section of who our “BFF” was and who would snatch the runner-up-BFF title. Don’t even get me started with love letters (ugh, some more cringe) or the time when I would exchange letters with my best friend in primary school. These sweet memories never fail to put a smile on my face every time I reminisce.

It never dawned on me – until about a year ago – that the urge to write has “followed” me ever since I was a child. The moment I was on a writing hiatus: I felt incomplete – like a piece of me was missing.

“If you feel like there’s something out there that you’re supposed to be doing, if you have a passion for it, then stop wishing and just do it.” – Wanda Skyes

Most of the entries in the journals were of my personal hardship and struggles that evolved from childish complains about “why life is not fair” as a teen, to serious life lessons as a young adult. What is even more interesting to me is that hardship – while we should learn and reflect on it – is one of the drivers that has kept writers alive. Most authors who are either bestsellers or have had a breakthrough with their first book are ones who went through a lot of struggles in their lives. Take J.K. Rowling for example; she was a struggling mother and an aspiring author who was rejected numerous times before her Harry Potter series landed an agent and publisher successfully. She technically started off from nothing.

What about Malala Yousafzai? She was a young girl in Swat Valley in Pakistan who was shot in the head for just going to school. Her struggle drove her to write a book – and not be silenced – which received international recognition. As a result of her bravery and struggle, she was the youngest person ever – at age 17– to receive a Nobel Peace Prize in 2014. From there, she has opened a school for Syrian refugees in 2015 and now preparing to go to a college in the US.

Look at how amazingly struggles can drive a person to reach their lifetime goal. But it’s also letting other people in when they fervently reach their hands to pull us from the pitfall.

Now, I am not saying that if we are blessed with an easier life relative to these inspiring women, we would never be as successful – totally contrary to my whole point. My point is, if you haven’t found your passion, you are lying. You are. Look at what you have spent most of your time at? What is that one thing that has effortlessly followed you from your past and still to this day? Look at things that you have done that you feel so fulfilled from and didn’t mind not being recognised from doing it? You do it because you genuinely love it. You’ve failed countless times, but you still do it because you can’t imagine your life without it.

Maybe we are conflicted between passion and responsibility – and that’s OK. I am not saying we should deliberately quit our job and carelessly follow our dreams. What I am saying is that we don’t stop doing what we love. Maybe the job that we hate now is an imperative step towards realising our dreams – money or experience-wise.

There is one question that I tend to ask myself these days: “What exactly is stopping you from pursuing your goal?” And I would usually end up not knowing how to answer the question. It just gives me a reassurance that I am on the right track no matter how slow the progress is.

On the pursuit of finding a passion, I can only say that no matter how much we have explored and which edge of the world we have reached: we will always go back to that one thing that once pushed us to explore in the first place – the quintessential part that defined who we are as a human being. With the right intention and a sound heart, how would we use our passion to achieve the ultimate goal in life?

 

Syaza is a freelance writer whose life revolves around coffee, cats and heartwarming stories.