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There are few things I love more than going for long drives filled with some major car-singing and deep thoughts. The amount of thinking that takes place while I drive is so overwhelming that it probably isn’t safe. I might be a hazard to myself or others on the road. Living in the city makes long drives less pleasurable, so I don’t do it as often as I’d like to, but driving back to the city from my small hometown this morning, I began thinking about my closest friends– those 8 to 10 people with whom I identify most closely. What is it that attracts me to them? Why do I want to spend time with them? I immediately thought of the above quote I found on Pinterest that I’ve probably pinned 8 billion times. I love passionate people. I am passionate about passionate people. Period.

There’s this really unfortunate trend in our culture that glorifies not caring. We’re breeding lifeless settlers by convincing ourselves and each other that dreaming big means you’re selfish or delusional, working hard isn’t worth it, and expecting more out of life, yourself, or others makes you some kind of bossy asshole.

Don’t get a degree in something you are passionate about. Get a degree in something that will pay the bills.

Don’t work too hard for anything or dedicate yourself to any one particular thing. It’s more important to be well-rounded. 

Don’t you dare even think about caring for someone else more than they care about you. That’s just embarrassing. 

We tend to avoid things that illicit an emotional response out of fear of how others will perceive our expressed emotions. This is why we don’t take risks. This is why we’re afraid of failure. This is why we’re terrified of rejection. This is why we don’t try. It’s why we hold back. It’s why we don’t say “I love you” when DAMMIT, I LOVE YOU.

We lack passion as a society.

I remember how utterly frustrating dating was at the very end of high school. I watched the way that boys’ eyes would glaze over as I talked excitedly about what I thought the future might hold. Not for us, of course (whoever “us” was), but for me. I think they were just being polite or trying to create casual conversation when they asked me about my college plans, but I guess I gave them way more than they had bargained for. I can’t tell you how many times my guy friends have told me how intimidating I probably seem to persons of the opposite gender. For some reason, our culture finds it perfectly natural to be a little afraid of (maybe even turned off by) “go getters.” Why is it not okay to know what you want? Why is not okay to work hard for what you want? Why is that unattractive to so many people?

I understand that being a “go getter” causes you to toe a thin line between determined and conceited. I’ve probably lingered on the conceited side before, and I completely understand how that could be less attractive, but it’s a real shame that we’ve conditioned ourselves to feel bad about knowing ourselves– knowing our strengths and weaknesses. I think many people fear that a “go getter” like myself would expect too much of them or think less of them for not being as determined or focused. Or maybe they assume that if we’re not passionate about the same things, we couldn’t possibly jive. But when it comes down to it, I’ve noticed that I don’t really care WHAT it is that a person is passionate about, just as long as they care about something. People who aren’t afraid to care, aren’t afraid to fail, aren’t afraid to try– those are the people I want to surround myself with. Those are the people who work for things they care about. Those are the people who don’t bail. They encourage you. They inspire you. They’re my kind of people.

When I was 15, I sat in a hotel room and cried with a girl I had known of my whole life, but had never really cared to actually know until that day when for the first time, I connected with another person whose dreams were so big that they were terrifying. I met a person like me, whose passion was literally flowing out of her eyeballs because just talking about it made her feel so full. For the 15 years leading up to that, I thought I was the only one who felt so deeply for anything. But now I look at the people who make up my life as I know it (and want it). They’re people who feel. They’re people who get excited. About softball, about music, about acting, about learning, about math (like, what the hell?), about writing, about other people, about Jesus. They care about things honestly and they do something about it! They care about people like me honestly and they do something about it. They don’t settle. They feel the fear and they do it anyway. They’re passionate people. And my life’s better because they’re in it.

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