Welcome to Ask Poppy! I’m Poppy, your go-to girl for all of life’s woes. And when I say ALL, I MEAN IT. I’m not an expert on anything except maybe for being me, which makes me totally qualified to do this.
I don’t know what to do with myself.
I’ve been existing for 25 years, going with the flow and swimming with the currents of adulthood, and still, I’ve never fully realized what it is I should be living for. Sure, I have a family to go to, a patient girlfriend who puts up with my wants and whims, and a job that takes up most of my time and keeps me from wallowing in boredom. When I do have time to get bored, material things help me fill the void of a missing passion. I’ve quite a number of hobbies, but they never seem to get to me.
You know how everybody else is all about pursuing their dreams? Fuck all of that, Poppy. I don’t have a dream. And I have to admit it’s scaring me. I don’t want to keep living like this. It’s about time my soul yearned for something more, something deeper that I’d eventually have to strive for to achieve. But I’ve tried what I can. Is there a thing called living life passion-less? Is it considered living or am I simply just breathing air into my lungs and counting the days till they fail me? Where do I find this passion? How do I find my own direction?
Save me, Poppy, from living quite boringly.
Living life quite boringly is not quite like living at all. In one of his stand-up specials, comedian Louis C.K. had this bit about boredom. (Actually, he also used it in one of the episodes for Louie.) I’m paraphrasing, but he basically points out how the vastness of the world that you’ve “seen none percent of” does not and will not allow you to “get bored.”
Does it not disappoint you to admit that you do not have a dream? Aren’t you fucking jealous of how Anne Hathaway even “dreamed a dream,” yet you sit there with your “nice” girlfriend while you scroll past all the achievements of other people on your Facebook feed? It’s 2016 and your timeline is probably filled with those “#Blessed2015” posts that you can’t get rid of. Well, fuck, you should be scared—petrified, even.
I once believed in living a passion-less life. When I got out of high school, I had zero interest in college. I ended up choosing the course that my mom wanted me to take. Nursing was hella huge back then so together we picked a pre-med course. I hate science, but what the hell. I ended up spending the first two years of my college dropping out of classes because I was out drinking. I almost got jailed by mall security once because I had NOTHING to live for.
As a kid, I’ve always told my parents that I wanted to be a writer. They would discourage me because nobody earns from writing. They’re right, of course, which is why I hid that dream in the deepest void in my head. Anyway, I realized that this pre-med bullshit really isn’t my thing and it was depressing me majorly, so I shifted and got a degree in Communication, and now here I am, writing to you about passion.
You asked me where to find your passion. The fuck do I know, Dan? I really think that only YOU can answer that. In the filmDan in Real Life, Steve Carell played Dan, a widowed advice columnist who can’t seem to learn from his own advice. (Ooh, that rings a bell!) Near the end of the film, he realizes that although life fucked him up, there’s still reason to hope for the best because you can never really tell what life will bring. “Instead of telling our young people to plan ahead,” he wrote in his advice column. “We should tell them to plan to be surprised.”
Dan, you’re 25. You’re still young. You may feel that life is already “boring” and that you don’t have “dreams,” but think about this: you haven’t felt all the feels in this world. There’s still a lot of surprises ahead in real life, Dan.
I really hate that bullshit of telling people to turn your hobbies into a career because only DRIVEN people have the tendency to succeed. For us individuals who just want to ride along with the ebb and flow of life, I find it easier to try a lot of things in order to find out what you really want. Before I landed most of my recent writing gigs, I’d been jumping from one job to another. Tried working for a massive television network, and I hated not only the commute, but the whole culture of serving up crap to the masses. Tried working a mindless editorial job that pays a premium for working late at night, but then I ended up becoming a zombie. My most recent failure was working on various social media accounts for almost two years.
When a friend offered me to take over another big account after I went AWOL on my last job, I almost did not want to do it. But then I decided to give it a shot because, well, I’m poor and solely relying on writing an advice column is not enough. After my first month on this new account, I felt more alive than ever. A part of me still refuses to admit it, but I got so lucky that it’s hard to not be passionate about it.
Dan, I really believe that you have to at least try to find something that will invigorate you to strive harder. I hated working for social media after my last job. At first, I did it for the money, but then I became a firm believer because I found meaning in what I do. Our generation tends to be interested in meaningful work, or at least work that doesn’t require a drug test. Dan, I believe that if you don’t find meaning in what you’re doing now, this will end up haunting you for the rest of your goddamned life.
You may not know your passion right now, but always allow yourself to latch onto it when it ends up hitting you in the face. It’s hard to know which direction to take and it’s harder to find your footing once you’ve decided to make strides, but you really won’t find out unless you try. Don’t expect to find passion if you’re just whining about not having it. Try new things and don’t spend money when you’re bored. Knowing yourself helps, Dan. Find out what makes you who you are, and don’t be afraid to try.
“I think you have to try and fail,” Louis C.K. said when anLA Times reporter asked him about his failed HBO sitcom, “Failure gets you closer to what you’re good at.”
Got a question for Poppy? From love and relationships to weird questions you dare not ask even your psychologist, Poppy is ready to answer them all. Send in your questions to [email protected] or post your question over Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #AskPoppy, and you just might get the answer you are looking for.