During my recent live TV chat show Simone & Friends, I interviewed a group of women on the subject of finding their passion and living their purpose. The eldest of my guests was a wonderful woman, ninety-five years young. Articulate, engaging, funny and with a breadth of understanding and wisdom that she was delighted to share with the live audience. Her passion for music, which has been an accompaniment throughout her life. Discovering the joys of singing on stage in her fifties and going on to play supporting roles in Gilbert and Sullivan operettas because ‘they were always guaranteed to have a role for a middle-aged woman.” She absolutely rocked the interview and was the highlight of the evening.
This wonderful woman and I met on stage forty years ago and her passion is unabated. And not just for all things musical. For life itself. She is an incredible role model.
At a recent international conference where I presented to a global audience of over 250 speakers from 27 different countries, I too had the opportunity to articulate my passion. And it was after this event that a chance, and unconscious, comment, prompted this reflection. The comment by one of the attendees, who had complimented me on my presentation, was simply “It’s good to see that you're still so passionate.” I was surprised.
STILL…So passionate. I had to ask… “Why…. Still?” Surely passion doesn't have a use-by date?
Surely our driving force, our life energy, our deep connection to what motivates us doesn't have to diminish because we've reached a pre-determined number of years. Yet perhaps that is what society has created as the new norm with its ever present focus on youthfulness. An unconscious bias to anyone who is obviously not of that norm.
I believe it’s definitely time to shift the status quo, and to recognise the brilliance of experience. Of a life well-lived, fuelled by passion. Without qualifiers.
I wouldn't trade any of my experience of over thirty-five years as a Theatre professional… it's been hard-earned and I've created a career and business around my passion. It has, in fact, defined my purpose. And it’s what keeps me energised and alive to opportunities.
I don't plan on stopping anytime soon. I don’t plan to ‘retire’ (even the word suggests being tired of life and lacking enthusiasm). Why should I be any less dynamic, focussed or passionate about everything I embody just because I’ve had the gift of more years on planet earth?
In fact, like my wonderful friend, I want someone to interview me when I'm 95, about my passion. I expect there will be plenty to share, and I hope that I too will be an inspiration and role model.
My dear guest shared her thoughts with me after the interview… “Who would have thought that I'd get to do this at 95? What a treat.”
I added to the treat by driving her home in a classic MX5. It’s a soft-top and she wanted to drive with the top down.
Not STILL so passionate… ALWAYS so passionate.
Yours, purposefully passionate
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