Sunday, June 13, 2010

Living Your Passion

There are two kinds of people in the world: those whose work lives and personal lives are two separate entities, and those who live, work, dream and breathe their passion.

I'm trying to make that work as a writer, which is my passion and haunts my dreams. There isn't much about writing that I don't love (although I wish the pay was better). Writing fulfills, renews and excites me like nothing else, and that passion seems to increase the more I do it.

Not everyone is lucky enough to discover his passion. I have high hopes for my son, who recently graduated from high school. I know in my soul that when he finds his own passion, he will know no limits. But finding that passion and convincing him to look for it have so far been elusive.

Our oldest girl, on the other hand, has known her passion at least as long as I've known her. When I me her dad, she was about six years old and already crazy about animals. When my husband bought The Animal Store, she was just 10, and she has logged many hours in the shop helping him. Even from afar, she continues to be a valuable contributor, writing the employee handbook, as well as much of the material for our soon-to-be-updated Website.

But it is the animals she truly loves. In high school and college, she participated in internships through the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. She worked at the Dolphin Research Center in Marathon, FL. She studied marine biology at the University of Miami and received a masters degree in primate conservation from Oxford Brookes University.

Her master's thesis was on a study she did training select individual animals within a large group. She developed the protocol herself and conducted the study on a group of baboons at the Six Flags Wild Safari in New Jersey. That study will soon be published in a scientific journal. Her methods revolved around the concepts of positive reinforcement training, and her depth of understanding and commitment to these concepts are remarkable.

Her passion has taken her from Chicago to the Bahamas to Florida to England to New Jersey and back to Florida, where she is now working with birds of prey. It has also taken her to the hospital with three (count them!) monkey bites. Her passion sometimes makes us a nervous wreck, but not even those three monkey bites has dulled it for her.

Those who work with animals must do it for love, because it's certainly not for money. As I have mentioned, I'm a reluctant pet owner, but more and more I have come to appreciate other people's devotion to their animals. But Becky's passion goes beyond just loving her pets. She has developed a deep commitment to conservation and ecology, understanding the true ramifications of various efforts toward recycling and new energy technologies. She helps us decipher the sound bites we hear in the news, explaining how some things that sound good on the surface can actually be more hazardous to the environment.

I admire Becky's passion. I know it is deeply felt and affects all the decisions she makes in her life, not just her career choices. Today I learned she is vying for the opportunity to travel with Julie Scardina, the Animal Ambassador for Busch Gardens and SeaWorld. It's an outstanding opportunity to work with one of her idols, learn about Emperor penguins of Antarctica and further her education.

Becky's goal is to make a real impact on how we treat our home planet and all the creatures with which we share it. She believes education and understanding are the way to do that. I hope you will vote to make her dream come true. Just click here to vote for Becky Bearman.

Not all of us are lucky enough to know or recognize our passion from such a young age. Some of us are lucky enough to be inspired by the passion of our children, family or friends. Are you living your passion or does someone else's passion inspire you? If so, let us know in a comment by clicking here.

"Nothing great in the world has been 
accomplished without passion."
— Georg Wilhelm


Unknown said...

Your daughter and I share a passion, though mine is expressed as a pet owner and lover more than finding it in my work. I'm the neighbor that lost animals find their way to and I find their owners all the time! said...

I'm off to vote!

Susan Bearman said...

Ciss B — it says a lot about you that animals seek you out. As pet store owners, you're our favorite kind of people.

Tracey — thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

What an amazing woman Becky is! I'm absolutely voting for her.

Susan Bearman said...

kellydavio — thanks so much for recognizing her amazingness and for voting.

Rebecca Michelle said...

Please vote for me!!!

Susan Bearman said...

Becky — still working on it for you! I just sent out a request to my fabulous blogging group (Chicago Moms Blog and the SV Moms Group) as well as to the wonderful Mother Writers! on SheWrites. We'll see what comes.

Doreen McGettigan said...

What an amazing opportunity for your daughter! I voted. My daughter's found their passions quite early son is 32 and still has no idea what he wants to be!

Susan Bearman said...

Doreen — It is an amazing opportunity. Thanks so much for voting. Here's crossing our fingers that our boys find their passions, too.