Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.


What Next?

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Bavarian Death Cake of Love,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Linux,PERL,Personal,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:34 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Life is about passion.

Tomorrow, there will be a post that links to an article about meeting someone in a coffee shop. No, I haven’t met someone! Rather, it’s an article about how to meet someone. I tend to associate that sort of thing with passion. The passion of need, of possession. Of two becoming one. But, I have to be honest, my idea of passion has always included more than that.

Okay, sure, you’re thinking “Hey, a divorced, middle-aged, white guy who makes a living by being geekier than the average geek survives cancer and thinks he’s suddenly qualified to ramble on about passion”, right? Well, it’s not that. I’ve been hurting for something to be passionate about since the sixth grade. Oh, I get obsessed with things, sure. Some small, obscure subject will fascinate me for a few weeks or months and I’ll go through a cycle of knowing as much as I can about whatever it is before it bores me and it becomes something that gathers metaphorical dust in the attic of my mind, if I’m lucky. If I’m not lucky, it gathers actual dust on my coffee table. This is how I account for my owning both the complete, original John Byrne run of Alpha Flight, the collected Prisoner, the Dune Encyclopedia and Space: Above and Beyond. It’s also how I learned Perl and Linux and wrote plugins for WordPress. That same cycle is how I learned about survival, security, self-defense, koi, philosophy, and just about anything else interesting that I know. But, none of it really lasts. It’s just a flash of white-hot passion, then it’s gone.

What I long for, what I’ve always longed for, is something that makes me feel passionate forever. And, yes, I thought I had that when I was married, but, well, it turned out that passion was misplaced. So, now I wonder if all of it was misplaced. If it was all a useless, empty quest to find passion that is impossible to grasp. Before I met my ex-wife, I felt that passion about my work, but, after losing a job that was my life, I discovered work was just a job. So, now, I’m left searching, seeking, hunting that elusive passion which seems so slippery.

So, in spite of what you’ll read in this space tomorrow, I don’t ever want to sink all that passion into a person, of either sex, again.  And, any thing or activity that I allow myself to be passionate about again will have to be something that can’t be taken away from me.  Work comes and goes.
But writing…  Well, if I were to lose this blog, this laptop that I’m writing from, I could still write.  A cheap notebook and stub of a pencil stolen from Ikea is enough.  The words, the hammering out of the words, sentences, paragraphs, that takes no special tools, only, well, the passion.  So, too, God.  Even fewer tools to seek God.  I can find His presence anywhere, anytime.  Again, what matters is the passion for the spiritual connection, the seeking God’s presence.  But, how?  What to write?  How to find God?  What step to take next?

Who knows?  I suppose I’ll find out if I keep after it, that search for passion.  So, dear readers, what makes you light up with that passion for living?  What gets you out of bed in the morning?

Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"When written in Chinese, the word 'crisis' is composed of two characters - one represents danger and the other represents opportunity."


  1. Jim, you pose an interesting question. I’ve only had one sustainable passion during my life and that is for poetry. I’ve got a book of poetry in every room of my house (including the loo). There are poems/sonnets that I love so much I’ve committed them to so deep a memory that I’m sure I will remember them in the afterlife. There are also those poems that make my toes curl, make me weep (Like Edgar Allen Poe’s Annabelle Lee or Edwin Arlington Robinson’s Richard Corey) and those that turn the corners of my mouth into a smile.

    I have a heartfelt love for my family, my dogs and special moments and people in my life. But my passion is poetry. Sorry for the long comment.

    Comment by Jenn — 5/22/2008 @ 8:13 am

  2. The compensatory response is typically responsible for loss of passion. The human body seeks homeostasis in all things, even emotional responses. It is common to have passion about something and to lose it later – especially in romantic relationships. There is nothing wrong with finding many things during ones life to be passionate about, but I do think the key to one life-long love might be an ability to change things just enough and often enough to keep them new and unrecognized by the physiological responses of the body.

    I personally have many passions, some of which I can fulfill now – like ALWAYS learning something new, getting a college degree, and my art – and some which must wait for less rainy days, like traveling the world. A romantic relationship with another person has too many confounding variables, and I find more and more that I am really ok without it. What gets me out of bed every morning is a sore back, but that’s probably not what you meant! 🙂

    Comment by Cheri — 5/22/2008 @ 11:16 am

  3. Jenn, no need to apologize. I was, after all, hoping for comments. Besides, when you do find something to be passionate about, I don’t think you should ever apologize for it.

    And, Cheri, one day I hope to be as comfortable without a romantic relationship as you seem to be. That day, however, is not quite today.

    Comment by the Network Geek — 5/22/2008 @ 2:48 pm

  4. Reading this post has been interesting. Before I read it I would have said I’m passionate about photography, about sharing my vision of Houston that other people don’t see. This has not been a life long passion, but instead a more recent one and while it is not my day job, it does get me out of bed when I’m heading to festivals, photo shoots or meetups.

    But now I have a sneaking suspicion that I a little hidden part of me is waiting for my true passion, sharing my life with that one special someone. And now I have to wonder how long I am going to keep that little part of me hoping for something that may never happen. I’ve been working in recent months to try to let that part go. I guess to get to where Cheri is. Maybe I’ll make it one day.

    Comment by laanba — 5/24/2008 @ 1:15 pm

  5. Well, I’ll tell you this, when I was married, having a wife and a child on the “lease-to-own” program really could motivate me to go do things I didn’t want to do. Like work and pay bills. But, since being freed from that particular cage (not marriage in general, mind you, but that one in particular), I’ll frankly admit that I’ve floundered a bit. And, for several years, every time I think I’ve got my feet under me, something else comes along and throws me off my stride, like, say, cancer. So, other than my dog, I don’t have all that many ties to the world that motivate me to be particularly useful or productive. I guess that’d be the downside of unconditional love from both my faithful companion and my friends. Boo Hoo, poor me! 😉

    Comment by the Network Geek — 5/27/2008 @ 3:27 pm

  6. Capturing a moment of time that is too beautiful to express with words… unfortunately, the moment is usually lost in translation from eyes to paper. But I try anyway.

    Comment by Kristie — 5/29/2008 @ 3:49 pm

  7. Yep, I hear you Kristie. All my fiction sounds brilliant in my head and reads like garbage when I put it on paper. Then again, I may not be the best judge…

    Comment by the Network Geek — 5/29/2008 @ 4:14 pm

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