Suddenly Discovering New Passions

Suddenly discovering new passions in Glencolumbkille, Donegal, Ireland
Glencolumbkille, Donegal, Ireland. Photo by Clarice Dankers.


I’ve been thinking about changes a lot recently, especially in regard to suddenly discovering new passions.

This is a bit surprising considering that I will be turning 65 at the beginning of April.

I’ve been a technical editor and writer for 12 years now and before that a university writing instructor. For most of my adult life my passion has been learning and sharing what I learn with others. A few years ago I realized that my underlying why, the thing that motivates everything I do, is self-empowerment through learning.

This means I’ve mostly read nonfiction how to and self-improvement books (yes, I’m one of those), books on brain-based learning, on spirituality, all in the effort to figure out what it’s all about.

This also means that I’ve read very little fiction–other than all of the Harry Potter books (several times!) and the first three books of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. This doesn’t make me sound like much of an intellectual, I guess, but I love stories that take “real” people from one world into another. It all started in gradeschool, I think, when I went through the back of a wardrobe with Lucy and stumbled into snow-covered Narnia.

You can understand why, then, I was so surprised by suddenly discovering new passions for writing fiction and poetry. 

Especially since I haven’t even tried to do anything of the sort in at least 30 years.

The impetus for this was a songwriting retreat I went to in Glencolumbkille, Donegal, Ireland last October. The retreat was sponsored by Matt Meaghan, a friend of mine in Portland, Oregon, who is a wonderful singer/songwriter. I love to sing, but I don’t play a guitar and I’ve never tried to write a song before. I decided to join the retreat, though, because it was a great way to connect with a nice group of people and to visit Ireland for the first time.

What I ended up doing was writing the lyrics to two songs and the beginnings of two short stories. One of the songs expresses my longing to find a home. I didn’t know this was going to happen when I curled up on my bed with a notebook on my lap. Somehow, though, ideas just started flowing through me.

Some Roads

Some roads lead to freedom
Some roads lead to glory
Some roads lead to hell
Some roads have no story.

Some roads lead in circles
Some roads never start
Some roads have no memory
And some roads have no heart.

This road I’m on is my road
It can be no other’s.
We walk our roads alone
Yet sometimes come together.

Your story and my story
Have blended with each other.
Take my hand and for today
We’ll walk this road together.

Some roads are made of grass
Some roads are made of stone
Some roads lead in circles
And some roads lead us home.


Has anything like this happened to you? Have you ever had the experience of suddenly discovering new passions–at any age? What happened?