I am a member of my local young professionals organization (www.facebook.com/ypmac or http://www.twitter.com/ypmac1). It’s a great opportunity to meet and mingle with other professionals that are my age, share my interests and are dealing with my same hurdles. Our group hosts lunch-and-learn events every-other-month and today’s featured lunch speakers was Marci Penner (www.twitter.com/marcipenner), director of the Kansas Sampler Foundation (www.kansassampler.org). She has an unmatched enthusiasm for protecting and promoting rural Kansas and she’s realized the value that can be found in the state’s rural young professionals. As young professionals in the semi-small town of McPherson, the member of our young professionals group share her determination to keep small-town Kansas alive and well so we asked her to share ways we can help keep our communities alive. During her presentation, Marci asked us to share our passions with her and the group. Now there’s something you don’t get asked very often. You can recite your name, occupation, email address and phone number but can you, at a moments notice, explain what makes you tick, what occupies your time and what makes you excited to get out of bed in the morning.
Maybe it is work and family but likely there is something else you’ve found you don’t mind sinking a little time into.
Her question was intended to lead us into a larger conversation about why we do what we do and why we have all chosen to live and work in rural Kansas. But our individual responses to her request caught my attention. Many of the professionals in attendance had to think about their passions. It seems they have become so wrapped up in work, family, kids, housework etc. that they hadn’t maintained a hobby or passion that was just theirs. I understand, life gets a little busy and time slips away.
With no kids to occupy my downtime, my husband and I are both very fortunate to have been able to retain our passions. His being all things football – officiating and watching – sports in general and poker. Mine are running, reading and friends. I think we both have to add desserts to that list- guilty pleasure!
Marci, being the knowledgeable lady that she is, has come to realize that passions evoke energy and enthusiasm from people, two things that really can’t be artificially created. Becoming involved in your community can often be as simple as falling back on your passions. Find what makes you happy and turn that into an opportunity to get involved, be in with an existing organization or as a catalyst for a new venture. It’s a simple way to get involved but engagement is often contagious and once you’re in, it’s hard to live life without those connections.
As a resident of rural Kansas, I cherish those opportunities to be involved and shape my community. I also value my passions and the connections they have helped me create. Passions help make each of us unique and help us to enjoy life in our own little way. So find your passion and get involved.