This I Believe

Kelli Agodon - Kingston, Washington
Entered on July 9, 2007

I believe in passion. I believe in trusting its whispers and following the inklings felt during a walk or a lifetime.

Once I worked for a large corporation where I became someone else. She was beautiful and well-dressed, but she was so sad. I had traded my passion for a large paycheck. I believed the money would better serve me. And my passion for writing? Well, that was just a luxury.

I was six months from being fully-vested when I escaped, I mean “resigned.” My co-workers thought I was crazy. Not only I was leaving without full stock options, but I was also selling my house and moving to a small town, a ferry ride away. What will you do over there? was a question I heard again and again. I’ll find out, I’d say.

At my new home, I became accomplished at doing nothing. I was a practiced bald-eagle gazer, a proficient lollygagger. My resume grew to include “expert beachcomber” and “skillful daydreamer.” After a couple months of what I call “a relaxing thoughtfulness,” my passion, the one I had pushed away, returned. I was writing again, poems, essays, stories. All that energy I had once given to my job, I was giving to my life. No, I wasn’t making as much. My husband and I worried one less paycheck would do us in. Would we starve? Lose the house?

Could we survive on his paycheck and my writing? A surprising realization of yes appeared in our well-worn shoes.

For several years, I had thought I couldn’t afford to quit the job I didn’t like, but what I learned was that I couldn’t afford not to. Someone recently told me that when I said no to my passion, I was saying no to a higher power, to the universe, to God. So I try to say yes more, even when I’m afraid I may fail and will have to tell the world that I’m not perfect, not even close. But most of the time, it does work out. God shows up, the universe realigns, and a higher power feels a little closer to earth.

I believe passion is my compass and while the fancy, shiny world around me can still sometimes send my arrow spinning, I have learned to become that proficient lollygagger again and listen to what whispers inside me. Sometimes things are quiet. Sometimes, it takes awhile to hear what speaks.

This year is the tenth anniversary of my leap of faith over the water to this seaside town. Over the years I’ve made mistakes, I’ve tried to follow another’s path instead of my own. And while I’m not as well-dressed as the woman I became at my old job, I believe I’m thousand times more beautiful inside. I know happiness. I know “regret” is a word I have little use for. I’ve connected my compass with my passion and unexpectedly, it made a new world, a new word: compassion—for others and for myself.