Passion. Infused.

I am a retired debater. A retired third-speaker, to be exact. Tuesday evenings used to involve ritually being introduced to a topic to which I would be required to passionated defend or renounce. Topics of which I had little background knowledge suddenly became my reason to live. After a half-hour of preparation and an hour of vigorous arguing, my friends and I would while away the evening discussing the finer points of topic. We enveloped ourselves in knowledge; we thirsted for it.

I care about everything. Not so long ago, a friend asked me what I cared for most passionately. I stared for a moment. "Broadly speaking," I began, " I care about healthcare. And education. And...if I only have one option left, infrastructure." But I also care about the environment. And political systems. And quality improvement. And animal welfare. And displaced persons. And deforestation. And historical preservation. And... The list appears to be endless.

A few years ago, my housemate and I curled up on our respective couches, talking away for hours and hours (this is recurring theme and possibly why I never get enough sleep) I asked him what issue he cared about most. He didn't skip a beat. Palm oil. Palm oil? I asked him to tell me about it. And he launched into a well-constructed world-view of why buying products containing palm oil was destroying parts of the environment and habitats of species that are facing extinction. And since that conversation, I've consciously made an effort to read the back of all skin products in the hope of avoiding such calamitous retail purchases.

Some friends of mine are making waves in education. One started a local foundation to support and encourage high school students to reach their potential. Another is building a school in Pakistan. The more they tell me about their work and their drive to make change, the more I find myself expressing the same desire to support those in need.

Other friends have build stronger supports for Aboriginal communities, cancer patients, encouraging women to get into coding, mental health access and awareness, and LGBTIQ rights. Each one of these people has invested hours and weeks and years of their lives into making each of these causes stronger. They've delved deep into the problem and emerged with solutions that they've crafted and pushed, constantly, to enact. The more time we spend together, the more I feel that fire.

Sometimes I feel like I'm a hot cup of water just waiting for the tea leaves of passion to infuse. That I sit here, burning for more knowledge to absorb. But that analogy suggests I'm plain, but energetic, in my interactions with the world. Perhaps it is that people with passion attract each other and help each other build upon their strengths. That the friend who wants to build a school in a disadvantaged part of the world will find creative solutions from the person campaigning for equal marriage rights. Perhaps it is that finding people with an equal amount of fire in their belly, but for a different topic, gives us further fuel to drive our own agendas. Maybe we're a Michelin-star kitchen bringing delectable plates out to the masses.

The problem with caring about everything is that it becomes difficult to focus on just one thing. Even if the passion for healthcare becomes the focus, there are the dreams for equal and equitable access, the desire to create new and quality-improving surgical devices, the need to enrich the patient experience, the ability to harness collect powers to improve quality of care... There are so many things that can be changed. And there are only so many hours in the day to build industry-altering ideas into fully-fledged solutions.

The more places I've lived, the more frames of view I've seen, the more there is to love and appreciate in the world. Every move is like a new debate night - a new realm to invest time and effort into. Sometimes it can seem unproductive to be so invested in everything. But ultimately it enriches my life more than cycling along the straight and narrow. It's time to build some fires.


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