What Reese Witherspoon’s Latest Character Taught Me About Passion

Reese Witherspoon recently starred in Home Again as Alice Kinney, a 40-year-old who recently separated from her husband and moved back to Los Angeles with her two young daughters, hoping for what we could all use sometimes: a fresh start. While the movie is subjectively “good,” sprinkled with all those perfectly engineered moments to make you feel a certain way, there was one insightful line that resonated with me.

One night while celebrating her birthday, Reese and two of her friends are pictured having a relaxed dinner with wine, welcoming a new chapter in their lives. As the glasses of cabernet continued flowing, Reese began reflecting on years prior, leading her to laugh at past failures by saying, “I really do suffer from thinking every creative passion is worthy of career,” or something to that effect.

While the line was delivered casually, with a small giggle and no further thought, it really stuck with me. Reese knew, in retrospect, that particular paths were not meant for her, but acknowledged that graphic design is undoubtedly one of the highest paid designers in the greater Los Angeles area). It wasn’t the intended takeaway of the movie, but it most certainly was for me.

I am a writer by nature. It doesn’t always “come to me” naturally, but most days it does. It is the thing in my life that I am best at; the thing that consistently brings me joy. I also possess a decent eye for photography, an ear for music, and the ability to produce engaging short films. But these things fall more into the “hobbies” category. And yet, I still find myself wanting to make a career out of them.

The moment Reese realized this about herself is the moment I realized it about myself. Passion is in my bones. I want to do everything 150% or not at all. I hope to make a lucrative career out of writing, and I know I have the credentials to back it up. Filmmaking and photography are things I love doing as a pastime, but things I also know I have potential in. Sure, this has only been confirmed by my loved ones and not by an employer or anyone with that background, but it is, in fact, better than no one at all.

This raises many questions: Is passion enough?

Do you need to have measurable success to enjoy your life? Can and should you bring hobbies into the professional realm?

I don’t have the answers to these questions, but I do know this: make it a habit of dreaming of possibility. Dream of a full life. Imagine success in every path you venture out on. What does it hurt? Passion projects are everywhere these days. Versatility is the new norm. A person can be an animal rights activist by day and a singer by night. In light of the global disasters recently, we need a world founded on people with incredible passion. When this becomes the new priority, it encourages an environment of love, community, solidarity, creation, artistry and so much more. Whether the things you do end well or not, do them anyway. Why? What’s the worst that could happen?

Yeah, that’s why.

Featured Image via LiveJournal.

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