“But then they danced down the streets like dingledodies, and I shambled after as I’ve been doing all my life after people who interest me, because the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a common place thing, but burn burn burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue center light pop and everybody goes, ‘Awww’…”
I connect to what Jack Kerouac’s character says in this excerpt from On The Road because I feel like a rambler. Generally speaking, I am always ready to sign up for a new experience with new people in a new place. And if during that expedition I find myself caught up with people who do what they do in a way that exudes a contagious energy and dedication, I want to get sucked into their vortex of commitment and contentment. I want to move further into their world so that their singular focus might rub off on me and lend me it’s guiding force.
I have had some rockin’ good times getting swept away by other people’s passions. And for a while I would try to match their fervor, but inevitably, once the adrenaline ebbed, I would be left feeling inadequate and depleted. I could never maintain their level of intensity for an activity that they loved, one that served as the pulse for their being.
And this is what I’m starting to piece together: I don’t have to manically jump into other people’s passions, hoping it will spark an unknown interest within me. If I make room for my own passion to develop, the zeal will come with it. For me the first step is going to be to get a job that will sustain me with the energy, time, and money that I need to further explore some bubbling interests.
*Kerouac is known as one of the writers of the 1950s Beat Generation who focused largely on pushing against the social norms of their time. The book charts the travels of a group of men across the United States. Along the way, they pick up different friends of friends and experience the underbelly of many of America’s cities. I read this book during the month of May for three straight years. As friends were graduating from college and taking off on their own adventures, On The Road let me pretend I was with them as they set out.