The fluctuation of passion


Fluctuate /ˈflʌktʃʊeɪt/
Rise and fall irregularly in number or amount. 


We all have things we deem to be personal passions in various aspects of our lives. You may have strong passions regarding your work or study: equal rights, innovation, or training and education. You may be passionate about your lifestyle: fitness, healthy eating, or mindfulness. Your values and beliefs may pertain strongly to your passions: religion, faith, family, equality, or freedom of speech. Your hobbies and use of free time may demonstrate your passions: literature, crime, gaming, journaling, or art. Passions may further extend outside of your personal realm: world hunger, climate change, domestic violence, or animal welfare. 

Many of our passions surface at a young age and withstand time to remain with us; whereas others may come to fruition later on in life, but likely continue to persist with similar fervency. Whatever your passions may be, and however you express or engage with them, they are a fundamental component of who we are, how we see ourselves, and how others might perceive us.

When thinking down these different avenues, you will likely have a variety of your own passions spring to mind. But why? What defines something in your life as being a step above other things, to the extent that you deem it a passion? Likely, it is something you really enjoy or feel very strongly about. But what else? Is it something you spend money on? Something you always want to tell people about? A thing you dedicate time to? 

This is what has really got me wondering.

I like to think I have a variety of things I am internally very passionate about, and which I then often express or engage with externally. On a more global scale: animal welfare, mental health and education are my passions. On a work level: psychology, health, research, and continued learning really fall into my passion areas. Personally: forensics and literature are huge passion areas of mine. I thought long and hard about why I deem these things to be passions. What is ‘required’ for something to be a passion? I began to feel a little uneasy and uncertain. I would even go so far as to say I felt my identity was jeopardised…

That probably sounds quite drastic but let me explain. 

I have been an avid reader and literary lover since I learned how to read. This passion has been with me since I can remember and to this day I consider it a very integral aspect of who I am and how I describe myself. Unfortunately, of late, my engagement with reading has dropped off due, predominantly, to time constraints and the reality of my work/study involving reading and writing. Thus, it has been quite difficult to work up the energy and enthusiasm to read for pleasure after having been reading for work or research all day. Once it dawned on me that my leisurely reading time had plummeted, I too commenced a very faint spiral. For me, time commitment plays hugely into why I deem something to be a passion, so when I was no longer able to commit time to reading I wondered whether I could still consider reading a passion of mine. I can assure you, I was just as dumbfounded by how profoundly this impacted my identity. 

The reality is, life is hectic and there are no rules that properly outline what constitutes one’s passion. Passions fluctuate to fit in around the uncertainty of life, but this doesn’t necessarily make them any less of a passion. The importance of a passion is that it is always something to come back to. This is something I have had to relearn, to redefine the way in which I perceive a passion to be held.


Tegan Stettaford

Tegan Stettaford

Hello! My name is Tegan and I joined the Opus team in 2021 as an outlet to escape my PhD writing. I am yet to find my niche category, but you can probably expect pieces about postgraduate life, creativity, psychology, literature and all things cute and fuzzy. Outside of Opus and my PhD, I am also a peer mentor, team leader, tutor, and sessional academic (so you might just see me in class sometime!).