I read the title of this thread and wanted to write something deep about my interests and what motivated my interests through life so far. My apologies if it is too long, but hopefully what I wrote may help other people in some way, shape, or form.
I always loved to draw as a child and did so frequently all the way up to college and then again after college. I loved to draw people and sometimes animals. I wanted to capture their "essence" in the drawing itself. There was often intense feeling that went alongside the drawing process, very emotional. Musically, I loved music and enjoyed listening to it, but I failed the music theory screening test in the third grade which would let one join band. I didn't understand music notation at all until college, when I took it upon myself to learn. As a teenager I wanted to learn lead guitar and drumming, but never took it up guitar until college.
I never joined a sports team in school, but I loved to play basketball, baseball, football, street hockey, and bowling with my friends. I wasn't too bad really. I had exercise induced asthma and that kept me from pursuing sports for the most part.
I was placed in advance art classes in third grade. I loved drawing my family and pets and drawing make believe cartoon characters and drawing pictures that told a story. The thing is, I excelled in science too, but it was something that grew on me at a much older age than art did. I took an interest in it in the fourth and fifth grades. Mostly, I loved learning about the different planets in the solar system, and would memorize facts about them. I loved how each one was unique and would dream about seeing them someday, which fueled a brief desire to become an astronaut. I did well on a science and math test and was placed in advanced math and science classes in junior high and did well in all of those classes until about the eleventh grade where things became more theoretical. My As in algebra, biology, and earth science went to Bs in chemistry and physics. I took A.P. biology and got Bs in that too and ended up with a 4 on the test, which was pretty good, so I decided to pursue a dream I had for the last two years of high school, to go to college become a doctor. Not because I was exceptional at science, but because my mom told me she thought I would make a great doctor. I was kind and caring and interested in science. It seemed like a good idea. I took art classes all through high school and I actually struggled quite a bit in deciding between an art career and doctor. There was these sort of aesthetic appreciation for art, life, beauty, and people that fueled this struggle.
During my first semester it became clear that I was not cut out for the rat race that was college. Biology and my goal of becoming a doctor started to lose its appeal as I barely passed my classes the first semester. I started wishing I went for something else, like art instead. I sometimes didn't go to class for reasons I still don't know. I didn't put the time in to study and would just listen to lectures, nake few notes, study the night before the exam. I mean, what should I have expected. I started to dislike my teachers, feeling they graded my written responses too harshly.The second semester was worse, and I ended up not taking 3 out my 4 finals. I essentially flunked out of college. I felft like a huge failure. That was my wake up call.
The college gave me 2 semesters of academic probation and I switched my major to studio art and decided I wanted to be an art teacher instead. I did better in these classes and was enjoying it much more, but I wasn't sure how I was going to get to my future destination. I was having major trouble financially, trying to stay in college and was working close to 40hrs/wk, which affected my grades a little and I would skip class sometimes just to catch up on sleep. I worked in fast food and often wouldn't get out of work until 1-1:30 am. I seemed much better at this job than I ever had at college. It was hands on, the rewards were immediate. Anyways, I ended up getting kicked out after my first semester for not being able to pay the semester's bill in full. I took a semester off.
Then out of the blue, well probably because I realized I didn't want to struggle financially forever, I had this huge drive to become a doctor again and I switched back into biology and retook all my classes. Again, I deceived myself into thinking I would become the perfect student, and I fell short of my expectations, but I ended up passing all my retakes, which gave me new hope. The rest of college was a struggle, but my new goal was for me to just pass. If I could just pass, I'd be the first in my family to graduate from college. So I worked crazy hours to pay for college, passed all my classes, and then even started enjoying college a little bit.
To my suprise, I ended up liking my Western Humanities classes. Learning about ancient greece and rome and their art and philosophy was fascinating to me. I didn't excel in these classes either, but I found them interesting. It suddenly became amazing to me how history shaped the society we have today in many ways. It got me interested in history and ideas, something I was never really into. It opened my mind in a whole new way. But it brought in further anxiety, especially when I took sociology. I began to feel like a victim of society's ills, like poverty and lack of opportunites and began to deeply reflect on my family for the first time and saw they too were shaped by unseen forces and conditions. We were all products of that. As I passed the blame onto society, I stopped being upset with my family as much for not being able to help me financially with college and for all the problems they had, because I felt they were victims too. I started reading Marx, Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, Tolstoy, Thoreau, for the first time. That was stuff I never thought of reading before. I always just preferred to read Stephen King novels and the like. Life took on a whole new dimension.
Over time the novelty of the ideas all wore off as I got my first job working in a hospital laboratory and started a family. But, I strive to follow my personal philosophies and my heart in life. I refuse to rely on other people, preferring to work hard for everything I have, but I now know how to enjoy the little things in life that bring me joy; my wife and kids, my friends and family, and good meals and family gatherings, and trying new things out, spending time in nature, learning new skills, enjoying quiet time alone, helping my kids grow individually, working on my house, my car, and my yard. I even still draw portraits for people and as soon as I can save enough recreational money, I would love to do some quick studies at an atelier. That would be awesome.
Its amazing really, when I think about it. My love for art, fueled a love and appreciation for life and then fueled a desire to understand it and then to just enjoying life and trying to live it to its fullest. It is so precious. I don't feel anything I did was ever a waste, it was a learning experience, even it was difficult.