All posts in Good Choice Bad Choice

Follow your passion … within reason

Ann Loyola

Ann Loyola

We’ve all heard about Fashionistas and some of us may even have one in the family. These people are easy to identify because their need to wear the hippest trends always trumps what is sensible. Catching a flight? Wear gravity-defying heels. Skiing? Throw on a fur coat (faux or not). Grocery shopping? Gucci sunglasses and snakeskin gloves. Unless they fall off their heels and knock someone down, Fashionistas provide a harmless source of amusement.

On the other hand, Passionistas are getting on my nerves. We’ve all heard their seductive cajoling: “Find your passion” or “Chase your passion” or “Be passionate about your passion.” We’re further told that work isn’t work when you’re passionate about your work (huh?) and that we have the opportunity to pay passionate people a lot of freakin money to find out what we’re really passionate about.

Passion schmassion. Passion can be brilliant when first pursued and explored but with time it can lose its eyes and fluffy tail. (See The Velveteen Rabbit).  Don’t get me wrong. I believe in the pursuit of happiness and meaningful existence. It just seems to me that we’ve taken a good thing – passion – and turned it into yet another way to measure our shortcomings.

One-track passion can erode all too easily if the rest of the garden is left untended. This ubiquitous lecturing on passion should be expanded to include the surrounding soil in which we plant the bloom.

I consulted with global experts and among all of the well-intentioned, incredibly intelligent people that I found pontificating on Google, two people without college degrees and somewhat notorious pasts nailed it down for me.

Before I reveal this life-changing tip about passion, let me share some of the other messages I found:

  • Start the day early and end it late. If you’re sleeping, you’re wasting time.
  • Always have your passion on your mind. Always.
  • Surround yourself with your passionate work. Bring it home with you, too.
  • Don’t be polite. Be passionate (which apparently isn’t polite).
  • Be dedicated, hard-working, focused and willing to fail.
  • Talk about your passion and surround yourself with like-minded people.
  • Bore people with your passion.

I suppose there are little golden kernels in all of those tips along with an unhealthy dose of guilt-inducing mandates.  There should be some acknowledgement that a perpetual spring of motivation would have to nurture this flaming impolite passion. Or can we be allowed to accept that passions can rest, sleep, multiply or change over time and THAT’S OKAY.

In every case, there is one requirement for leading a sincerely passionate life.

Paul McCartney and John Lennon said it best. All you need is love.
Love your dog. Love your partner. Love the view of the Tetons. Love a breath of fresh crisp air. Love yourself, muffin top and all. Love is meant to be planted, shared, and spread. If you keep digging in the same spot, all you’ll get is a hole.

Hearts have a crazy capacity to beat and beat, on and on without much instruction from us. It’s only right that we repay such single-minded loyalty from a ball of muscle by opening our hearts to all of the beauty around us in a decidedly unsingle-minded way.

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Help us keep broken hearts beating

Ann Loyola

Ann Loyola

Do you prefer to have a heart that keeps beating? If not, keep surfing because what I have to say is of no interest to you.

Let’s get straight to the heart of the matter: warm-hearted people joined our Hospital Foundation campaign to raise over $38,000 for a new Zoll defibrillator for our local ambulance service. This is a vitally important unit to support emergency cardiac care. Thank you to everyone who helped us achieve this portion of our Keep it Beating fundraiser. You are truly and I don’t mean the candy.

If you have a soft spot in your heart for Emergency Rooms (and really, who doesn’t? Especially if you have young children) you can shore up your investment in life by donating toward the purchase of an additional cardiac monitor for our ER. Different from the Zoll defibrillator that rides in the ambulance, the cardiac monitor hums along right next to our ER patient, transmitting vitals to the central nurses’ station for continual supervision. It’s a good thing. It follows your heart, among other essential organs like lungs.

Our goal is to have this type of monitor next to each ER exam bed and we just need one more to reach the goal, so we’re coming to you with heart in hand. Consider making a donation of any amount to help us heal broken hearts.

Well, this is kind of a fun exercise using the word “heart” in multiple ways but if I go too far with this, you may get heartsick and exit in a heartbeat, which would be heartless of you.

Instead, open your heart and join in the kind of campaign that everyone with a heart should care about: Keep it Beating.

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Good Choice, Bad Choice: Things that go THUMP in the night

Ann Loyola

Ann Loyola

Anyone can come up with at least one thing that wakes them up in the middle of the night. Barking dogs, thunderstorms, nightmares and so on.

I recently had an unusual wake-up call at 5:15 a.m. when I opened my eyes to a sudden painful scrunching in my left chest area. Not wanting to disturb the peaceful slumber of the two cats and husband beside me, I told myself to breathe calmly, deeply, and (hopefully) continuously. I soon felt a mighty thump in my chest, a release of the squeezing feeling and a burst of warmth flowing to the ends of my toes and fingertips.

So I rested there for about an hour, telling myself to relax relax relax, there was nothing to be concerned about, no need to elbow my husband or nudge the drooling cats off the side of the bed. After all, it was highly unlikely that I was having a heart attack of any type because – well – because I don’t have heart attacks. Then I started ticking off the facts of my basic profile:

  1. I’m 54. Certainly old enough.
  2. Overweight? Check.
  3. Exercise regularly? No.
  4. Family history of heart disease? Yes.
  5. Any chronic issues that could negatively impact my heart? Yes, lupus can affect heart tissue.

That’s five out of five. What would an intelligent person do at this point of realization?

I decided to ignore all of the medical information about heart attack symptoms that I know very well because I’m a healthcare marketer so it’s my job to tell people to get immediate medical assistance if there’s even a miniscule chance that they’re having a heart attack. I fell into the high percentage pool of people who think that it would be terribly embarrassing to call 911 or be driven to the ER, only to discover that the problem was a panic attack or heartburn. After all, what could be worse: dying of a heart attack or having a doctor tell you that you’re not having a heart attack? Ummm …

Anna Gunderson PA-C chastised me gently but thoroughly during my clinic appointment at 10am that morning, reminded me that “time is muscle” and that I should have come to the ER via driver or ambulance, and by the way, shouldn’t I know better?

At the end of the day, my lab tests, an EKG and chest X-ray indicated that I hadn’t suffered a cardiac event. My rheumatologist suspected pericarditis brought on by systemic lupus. While I felt somewhat relieved, I was also smacked with the reality that I could have a heart attack and that in fact, many of my friends and acquaintances could have a heart attack at any moment and need to have their lives saved by the very people with whom I work.

I’m making a donation today to our hospital foundation’s campaign to raise funds to buy a Zoll defibrillator unit for our ambulance and a cardiopulmonary DASH monitor for our E.R. I discovered that last year alone, our current E.R. DASH monitor system assisted 126 people in cardiac distress and almost 500 people with respiratory ailments.

Please consider supporting this campaign for acquiring this essential equipment and who knows? It just might save your life.

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