Tuesday, December 18, 2012

the one

Sometimes, you find the one.

When you find yourself at a crossroads in life, searching for a place, or opportunity, or perhaps a person -- sometimes you find the one.  The search can be long and weary, as you visit, and examine, and think over one option after the next.  As they pass by your consideration, some seem a far-out chance, and others might not seem so bad after all.

But occasionally, for no explicable reason at all, you stumble across it.  Suddenly, all other possibilities pale in comparison, because this -- this feels right.  A calm excitement fills you; a peace, a joy.  And you know you've found it.  You see yourself in that apartment, curled up on the couch, waking up in the morning, stumbling to your door at 3 in the morning after a fantastic night.  You see yourself at that job, satisfied, achieving, enjoying, growing.  You see yourself with that person, cozying up side by side, smiling through tears, taking adventures, loving and being loved....

Monday, December 3, 2012

On: a productive Sunday

Today was, most likely, the most productive single day I've had in months.  I managed to wake up around 11:30am -- impressing myself both by waking up to the single alarm I had set for that time, and because I had been up til nearly 4am after a wonderful late night out for salsa and bachata.  Thus, in the still-early afternoon, I ventured out to the nearest mall containing a JC Penney and had a surprisingly successful bra shopping experience.  Upon getting back home, I cooked and ate dinner, then started in on laundry, including long-overdue bed sheets.  While the sheets were in the dryer and a load of clothes in the washer, I went out and got my grocery shopping done, which was also overdue.  After once again returning home, I retrieved and folded up the bed sheets and moved the other load to the dryer, then later retrieved that one as well.

I have long internally chastised myself to a degree for the many weekend days during which I accomplish little if anything of use.  Not that I believe every weekend should be as packed with chores and errands as today turned out to be, but I have often found myself thinking I would feel more satisfied if I had gotten something done during the day.  And then if I had, I would consequently feel that I had better "earned" some sort of lazy or fun activity that evening.

So at the end of this day, I pulled some ice cream out of the freezer and watched half of a favorite romantic comedy on Netflix.  This was delicious and enjoyable (respectively) for sure, yet... I realized I didn't feel as contentedly satisfied as I had hoped.  Yes, I am definitely proud of myself for all the necessary things I crossed off the to-do list today.  I certainly think I earned movie time tonight, too.  But, sadly, I still feel an emptiness from my day.  I realized that over the whole day, I had only spoken a few words to the cashier at the mall and a fellow shopper at Safeway.  And as busy as I was, a bit of loneliness still crept up on me.

I'm not sure if it's a flaw -- to not be able to spend a day doing things on my own without feeling at least a little lonely.  I know I can mostly hide it from myself with some distraction or other (most likely the boundless lands of Facebook, and Netflix, and catching up on email...).  But I can feel myself quietly longing for companionship; for the mood lift that comes from interacting with a good friend; for the comfort, care, and peace that (I imagine and so hope) comes from having someone to come home to at night.

Monday, June 25, 2012

And how was your weekend? (windows on life through an apartment search in another city)

Sometimes, life is ridiculously, even hilariously, unfair.

[On Friday evening I spent an hour waiting for Megabus while an intense thunderstorm gradually drenched me and the rest of us in line, huddled together beneath a railroad bridge.]

Being in the same boat brings people together.

[We started chatting with those around us -- the same folks we usually ignore as we all mind our own business waiting in line in normal circumstances.  We asked those who had prepared to share their umbrellas, complained together, screamed when the wind gusted and umbrellas blew inside out.  I saw one guy who lent a sweatshirt to a girl who looked particularly chilly.]

The crappy stuff is (usually) temporary.

[The bus finally came, and we all struggled to show our tickets on our phones as the rain continued and got on.  I sat in wet clothes for the three-hour ride, yes, but eventually all of my clothes were put in the dryer and I got to take a hot shower.  The important part was that my electronics -- both my laptop and my smartphone -- and their associated gadgets (power cords) were still perfectly functional.  See?  No lasting damage.]

Care and companionship go a long, long way.

[I was accompanied throughout the two days of apartment hunting by my boyfriend, who put up with waking up crazy early, sacrificing eating on a normal schedule, walking all over the place in the 90+ degree heat, a couple of dead ends, the Metro frustrations, and overall exhaustion -- and never complained even once.  He was patient and helpful, in good spirits, and even carried my ridiculously heavy bag for me sometimes.  What more could I ask?  He made my experience infinitely better than it would have been had I been running around on my own.]

So does being friendly.

[I am often pretty shy about contacting and meeting people I don't know, even more so when they aren't friend-of-a-friend connections.  Naturally apartment searching puts me in the situation of needing to do this quite a number of times.  Therefore, it was both comforting and refreshing for me when I met with people who were simply friendly, good-natured, and very helpful.  Yes, they were trying to market something to me, but I never sensed an act in their demeanor or words.  I appreciated this very much.]

Sometimes, relaxing and lounging are valid and enjoyable ways of spending time.

[It's easy to debate with myself about whether I'm being lazy if I'm lying around doing nothing productive whatsoever.  I do believe life should include a balance of activities -- or maybe that's just what I have found makes me happiest, most satisfied, and least bored.  But let's face it: our bodies have a limit.  After a long day of trekking in the heat, I thoroughly enjoyed relaxing with dinner, beer, boyfriend, and stumbling on a good movie on TV.  Balance achieved.]

Sometimes, you make mistakes or things don't go as planned... but these are not the end of the world.

[On Sunday I had intended to wake up around 10 or 11am.  This would have given me enough sleep, but still a good block of time to check out more places before catching the bus home.  Guess what?  My phone froze overnight, and none of my several alarms went off.  I woke up just before an open house I had really hoped to attend.  So there was nothing I could do but try to go later.  I did, and it was too late.  Maybe the scenario could have been avoided, but I did the best I could to work with the situation as it turned out.  My best wasn't successful, but I can't get everything right in life, so I find no need to berate myself, lament it, or dwell on regret.  I just need to move on to the next step.]

Sunday, May 20, 2012

music fixing me

The Sunday evening is waning in concert with its sunshine, and I'm left in my usual slightly incomprehensible mood.  The walk home is short and the scenery distraction enough that I needn't really trouble myself with figuring out any thoughts -- or having much of them at all, really -- and once I get home, the perfect distraction is a quirky Jane Austen love story encapsulated in a two-hour movie.

The two hours end and I'm left with the warm fuzzy feeling for which I'd hoped.  Time in the real world keeps on going, though; it's now 9pm and I haven't had any real sort of dinner.  Orchestral music and proper English conversation are still in my head from the movie; while these are lovely, they're something of a fantasy world, and I need something to bring me back to the routine.

Pandora is the best bet, I figure.  I fire it up to see what my eclectic little indie rock/dance station can throw at me, then walk barefoot to the kitchen.  As I make a sandwich, I get lucky.  Whatever song has started playing first is the perfect movie soundtrack song for my life at the moment.  The words don't matter because the mood is right.  And I can take a moment of the bittersweet, and I can smile, and I sit down with the window wide open to the cool night air and eat and drink water.

And I can make jokes, and say "I miss you" with a smile, because missing someone means you know it felt good to be with them, and I can reach out because I'm lucky enough to have good friends.  And then I can dance in my chair because the next song is that good.

And I'm on my way -- not without looking back, but with living it all.

Monday, May 7, 2012


...as explained in two songs, from my bus ride home tonight.

What touches me most about this one: how celebratory, how utterly joyful his voice is when he sings, "I am in love with you!"

Sunday, April 29, 2012

how one merengue made my night

I've started going out for salsa nights again recently, after having nearly abandoned it in my social dancing life what with all the swing and blues dancing I've been doing over the past couple years.  I love the atmosphere and usually enjoy the DJing at Brasil's, but I'm still trying to figure out a pattern as to which nights typically have good attendance and good dancers.

This past Friday turned out to be a little emptier than I had hoped for, so I was panning the floor in between dances to seek out who might be good to ask next (as opposed to the busier nights where I might barely be able to escape the floor to grab a cup of water -- not always such a bad thing).  Towards the end of the night, my new merengue obsession song came on.  I wasn't about to miss out on it, so I figured a good bet might be to ask a lead with whom I had danced a nice bachata early in the night.

Turned out he was pretty good at merengue too.  Then halfway through the song he said, "You know, I don't usually like merengue very much."  I was a little surprised -- he clearly wasn't clueless on how to dance it.  And I felt complimented since I took this to mean he was enjoying it more with me.  So I told him this was one of my favorite songs, and he responded, "I can feel it."  I pretty much glowed inside at this.  To me it meant I had made a connection with him, even though we had never met or danced before.

I was all smiles and happiness as we finished out that song and danced the next one too.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

dreamed of dancing

For years, the only dreams I have been able recall when I wake up are disturbing, uncomfortable, or unsettling somehow.  I wouldn't call them nightmares because they aren't directly scary, but they do leave me wishing for someone to comfort me when I wake up -- or at least trying to push them out of memory as soon as possible.  I often wish friends "sweet dreams" when I say goodnight because of how rarely I experience the same in my own sleep.

Yet, yesterday morning, I awoke from a beautiful, strong moment in a dream.  I was dancing with a partner on a wide open smooth wood floor.  The atmosphere held a feeling of lightness and flow.  Others may have been there, but they were at the far-off perimeters of the space, their existence muted to my awareness.  I don't know who my partner was, but sensed he was someone meaningful, someone skilled, important to the realm of dancing at large yet also somehow to me.  I felt that while I knew what I was doing, knew how to move with him, it took my special effort and concentration to keep up.  It was an edge which I had been invited to cross, because maybe I could.

The movement was lyrical and sweeping and expressive,  far from that of a quiet close embrace, yet just as emotionally powerful.  I felt a layer of nervousness almost like it was supposed to be there, but greater was the feeling of letting go, being taken by moving to the music with this person.  And I knew that I was reaching it, this level that I felt lucky to have been offered, doubting whether I was worthy.  I was there.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Life companionship

I think I've figured it out.

As I briefly visited yet another precious kitten in the window tonight - this one a lovely white and black - the realization came to me.  If I don't find someone to marry, I'm going to become a cat lady.  And I guess I'll just go out dancing until I'm too old to do it anymore, and every night I'll come home and cuddle with my cats.

This is not to say I'm in a rush.  I'd probably even say I'm in the opposite: there is so much I want to do and try before the (ominous?) step of "settling down".  I get to live on my own schedule, go where I want to, dabble in activities, and so on.  I don't have anyone with whom I need to coordinate everything.

But living alone does get lonely sometimes.  Makes me wish for someone to be around to come home to.  Maybe this just means I can't have everything at once, eh?

Notes from the first milonga of my life

When I was taking the beginner Argentine tango series with Lori and Sam at Sangha Space, they talked about how great the monthly Tango Hop dance is so much that I had to try it.  My schedule finally allowed it this weekend, so I took the train out to Media in time for the intro lesson.  (Figured it's been a month or longer since I finished the lesson series, so I may as well remind myself what was going on.)  At the end of the lesson they tipped us on how a milonga is structured: a sequence of three songs of similar style is followed by a short non-tango clip (someone later mentioned that's the 'cortina') during which you lead your partner back off the floor; then repeat.  So it seems people usually dance the three songs in a row with one partner before switching.

I watched quite a lot, especially as more experienced dancers filtered in over the course of the night.  Many of those who looked like they know what they're doing were probably middle-aged (much more in line with the westie scene than the lindy/blues scene).  Over my first half hour or so of observation, I began to pick out a few who looked like the good leads I might want to dance with, to begin - theoretically - picking up more of this dance by following.  The beginner's fear/respect kept me from asking any myself, but oddly enough, three of them eventually came and asked me to dance.  Maybe I looked lonely sitting by myself sometimes...?

All of them were quite forgiving and even ran through moves that confused me a couple times or paused to show me how to follow something.  I'm sure I was lacking knowledge of many moves (most noticeable to myself being the flicks, I think) but as to actually following where leads were trying to move on the floor, I think I did pretty well.  Many thanks go to all my following practice from blues for this, I'm sure.  One of them did say I was doing well, which was a lovely compliment for me.  Of course I'm hoping I wasn't screwing up following in a way that somehow still fit into the flow - if I start picking up wrong technique, it'll be detrimental...

The music was mostly traditional but a few of the three-song sets (there must be a name for those) were not tango music at all, so this was basically fusion and of course that made me all happy.  A Melody Gardot song and that song Cyclone both made me want to do blues, naturally.  Others sounded like they could work for country two-step?  But I'm probably just ignorant.  Seeing people dancing to the fast tempos was pretty interesting.  I even survived a round of fast songs myself - a whirlwind ride around the floor; have to say the lead was excellent at weaving around everyone, haha.

I met a girl and a guy who I think both have been taking lessons through the Penn Tango club, as well as a guy who lives in Glenside, and I tried to explain to them all what blues dancing is.  Not that I'm ever able to give a simple yet satisfactory explanation or even demo it too well on my own.  They were all intrigued though which was fun (and sometimes I can't help myself telling how much I like it).

A hilarious surprise was seeing a guy I knew from my original salsa days at Take the Lead.  I had NO idea whatsoever that he also did tango, and then when we danced, he was awesome at it!  And he also managed to correct/teach me a number of things.  Love it.

I met another man, Tony, who started telling me about how he's danced tango for so many years, is totally addicted to it, how his style of leading is different and pulls from the follow's footwork, and what it's like when he goes to Buenos Aires to dance: spending five hours on end dancing, and the older ladies are the best follows.  After somewhat intimidating me with this seemingly nostalgic speech he offered to dance the next little set, and he was really incredible.  I have some doubts that I was doing the footwork all correctly, though...  Wish I could see what I looked like following.

People I wish I had danced with: Sam, Godwin (not only because he's experienced and he rotated through the lessons sometimes, but he once tested my following and said something like, "okay you know what you're doing"...hehe), the guy from Glenside, and Josh who I know from blues - although, I think despite how many times I've danced blues or at Jetlag with him, I'm kind of intimidated to try tango as he looks really experienced too!  Anyway: reasons to go back again.  Excited!

Monday, April 9, 2012

things I've learned while living in the real world

Life teaches.  And living on your own, I mean for real (not in college; that's kind of halfway there)*, is kind of a big unknown before you start doing it -- so there is a high concentration of lesson-learning in the beginning.  I realized this applies to general lessons, and to lessons about myself.  I was musing in the shower, so here are a few.

A shower curtain is pretty critical.  Plastic bags cut and tied together will NOT make a very good substitute.

A good friend with whom to laugh and take two-minute breaks at work does wonders on days that drag.  And on days that don't.

Paying for Starbucks drinks with your college dining plan dollars truly rocked.  Now, anything but a straight coffee is expensive.

Being able to leave work at work, and to not feel obligated every single night to be working on some kind of homework or project, is an undeniably AWESOME freedom.
    Follow-up: who says college is the best years of your life?

Showering at night is far less stressful than in the morning, when bus arrival deadlines loom.

Philly is an amazing city for loving good beer.

I like managing my own place to live... but sometimes, it does feel lonely.
     Addendum 1: No way do I want to live alone for my entire life.

Making friends with people who have cars comes in handy.  (I mean real friends, of course, who happen to be kind enough to give you rides.)

Utilities included in rent?  Seriously convenient.

Family is still there for you, loving, teaching, and supporting.  (* This is why I'm not 100% there.  It's still a process.)

The college sleep schedule, um, doesn't exactly work anymore.  It's a little more feasible, though still unhealthy, when you have classes at all different times of the day across the week, and you can show up and in many cases not have to be particularly productive (just hope that you don't fall asleep, if it comes to that).  For a 9-to-5 type of schedule?  Yeah, really not so smart.

It's sadly too easy to lose touch with college friends when everyone scatters geographically and begins busy lives somewhere else.

The (swing/blues) dance community is full of basically the best people ever.  (Westie is seeming pretty good so far too.)  I could go on about this. :)

Two ways to improve your commute:
     1. Move 20 blocks closer to the office.
     2. Take a bus route that operates right on schedule.  So much frustration relieved!

Becoming a local is fun.  The pizza shop guy knows my order every time I walk in.  Albeit small, it's a nice way to feel belonging.

24-hour CVS is the best kind.

Student loan repayments are - shall we say, a little painful?

One reason it's great to live in a city: you can get by, and even access many places fairly reasonably, without a car.  However, then you start discovering places and events a little out of reach without one.  See previous related point.

Sunday, April 1, 2012


My brothers and I had Thomas the Tank Engine model toys and I loved the TV show when I was little. :)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

afterthoughts from The Help

I just finished reading The Help tonight.  As I'm not in a book club (maybe I should be?) and don't know if I'll have anyone with whom to chat about it soon, I figure I'll take down my reactions at least for my own memory later.

Perhaps the strongest emotion I felt woven through this story is love.  I was amazed by the relationship between Aibileen and Mae Mobley.  I'm not sure what builds that bond between a maid and a child that is not her own -- is it the ongoing act of caring for and raising the child that engenders a mother-like love?  Is it the natural innocence, joy, energy that the child has in abundance?  I think I cannot fully understand from my point of view, given that I haven't the experience of being a mother.  Yet at the same time, it was somewhat shocking the way the white mothers in the story generally seemed to be a mix of uninterested in and annoyed by the role of being a mother, or of what was left of it, anyway.  I couldn't help but wonder why they would have children in the first place, if they didn't want to be raising them... but perhaps that's just how women's lives were expected to unfold at that time and/or place.

The love in the friendships among the black community was beautiful, too.  I suppose some of that comes to existence naturally due to the situation -- all being together in the same boat, so to speak.  But they really supported each other, through their church and in individual friendships.

I enjoyed Skeeter's character a lot.  Her peers in the town seemed like empty human beings with surface level lives, spending their days gossiping, playing bridge, being in the League, and getting their hair done.  But Skeeter was a person with her own unique depth: she took notice of her community and surroundings and saw them for what they were; she had her own interests and dreams (and while she respected and cared for her parents, she didn't let them press her into a life path of their choosing); she had immense self-respect (in her interactions and relationship with Stuart, in going forth with her mission of the book despite basically everyone she had been friends with turning away from her).  In other words, she lived true to herself.  And once she put her finger on what she felt was right and necessary to do, she took on the project with diligence, yet with honest respect and care for those involved.

Reading the story definitely enveloped me in a different time and place.  It took me away from the busy, technology-infused world that even my own daily life is, and put me in a town that was mostly its own microcosm in time.  It's funny how that time period seems to be lost to the history textbooks.  We all learn about slavery, civil rights movements, and such.  But the world of the story seemed to be partially functional.  The maids were paid, but still struggled to make ends meet.  They were perhaps treated civilly, yet were viewed at least by some as still a different class of human being, and hence, segregation was the way things ran.  This was set in the south; perhaps the north was already changing more rapidly by then, but I don't really know the history.

I'm going to sound like a reviewer, but truly it was an eye-opening book.  But aside of that, it was touching and emotional as well, because once you get down past all the lines that the people of that time were living by, you can see and feel the beauty of the human relationships: between Aibileen and Minny, Skeeter and Aibileen, Aibileen and Mae Mobley, Skeeter and her mother, Stuart and Skeeter...  And, of course, the entire point is exactly that which Skeeter realized her book was demonstrating.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

and that's pretty much how it is right now

Tory says (1:43 PM):
  i don't even want to have my own kids i think.
  i still have ZERO desire to do that
Friend says (1:44 PM):
  you'll see
  give it 10 years
Tory says (1:44 PM):
  you aren't 10 years older than me
  and what
  who says i won't still be out dancing all the time
Tory says (1:45 PM):
  and drinking beer
  you can't drink when you're pregnant
Friend says (1:45 PM):
  hey, don't you get mad at me!
Tory says (1:46 PM):
  i'm nto
  just putting some logic out there
Friend says (1:46 PM):
  well, you never know
Friend says (1:47 PM):
  but accept that your maternity desires might, just might, naturally arise
Tory says (1:47 PM):

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

a little lost

As I prepared to get in the shower tonight, like I do on every typical night, I noticed once again that I've still got slivers of teal-green nail polish at the tops of both my big toenails.  Those bits of color remain from (no joke) last June or July.  The summer's memories come back for a moment - warmth (a particularly nostalgic one, considering how tired I'm getting of bundling up in heavy clothes and layers these days), sunshine, a new friend with a shared passion, learning to make trips to NYC on my own as I found how much I liked their blues dancing scene.

Accomplishments.  When I realize the steps I made over the summer, the new experiences then that are now under my belt, I feel good.  But as I shower (always a useful time for thinking), I attempt to summarize the big picture.  Where am I, in growing up?

I guess the summary would be that I'm not an adult yet.  Yeah, I'm way past the legal milestones of 18 and 21 years of age.  And more importantly, I have some major things checked off.  I graduated college - it was a hell of a hard time sometimes, but I got through it.  I've been beyond lucky in my internship experiences, always working with wonderful people and learning things, and the icing on that cake was attaining a full-time job to start immediately after graduation.  I have my own apartment now, and right in the location I want, no less.  In no way am I looking past these.  They are major achievements in the game of Life (ha), and sometimes I feel so lucky (for these successes as well as other goodness in my life) that I figure my luck is overdue to run out and something is not going to work out for me soon.

My nature, though, is to analyze, largely including my own thoughts and experiences.  Of late I have been noticing some ways in which certainly I have some adult steps yet ahead of me.  Some are kind of straightforward: find a dentist near where I live so I can start going for yearly checkups and avoid possible awful tooth problems later.  Some are going to require some learning: how to do my taxes, so my dad does not have to do them for me.  Some are going to require some serious habit changes and effort to tackle an issue I have had difficulty with so far: cooking and eating better.

Those are a few concrete to-do/to-learn items.  I am also just beginning to realize that I need to find my balance.  There are so many activities I want to do: new things I want to try, learn, practice, and existing ones I don't want to lose time to fit in.  And amidst this, I want to see friends, or talk with those who aren't local.  This monumental set of desires really can't be accomplished all at once.  Sleep is important, as I have long been aware, but beyond that, I'm starting to feel tired from all the running around trying to do everything.  Relaxation and self time - including learning to be comfortable with time by myself - is key.

Maybe sometimes I need to remind myself I can't do everything at once, or try to start fixing or accomplishing all the steps at the same time.  Life is long, and I have time to work on things, and to try things, and to learn more about what I like and how I want to live.

Monday, February 6, 2012

a new kind of freedom

It's 9:17pm on a Monday night.  In all normal Monday paths in my life these days, I would be, in the next ten minutes or so, getting dressed and ready to head to Powerhouse Blues.  Blues dancing is among the most-loved activities in my life now, and I don't miss the Monday dance for anything but a few very special exceptions.  In fact I am listening to a particularly delicious blues song at this very moment - John Hammond's version of Same Thing - and starting to half-regret the decision...

Today my good friend at work reminded me that we have not gone out for a beer and a nice talk for quite awhile.  We almost waited til tomorrow, but at the last moment decided to hang out today.  We went to a bar I've passed many times on the bus and recently saw claiming to have 20 craft beers on draft.  We had a wonderful, in depth, and honest talk about some shared threads in our lives.  I am happy to have such friends.

So I made it home at 8-something in the evening and realized, man, I am tired.  And hungry.  I am so lucky as to have leftovers to eat this week, the results of my parents' visit and cooking with my mother (a well-versed experienced cook) over this past weekend.  So I microwaved a plate and it was utterly delicious.

While tired, I had been intending on heading to blues at 9:30 as usual.  Then I remembered this week is the once-monthly house party dance held two bus rides away from where I live.  Now, I know I am incredibly spoiled to have merely a 30-second walk to the regular weekly venue.  I am not saying I'm complaining about the change of location.  I merely had - for once - a simple realization and resulting decision: I'm feeling tired, in the mood for relaxing indoors, not for going back out a half hour from when I walked in the front door.  I realized that I don't have to bind myself to a weekly schedule just because the event opportunity is there and because I love it so much.  I realized I can listen to my gut feeling and take a night off, and while I'm lamenting a little bit that I'll now probably go two weeks in between blues dancing (such a painfully long time to wait!), I am okay with this for right now, and I think it will be good for me.

What do you know!  Life is changeable.


Tonight while I was in the shower - which seems to be the location where I do a large portion of my most introspective thinking - I think I figured out the meaning of life.  Kind of.

I believe it all comes down to passion.  Or at least the most important things do.  Everyone is seeking happiness, right?  I mean, it's a basic desire, once we've got stable shelter and food supply, to be enjoying ourselves and feeling happy.  And what do we spend a lot of our daily time doing (to fund said food and shelter)?  A job, of course.  I'm sure many, many people are doing jobs they wouldn't choose, just because they need the money.  But to be happy - not excited all the time, but content, satisfied, purposeful, in good spirits - I believe the ideal is to be doing a job about which you're passionate.  If you care about a purpose, or a product you're providing, or a service you're offering, then you will want to go spend your time on it every day.  You won't be counting down the hours til you can go home because you'll get wrapped up in what you're doing and you won't notice them going by.  And I'm speaking of a full-time job here, but I believe this can extend to college students as well; you aren't getting paid (unless maybe you're past undergraduate level), but if you are able to choose a subject you love, then you'll want to go to class, participate, and do the work given outside of it.

I'm not saying this is easy (and yes I've just painted a pretty rosy world here).  Figuring out a passion might not come early in life, and you might still need college,, or even time afterwards, to really discover a niche out of the endless realm of possible jobs/subjects/purposes in which you feel you belong.  But this kind of passion is one example.

I think people's passions often shine through (also) in realms very different from their jobs.  I have been lucky enough to discover the world of partner dancing - most particularly, blues.  One could call dancing a hobby of mine, but it's really a passion.  The feeling of triad connection between me, a partner, and the music - when all falls best into line - is absolutely unlike anything else for me.  It's physical and emotional expression.  And I know the experience does it for many others, because I meet them at the numerous events I've traveled to, and I see it in those who are teaching the newer dancers, and I see it when I watch others dancing, and I live it in the vibrant community of which I am so happy to be a member.  So another kind of passion is truly loving and feeling alive in an activity, an experience, and sharing that with an amazing community glued together by that common thread.

Passion is evident in your own strongest innate interests, too.  When you find yourself seeking something out, in numerous ways over years of your life, and you can while hours on the never-ending pursuit of learning more, diving deeper into connoisseurship, I'd say it's a passion.  Mine in this example is music.  I played music instrumentally for years, and have long believed that while listening to music can be amazing, it can never compare to the emotionally evocative power of being part of producing the music. It has to be a piece that hits me the right way, but when it does, it's a strength of emotion that can't be put into words.  I lived that passion for many years... and then the activity structure became less interesting and inspiring to me, and it fell out of my life.  Dancing grew to fill that space.  But as I got more into dancing, my musical interests regrew in the form of listening for the purpose of perhaps djing for dancers.  This gave me a whole new perspective and set me on an everlasting search.  I also was lucky enough to meet a friend whose passion and hunger for music that reaches him surpassed mine by a long shot.  I was simply amazed time and again by his desire to find more and not only that, but to share it with me.  He sent me off into another forever search of my own, to find music in the genres I love to listen to.  My musical world has expanded astronomically since, and I could probably spend forever seeking and categorizing and searching for those songs you fall in love with instantly.

But there's more.  I've realized, maybe only just today, that passion can be in the form of love.  Not romantic or physical passion - those are at best fleeting in the picture of life, I think.  When you really simply love somebody, with whatever relationship it may be (family, friend, or "significant other") - it is another passion.  I don't feel necessarily qualified to speak of love in the form of those kinds of relationships particularly, but I have been and am loved.  Love is caring and having concern, wanting the best for someone, giving to them ahead of your own wants and needs, being there for them.  It's not sacrifice and service all the time, but more an ongoing mentality, and a willingness to also give more concretely in those ways.  It's a calm but strong passion.

So passion gives our time purpose, gives us satisfaction in its fulfillment, gives us direction, ways to help others individually and at large, gives us joy and life, makes us who we are.  People are more important than things, so I think love comes first.  All the other kinds help make our lives full.