Finding Your Passion, It’s Never Too Late

Finding your passion involves taking risks!

A life without risk, is no life at all!

Finding your passion, great book by Ken Robinson

“When we are in our Element, we feel we are doing what we are meant to be doing and being who we’re meant to be!” Ken Robinson.

Finding your passion? I’ve often wondered why I enjoy Ironman training, or trying to fix plantar fasciitis, and other health issues – now I know!

By the way, you can sign up for FitOldDog’s newsletter, at this link!

FitOldDog's cow

Finding your passion can be expressed in many ways – fortunately we all have more than one. Animals are one of mine, and getting rid of factory farms is another.

I know when I found my passion. I was also fully convinced I’d got it right, 15 years later. It always involved life; animals and plants.

The first event (1970): I was working as a veterinarian, in a country practice in England, with great colleagues. Most of the farmers were friendly and reasonable. The practice was perfect. One night on duty in six. One weekend on duty in six. Everyone shared the load. But I was depressed. I started to look for other employment.

To cut a long story short: I left veterinary practice to take a job in Scotland. I was hired as a Comparative Neuropathologist – I didn’t know squat about it, but I was essentially the only candidate. The pay was terrible, the climate cold, the Scots suspicious of an English vet – we have our history, Scotland and England. I walked into my new boss’s office, where I was to spend the next three weeks, awaiting his return. No instructions, apart from “Use my office,” conveyed by a terse Scottish technician. I could barely understand her Scottish brogue.

Finding your passion. FitOldDog loved Bacteriology.

Finding my passion, a lifetime ago: Thiaminase type I-producing bacilli and ovine Polioencephalomalacia. I published this back in 1974. It was really exciting to work in a Bacteriology lab.

In this unfamiliar, small, dusty, office, I went: The first thing I noticed, apart from the sheep outside, was a jar of tadpoles on the window ledge. “What are the tadpoles about?” I asked the young, female technician. She replied, “Dr. Barlow is trying to see if he can create hairy, shaking frogs!” Um! Interesting. She left, without a further word. I had three (paid) weeks to spend in this office.

I noticed lots of books, boxes of slides, and a fancy microscope. I sat at the scope, within about 10 minutes I worked out how to turn it on (it was a complex, research scope, my first). I picked a box of slides at random, took out a 3″ by 1″ glass slide, put it under the scope, and fell in love with microscopy, again! I’d picked up a section of the brain of a sheep (the pons), stained with Luxol Fast Blue.

I never looked back. I’d found one of my passions in the form of a job. I’d always loved Biology, but to get paid!

The second event (1985): I was working in the lab. I’d been fiddling with our oscillating sphere micro-rheometer. Nick, a physicist, and I had been setting it up for about a year. I wanted to see the effect of reactive gases on mucus viscoelasticity.

Finding your passion: Jeff Bullas's book, blogging the smart way.

Jeff’s course took me to the book by Ken Robinson. Life is about the journey, not the destination.

Mucus (snot to many), is magical stuff. It’s thixotropic – this means that it can both use up and store energy. This gives mucus the ability to flow, clean out your nose and other parts of your body, and to keep most sea-life alive. Mucus goes back a long way. Eons. I won’t get into the details, but I was testing an idea given to me by another physicist/mathematician. Yes! People give us ideas, they are giftsJeff Bullas, in his excellent course on Blogging Mastery, gave me the idea to read the book at the top of this post.

Why don’t you test white noise as the input? “What a great idea!” I thought. I could test many frequencies at one time, without having to step through them, one at a time. The analysis would be interesting, too!

Here’s the interesting part: I was running a big lab, but everyone knew I was on psychological vacation. The problem with being successful in Science (big ‘S’), is that you get sucked away from what you love, into management. Then you never have time for finding your passion. Psychological vacation, in our lab, meant that when I was working on science (small ‘s’), I should only be interrupted with management issues in a true crisis.

Finding your passion. FitOldDog's rheometer magnet wound by ladies making magnets for the space shuttle

Yes! Our rheometer magnet was wound (for free), by ladies winding magnets for the space shuttle. It always takes teamwork, even if you don’t know it. They created a clean magnetic field!

I have no problem delegating or outsourcing, to competent people. They were very competent, and a great team, under Betsy. I sat down at the Faraday cage, and started to tackle the ‘white noise input’ challenge. Basically, it was a computer programming problem, with the computer running a magnet, that jiggled a tiny metal ball around in a tiny glob of ‘snot,’ with the movement captured on a linear diode array (Nick’s brilliant idea). The relationship between waves in and waves out (from the array) were used to generate data and understanding. That’s science (Science is mainly sitting in meetings).

So, I set to work at about 8:00 am. I made good progress, but eventually noticed hunger. I thought, “Probably time to go for lunch.” I soon discovered that everyone had gone home, and it was 9:00 pm.

Kurt Kahl and Bob Scott, great Ironman triathletes, supporting FitOldDog, finding his passion in sports.

Just three old guys? No! Two remarkable athletes, Kurt Kahl and Bob Scott, who inspire FitOldDog when he’s finding his passion for Ironman. Thanks guys!

Pitch black outside. What I thought was a few hours, that felt like minutes, was actually thirteen(13) hours.

I’d definitely succeeded in finding my passion.

What has this to do with Ironman training?

When I swim, bike, run, and refine my nutrition, I’m actually problem solving. I don’t need music to pass the time. I’m busy solving the biology of movement and the Biochemistry of energy use. People say, “Kevin, don’t you get bored swimming, biking (on a trainer), or running for hours.”

The question confuses me.

Bored? No! I’m busy finding my passionproblem solving in my little piece of the universe.

If you’re not happy, I suggest you consider finding your passion.

You won’t regret it, easy or not. Go for a run – you might find it out in the woods. You never know!

Wishing you happy trails and happy feet.


PS If you’re having trouble, find inspiring people, by Jeff Bullas, Bob Scott, and Kurt Kahl, to help you along the interesting road of finding your passion, and happiness in life.


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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.