Last year I got certified as a Corporate Trainer. I attended a course with a diverse group of extremely interesting people. I was the oldest, the only Indian, the only vegetarian and also the only married woman in class. I thought that would be enough uniqueness to repel others away from me.

Surprise, surprise. The entire cohort was full of beans. Before I realized, we became good friends. We would look forward to seeing one another in those after office hours. Learning was fun and I felt like I was back to my college days. And yes, we always bonded over food the most. They would even go out of their way and eat vegetarian food on some days to keep me company.

But the real eye opener came one evening when we had to write 5 adjectives to describe our classmates. I was pleasantly surprised to find that every other person wrote one word in common for me – PASSIONATE!

Spot on! I have always felt passionate about everything I do (exceptions include doing dishes, laundry and chasing kids for homework). How did they know?

Not to sound like a brag, but the experience kept repeating. Each time I was well received for telling stories, especially with people having troubled history or medical conditions like suffering from dementia or cerebral palsy or college students from non-English speaking backgrounds, I was told people felt my passion and connected with my stories. That feeling keeps me going.

However, I am not always proud I am an open book. There are times when handling positive feedback about my passion for food gets embarrassing. How would you feel if you went to order coffee and cake and the barista ended up asking you if you would get an entire cake, not just a piece? And no, don’t dismiss this as an upselling technique because this doesn’t happen just once. It happens on a number of counts including on a game of pretend play this morning where my 8-YO daughter pretending to be a barista offers me an entire Tiramisu cake with coffee instead of a piece.

Stop guffawing at me right now. I can see you. By the way, I am still not sure whether it’s my size or the greed in my eyes that gets me this treatment. Or is it just Karma, I wonder.

To cut the chase short, when you do something with all your heart, people feel your energy; they understand your intent; they love to join you on your journey, become a part of your story. But passion can also lead to a burnout. Especially, if you are a perfectionist. Over the past few years, I have realised, a balance between passion and dispassion is the only way to keep going.

I spent a lot of time procrastinating responsibility to get doing what I truly love. Be it writing, travelling, storytelling or meeting friends. But becoming a parent changed my priorities. Setting a good example took precedence over my passion. I need to be extremely sensitive to what my kids draw from my character.

It has never been more crucial than now since schools in Singapore closed as part of circuit breaker. If I delay cooking or don’t do my chores because I am tempted to spend time online or watching TV, my kids will get the message – It’s okay to admonish school work and indulge. And with a P6 student at home, my actions are constantly under the radar.

I feel sandwiched between listening to my heart versus setting a good example of balance. That also answers my fixation for my favourite food – sandwich.

Today’s Lesson: Life without passion is like decaf coffee. However, striking a balance between passion and dispassion is only way to lunge forward whether you are answerable to your kids or your boss.