What is a Practical Passionista?

Hello! I’m a Practical Passionista. I’ve decided to start a blog to share the latest and greatest on how folks (including me) are making their passions work.

But first things first: What is a Practical Passionista? Click To Tweet Let’s break down the term:

1) “Practical” (adjective) is defined by Merriam-Webster as:

  • relating to what is real rather than to what is possible or imagined

  • likely to succeed and reasonable to do or use

  • appropriate or suited for actual use

There are parts of this that sound great! The ability to put something to use and to succeed: These are things I need to do on a daily basis in order to feel good about my efforts and myself. But not being able to aim for what’s possible or imagined? That sounds sad.

2) “Passionista” (noun)- not yet in the Merriam-Webster dictionary. The Urban Dictionary, always a handy secondary reference, defines a “Passionista” as:

Someone overzealously enthusiastic towards something. Wanting to be recognized for your love of something.

Again, some great things here- Enthusiasm! Loving something! But being TOO enthusiastic can blind you to reality (and to how you’re coming off to others) and wanting to be recognized for the sake of recognition feels inauthentic.

I prefer how the term is framed in this Marie-Claire interview with Janelle Monáe. The article lays out “The Passionista Checklist”:

  1. Devote your free time to your passion.
  2. Cultivate a distinct brand.
  3. Don’t compromise your convictions.

You know you’re a Passionista when you are doing something that feels all-consuming and you lose track of time, or are willing to devote time above-and-beyond the workday to that activity; you know your strengths and highlight them in a way that feels authentic; you know your values and let them guide you on this journey called life.

I also envision these two terms as complementary hemispheres in my brain, with “Practical” being the logical side that says, “You need to work so you can put a roof over your head, feed your family, [insert necessity]” and “Passionista” being the sassy sister that’s the dreamer; the jokester; the one who leaves the rat race and opens a lemonade stand on the beach.

We know the brain isn’t really divided so cleanly- the connections are messy, and so are our lives. I approach many aspects of life as a Practical Passionista:

  • Parenting, working, and the grand mashup of being a working parent
  • Advocating for change while recognizing the “real world”
  • Experiencing family, travel, good books, and other pleasures, while also being smart about money so I can perhaps retire one day!

To sum up, this blog is my attempt to aggregate and comment on the great work happening, much of it by inspiring women, that frames my life as a Practical Passionista. Hopefully, some of this will resonate with and be helpful to you, too!



About Practical Passionista

Hi! I’m Tish (AKA the Practical Passionista). I spent my twenties as an educator, researcher, and academic, teaching and obtaining a doctorate in Education (focusing on Human Development and Psychology) at an Ivy League/R1 university in the United States. I spent a chunk of my thirties transitioning to being a public policy wonk, spouse, and parent. I’ve worn other identities along the way, including woman, professional, immigrant, concerned citizen, polyglot, traveler, mentor, and friend. This blog is about how I manage “wearing” these different identities without getting too hot or too cold in the process! You can reach me at pracpassionista@gmail.com or @pracpassionista and @tishbr on Twitter.

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