Valentine’s Day is upon us. I’m not expecting any roses or a romantic dinner out. In fact, I’ll sleep alone in my un-sexy PJs. But I’ll doze off and wake up with passion in my soul. (My Alexa alarm is usually set to a croony and mushy love song BTW.)

What does passion mean — beyond the classic romantic definition?

a strong liking or desire for or devotion to some activity, object, or concept

Merriam Webster

I define it as having a childlike enthusiasm for something — anything — in your life. Too many people over 50 have a “dust cloud” around them, mumbling about all the things that aren’t happening in their lives, instead of defining those things they love and that put a smile on their faces.

Sometimes these smile-prompts are little things. For example, I’m passionate about writing. I’m passionate about teaching/helping other people. I led a social media workshop last night for a group and took delight in the fact that even one of them might have walked away with a new idea. I’m passionate about having unique new business experiences (like a lobbying trip to DC last week and an upcoming trade show in New Orleans). I have hobbies I love as well — knitting, cooking, experimenting with tech gadgets. I’m even passionate about baked Brussels sprouts (please don’t judge). I might forego them, however, for other things in life.

Getting older can be a passion-buster. Although I often sport my rose-colored glasses, my vision is not always as strong as it once was.

So, what do you do if you’ve lost your “juice” (as one of my 50-something colleagues calls it)?

  • Remember the things that gave you joy when you were younger. I know people who recently took up guitar lessons, riding in bike races, or reviving an artistic pursuit that gave them pleasure. Even watching a favorite old movie can boost a mood. If you can’t remember what used to push the right buttons, call an old friend, colleague or family member who can jog your memory.
  • Try new activities and hang out with new people. Sometimes the old stuff doesn’t do it anymore. Be daring. Help others.
  • Learn to “be your own Valentine.” Self-love and self-care are key. But keep things in balance.
  • In relationships, don’t throw cold water or damper other people’s passions. Learn to love the fact that they care deeply. On the flip side, however, too much passion for work or a solo pursuit can lead to the death of real intimacy. Today’s passion can result in tomorrow’s loneliness.
  • Above all, stop the whining! Yes…we all have things like creaky hips, aging parents, bad teeth, sleep issues, and other real-life annoyances of aging. But attempt to suck it up and put a smile on your face. When bad things happen, train yourself to think, “This is what I just learned from that experience” or “But this [fill in the blanks] is something good that’s happening.

Passion is addictive and contagious. When you are truly engaged in something or someone, you’ll elevate the mood of those around you.

Yeah, of course life would be more fun this year with roses and sexy lingerie, but passion can be found anywhere — on February 14th and all year-round.


  • Nancy A Shenker

    The Silver Hair Playbook: How to Be a Bad Ass >50™

    Nancy A. Shenker is a marketing innovator, brand builder, writer, speaker, and self-proclaimed rule breaker. Over the course of her 40-year business and marketing career, she has been a C-level executive, an entrepreneur, and a mentor to hundreds of small businesses at all stages. Founder of theONswitch marketing, Nancy was formerly a senior executive for major consumer and business brands, including Citibank, MasterCard, and Reed Exhibitions. She has written four books, and publishes a women’s entrepreneur community (, as well as AI/machine learning/robotics site and travel and lifestyle site She also wrote a column for called Bots & Bodies (about the human side of tech) and is a contributor to a wide range of consumer and business media. She recently won the "Killer Content Award" for a major project for a fast-growing technology company.