When I was younger, I had a really hard time answering the question, “what are some of your hobbies?”
I would say, being outside, spending time with friends…
… and then kind of got stuck there. I was never really good at drawing (although I certainly tried), painting, sculpting, or any of the things that were considered creative hobbies. I was always intrigued by photography, but never thought of myself as someone who would excel in it because it seemed too complicated. The only writing I did was essays for school and the only reading I did was to figure out how to write those essays. Although I was fairly active, I struggled to run more than a mile no matter how many times I got out there and tried. I had a difficult time touching my toes and my mind was always racing.
A few years ago, I decided to put intentionality behind everything I do. Time moves inescapably fast and I didn’t want to wait to try new things. I wanted to spend my time doing things I love that balanced out the things I don’t.
And now, years later, when I get asked that question, I can answer with confidence and a long list of hobbies. I decided one day last year that I enjoyed the emotional and physical reaction I had to a stunning photo so I would pick up a camera and just start taking photos. I decided I wanted to express my thoughts and support others by starting to write. I decided I would get past the mental barrier and found great peace in running. I decided to learn how to practice mindfulness and feel the benefits of yoga. Creatively expressing myself has become both an outlet and a source of great joy. But if you would have asked 6th grade me if these would be the things I would spend my free time doing? I probably would have laughed.
But this hasn’t exactly been an easy process. I recently found myself in a tough spot, where I had to re-center why I started writing and creating in the first place. So I opened my journal and tried to gather my thoughts. I asked myself, quite literally, why I started writing. I realized no one had really ever asked me this question. I asked myself why I automatically thought that anyone would give a crap about what I had to say. I was never told I was an excellent writer in school, but I was never told I wasn’t. I realized one of my favorite things is when I’m reading something, whether it’s a blog post, a book, an article, or an instagram caption and the writer puts into words an emotion or feeling that I’ve felt intensely but never been able to describe. And I want to do that for other people.
I also think words go well with pictures, and I really like taking pictures. I’ve had so many people inspire me through their words and pictures and I want to do that for other people too. I realized I was getting so caught up in how my writing or photos would “perform,” and trying to compete in this world of creatives and my passions were causing me more harm then good. So I re-centered. I re-focused. I wrote down why I started and what I hope to get out of these passions. And while I love the idea of being an inspiration for others, I realized this is about what these creative outlets do for me. I love this process. I love this journey.
In this technology-saturated world, it’s hard to imagine doing things for yourself. We’re conditioned to think that a like, a follow, a comment, defines the worth of what you put out there and ultimately yourself. And it’s the biggest struggle to battle that sensation. It can be so defeating. I heard in a presentation that the next generation cares about authenticity in advertising, and is also quite good at recognizing when authenticity is lacking. If people are literally craving authenticity, why is it so hard for us to put it out there?
And among all that, I started working full time. It became a little more of an effort to do these things after a long day of work. I was intentional about listening to my body and mind about what I wanted to do with the rest of the day after work so these hobbies wouldn’t start to feel like a chore. But the little effort to get my hammock up or my running shoes on is always worth it.
The reason why I sat down to write this blog post is because the fire of these passions was lit quite recently. Most have been developed in the last year, and I’m 24 years old. If there’s something you are interested in, try it. We get caught up in growing older and don’t feel like we have time or energy or ability to try new things, but do it. You might just find yourself capable of much more than you could have ever imagined. As a result of working to find and nurture these passions, my goals and career aspirations have shifted. I love sharing my work with those around me and they’re always unconditionally supportive. But what I love more, is how my work makes me feel.
While I love a long hike, international travel, or a good road trip, if we live solely for the big adventures we’ll surely miss out on the little ones.
If there’s something you’ve wanted to try, do it. Get on the internet and search pottery classes near you, running clubs, trapeze lessons, poetry slams, or whatever it is that’s got you curious. Life starts at the end of your comfort zone. Try something new and do it for you.
Pass this along if it meant something to you, cheers!