Failure · Reflection

On The Tribulations Of ‘Wanting’ (Or Why I Decided To Stop Worrying And Do What I Love)

On The Perception of Time

One of my least favorite parts of being an adult is the perception of time. Remember when you were a kid and waiting 5 minutes was the equivalent of cruel and unusual punishment according to the Kids’ Principles of Fun? Well now, 4 hours free in the evening somehow isn’t enough time for me to do all the non-work things I want to do and this realization is starting to stress me out.

I suppose one of the benefits of being a boring person with no hobbies was that prior to this blog-resolution thingy, my evenings were pretty much an activities no-man’s-land; I actually used to look forward to finally going to bed at 10:00pm out of sheer boredom! (To be fair, I still look forward to going to bed because I’m old and crotchety.) Lately though, I’ve been starting to feel like I simply don’t have enough time to participate in all the activities I find interesting and maintain the ones I’ve already started.

On the Trials of Maintaining

Maintaining interests takes time and you need a lot of it. In the last 2 months, I’ve cultivated an interest in playing the flute, crocheting/knitting, board games, and reading and, quite frankly, 4 hours is not enough. This past week, this is what my typical evening has looked like:

  • 5:00pm: Catch the bus home (15 minutes + 10 minutes because why is my bus always the one that’s late??)
  • 5:15pm-ish: Get off the bus and walk home (Should be 5 minutes, but actually more like 7 minutes because the neighbor’s dog is adorable and really needs the head pats that only I can give him.)
  • 5:30pm: Get home. Either Adam has started dinner, in which dinner will only take 20-30 minutes or he hasn’t and then we stand around debating if we should go out or not and what we should make if we don’t and how we really should be saving money but neither of us really has any idea what to cook. On any given night, this can take at least 1+ hours.
  • 6:30pm: Play a game of Star Realms or our new DC superheros deck building game (45 minutes)
  • 7:00pm: Pick up my crochet and settle into the couch to watch Netflix. (1.5 hours)
  • 7:15pm: Feel guilty that I’m not walking on the treadmill while watching Netflix. Continue to sit on the couch. (0.5 seconds)
  • 8:30pm: Remember I need to actually wash my hair since I can’t keep dumping dry shampoo in my hair and pretending no one notices. (25+ minutes. My showers involve a lot of singing and forgetting if I’ve shampooed my hair or not.)
  • 9:15pm: Get in bed. Bring the crocheting and Netflix with you.
  • 9:15 and a half pm: Debate whether you should suggest to Adam that you continue the book you’ve been reading out loud to each other. Decide that’s too much brain power this late in the evening and hope he doesn’t bring it up either.
  • 9:57pm: Realize you forgot to practice the flute or read your book club book or work out like you promised yourself you were going to.
  • 9:58pm: Promise you’ll actually do something productive tomorrow evening.

So as you can see, I’ve definitely lost some steam since I began this whole be-an-interesting-person crusade. And while I definitely need to teach myself the discipline of sustaining a skill-based hobby, like the flute, I also wonder – what if what I really do just want to do is sit in front of the TV and crochet all evening? (Everyone needs the occasional lazy-bum day. Mine has lasted a decade and a half.)

On the Tribulations of Wanting

This is where the anxiety kicks in. I’m a competitive person (oh my gosh, I bet you had no idea! *eyeroll*) and to fail at another hobby, especially since this blog is public, would feel like losing. But somehow, that’s also not necessarily enough to sustain my interest. So I came to this ultimate realization:

Never lose sight of the fact that hobbies are for your own happiness.

Wanting to be something and wanting to do something are two different concepts. I want to be a musician, but I want to do crochet. I want to be a photographer and I want to be well read, but I like cooking. And that is the line between the hobbies I’ve been able to sustain and the hobbies that are starting to become work.

I crochet and cook for my own happiness. The things I make are for me (and sometimes Adam but only if he stops losing the things I make him). A hobby for the sake of being something requires external validation from others and for that reason will never be sustainable (at least not for that reason alone). It’s what you like to do when no one is watching or no one else will benefit that is your true, defined passion.

I still think there is significant worth in a skill/hobby/activity that you have to work toward and the satisfaction in achievement will be significantly greater than just sticking with the things you’re already good at (hence the entire purpose blog). And I do intend to get back to practicing the flute, even if I have to backtrack a little in my exercises. But I’ve also decided to give myself a pass when it comes to the dread and anxiety I sometimes feel about my nightly hobbies routine and allow myself an evening or two a week where I do what I want to do, simply because I want to do it. (Even if that activity involves Netflix.)

As a reward for reading this whole thing without pictures, please enjoy this photo of my little yarn demon. Keepin’ his eye on the prize.img_20170212_162708229_burst000_cover

2 thoughts on “On The Tribulations Of ‘Wanting’ (Or Why I Decided To Stop Worrying And Do What I Love)

  1. You know, I assumed as you tried out all these hobbies, you’d discard some of them. There’s only so much time in the day, after all! So maybe as time goes by, you can prioritize them based on how much you enjoy them, and the ones at the bottom just get ditched. Not because you don’t enjoy them, but you don’t enjoy them AS MUCH as something else. And time spent doing the Not-As-Fun one is time you cannot spend doing the Fun One. Plus, I think adulting is one big giant multi-decade experiment of “I should be doing X, but I am instead doing Y… argh, the guilt!” 😉

    P.S. – the head pats made me giggle. As did multiple other things in the evening timeline. But really, you who loves cooking should try meal planning. No hour-long discussion of what to eat or whether or not to go out. And Adam will know ahead of time if he’s on the hook for something specific, and you can get the groceries on the weekend and be all set for the week. I started doing this a few months back and it reduces anxiety over food soooooo much. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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