Anybody that knows me will tell you that it’s a pretty regular thing for me to be ‘into’ new activities. In most cases, ‘into’ roughly translates as ‘completely overwhelmed, consumed or otherwise obsessed with’. I’ve got a bad case of Hobby-ADD and I know it. Lately, I’ve been thinking about consolidating, and I figure there’s probably some other guys like me out there who could stand to sort themselves out too, so let’s have at it publicly, shall we?
Between airsoft, painting, miniatures, guitar and the leagues of other interests, I simply don’t have the time to be actively chasing all of them. That narrows down a lot of this stuff to a few ideas – unpursued extracurricular interests lead to wasted time, wasted money and wasted space.
You don’t have time.
I’m more driven to be a great dad than anything else. It’s the reason why I refitted my phone, severed most ties on social media and am aggressively seeking to make myself a better, more whole person. In doing so, I need time. It’s not just the physical (as much as they can be) minutes and hours, either. It’s the time, mentally, to be able to focus on these things. I shouldn’t say, either, that it’s a totally selfless endeavour to move away from my more underused hobbies. In letting go of some activities and purging the moments I spend thinking about them, I gain back the time to focus on those parts of myself that I really, actually want to work on.
When I walk into my computer room, I see the airsoft stuff sitting on my footlocker and get into a thought pattern that is just wasting precious mental dexterity – if I wanted to go, I’d go. Now that I don’t, I worry about why not or otherwise spend (if we treat time as a commodity that can be traded with people and ideas equally) time thinking about something that is useless and wasted.
You’re looking at money.
I’m a big fan of moving unused possessions on Kijiji. It’s not only an easy way to make money, it’s a great way to ensure you’re not holding on to things for the sake of holding onto them. That said, for some reason, it’s wayyy harder for me to let go of things that are connected to a hobby than, say, an old jacket or a table lamp. Perhaps it’s because I believe that these items are linked directly to my happiness. Ovbiously, this isn’t the case – it’s the memory of those activities that brings me good feelings and in some cases, the activity itself should I want to continue or metaphorically ‘pick up the brush again’.
So, it’s a little harder to clean out the closet when you feel like you’re selling off pathways to happiness or contentment. In sending these items to eager buyers on the internet, however, you’re also gaining more available money to fund your current interests – and that’s to say nothing of the room you’ll clear up in your mind for more energy to be focused on the few activities that bring you the most happiness, rather than segmenting your jam-packed mind to the handful that bring you fractions of the same good feelings. You’re busy. So are most people. You can’t possibly have time to attach to that many things all at once, so here’s your opportunity to reflect and measure each.
If you do that with a good degree of truth attached, you’ll find a few ‘loves’ among a sea of hobby-crushes. Find out what you love and chase that – leaving behind the distractions of short-term dopamine injected satisfaction.
You don’t have room.
In my computer room, which is basically my man-cave in modern vernacular, I’ve already got limited floor space. It houses my militaria collection, my desk, my artistry and my stuff that otherwise doesn’t fit on the walls through the rest of the house. As cool as WW2-era helmets are, they just don’t mesh very well in a living room.
This, however, puts a lot of stuff that is connected to hobbies of old scattered across my room – therefore, scattered across my mind. I hate to pull everything back to Jordan Peterson, but he’s got a pretty cool philosophy on keeping your room clean, and I’m inclined to agree. When I walk into my computer room, I’m instantly ‘triggered’, if you will, into a mindset surrounding the hobbies I haven’t paid attention to, thereby spending time thinking or planning to do the things that aren’t in the interest of doing what’s best to begin with!
Sometimes, I define myself by my hobbies. That’s fine – it’s a natural fall-back when I’m otherwise displeased with the other means of defining myself. This month, I earned my first stripe in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I really can’t fall back on too much in my adult life, generated from a hobby, that has left me feeling as proud and defined as this. That’s how I knew that it was time to purge and really hone in – I’m proud and definitively driven by BJJ. When I got my first stripe, it wasn’t the only the collected knowledge of attacks and defenses in a martial art – it represented to me the determined effort to stay focused on something. I didn’t quit or ‘move on’ to another interest.
Find the aspects of your lifestyle – hobby or not – that make you proud to be you. Make the time, money and energy available to get after those specific activities by kicking the rest to the curb. We’re designed by modern conveniences to want everything, all at once but I promise you, internet reader, it’s not the path to happiness.