My childhood was like a basketball theme park. I would play everyday. My best friend was easily six feet in middle school. He and his dad taught me how to craft my technical skills on the court. I won a free-throw contest in fourth grade against 9th graders. My friends and I would collect basketball cards inducing trade wars between Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, and Kevin Garnett. I got to meet Ray Allen and Spike Lee on the set of He Got Game. My first major injury was because I climbed on top of the hoop in Flannagan Field and jumped off to slam a dunk, but slipped and fractured my wrist. It’s an understatement to say I love the game.
But what happened since then? Currently, my age is the same number as Patrick Ewing’s jersey and I haven’t picked up a basketball in years. That was, until last month. I skipped my normal run and spent twenty minutes on the court instead. To my surprise, I felt a surge of joy flow back into me. Muscle memories took over. My layups were sloppy, my ball handling a joke, and my jump shots were off, but I was alive in a way I haven’t felt in a long time.
Why do we let those passionate parts of our life die out?
We ultimately forget about the things we love when we don’t spend time doing them. Your passions are a relationship, they need time and energy to adequately develop. They are also unconditionally forgiving. Even when you haven’t spoken for a while, once you get together it feels like old times.
I love the advice that author Matthew Kelly (The Rhythm of Life, Seven Levels of Intimacy) gives to his clients. Relationships are all about “Care-free Timelessness”. We remember those days when we would go over our friend’s house without calling, without a plan, and no topic of conversation. We would just be in each other’s company without a worry in the world because we had time to spend. The beauty of care-free timelessness is that it develops relationships.
Your passions deserve some of that care-free timelessness. But life won’t give that time back to you without a fight. For every minute spent on something new is a minute away from something old. The trick here is to prioritize your day evaluating what your time wasters are and then figure out how to squeeze your passion projects (or hobbies) in when you have the most energy.
To remain optimistic, this doesn’t have to be a complete change overnight. If your things is playing more basketball, then once a week swap out a jog for it. If it’s spending more time with your children, adjust your productivity schedule at work so you can leave on time (or a little earlier) on Fridays. If you are passionate about cooking, set up a recurring dinner party at your house.
You can do this. Your basketball believes in you.
You will be pleasantly surprised how much joy fills your life once you give your old friend the time they deserve.
Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” — Oprah Winfrey