Is Your Hobby Becoming a Burden?
Why It’s Important to Let Go of Hobbies that No Longer Serve You
Every year at the end of March I get excited about planting my garden. Whether the Midwest air has turned a corner toward warmer days or the threat of frost hasn’t quite left, it doesn’t matter. Once April is in my sights, I start thinking about what I want to grow in my small garden for the season. It’s a ritual I’ve enjoyed every year for more than 10 years. Watching the fruits of my labor (yes, pun intended) blossom into something nourishing for my family served me a tremendous amount of joy. The garden is where my youngest daughter and I experimented with different varieties of tomatoes, tried our hand at growing watermelon, laughed when we pulled vines from the ground and discovered potato-like roots (tubers, for those of you wondering), and were genuinely shocked the first time grape tomatoes grew from the previous years’ fruits that we left rotting away over the winter. Working in the garden was a new experience every year.
Unfortunately, though, time marches forward.
Things change. New passions emerge. Curious children who love wearing garden wellies and playing in the dirt turn into grumbling teenagers who sleep all day, watch YouTube, and would rather eat candy corn than the real deal. What used to be fun has slowly turned into a labor of discontent. With that thought, I realize it might be time to move on from my garden.
This is the second year in row that my lovely, little garden that starts off with such potential has turned into a tumble of weeds and neglect by mid-July. My tomatoes are rotting on the vine in a sun-dried fashion. My gorgeous lavender plants that are somehow surviving despite my abandonment are hard to find among the weeds. The other day, I told my neighbor, “I think it’s time to let go of this hobby.”
“Why?” she asked.
“I don’t think it makes me happy anymore. I’d rather shop at a farmers’ market.”
That’s the first time I spoke those words aloud, acknowledging that it was time to reconsider planting a garden next spring. It makes me sad to let go of something I loved so much, but it’s the nature of life. I suppose. It also started me thinking about all the things we hold onto that don’t nourish our souls anymore.
Do you have hobbies that are feeling like more of a drain than an uplifting activity? If so, let me ask you a very important question.
Why are you afraid to let go?
Only you can really answer this question, but I suspect that we feel these hobbies are part of our identity. They shape us in the eyes of others and are a part of us when we look in the mirror. What happens if we let go and find ourselves ambling about in a state of uncertainty?
The bigger question, I believe, is . . . What happens if we stay tethered to the idea of who we should be?
A New Version of You
Letting go of hobbies that no longer serve us gives us the freedom to grow into a newer version of ourselves. The time that we’re devoting to something we loathe is better spent learning something new about ourselves. By continuing to focus all of our energy — and, let’s be honest, it’s negative energy — on a hobby we aren’t happy doing, we’re essentially wearing a musty coat that doesn’t fit well or look good on us.
Why walk around wearing something that doesn’t feel or look good?
Hobbies, by nature, are meant to ignite a creative spark. They are intended to challenge us to think differently, move outside of our comfort zone, and try new things without the need for perfection. After a while, though, the more you practice something the better you’re going to get. Eventually, the challenge is gone and the joy is muted. Letting go of a hobby that doesn’t make you excited anymore helps you rekindle creative living.
Are You Ready to Let Go?
We are given only a precious amount of time on this beautiful Earth. Why waste one second of this time engaging in a hobby that doesn’t make you happy? Chances are you don’t need me or anyone else to point out if a hobby isn’t serving you. You already know. Most of us are just scared to mess with the status quo and change directions. We’re afraid we’ll get lost.
As I leave you today, let me ask you one final question. . . What if letting go of your hobby lightens you and frees you to find your true calling?
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Originally published at soulspring.org.