I’m good at my hobbies, in some cases I’m great at them, but I’ve always felt like my long held hobbies are somehow less than they are. I know why I feel that way, it’s because from a young age we are told to pour everything we have into something we love.
Those who are good at basketball in school are taught to eat, sleep, and breathe basketball when they aren’t studying. It’s gotten to a point that doctors say the increase in school aged children getting sports injuries has sky rocketed, because a child that used to swim in the summer and play football in the fall now plays football year round, so instead of switching where the wear and tear on your body is occurring it’s the same 24/7.
I know why, sports scholarships are a big deal. Children who are good at a skill can do great things with it if it’s their main focus for most their lives. Children with musical abilities that are nurtured can far surpass someone who picked it up in college or as an adult.
But the side effect of this highly focused approach to hobbies is that people like me who have a selection of favorite hobbies, feels like they’re failing at all of them because they are not only pouring all their time and energy into “the one”.
When I get to listing my hobbies I feel like I should laugh. There are so many of them! Some of them overlap, some of them certainly don’t. I’m a barrel racer, novelist, poet, graphic designer, photographer, blogger- and the list goes on. But when I say that I barrel race, I tend to say I barrel race but I’m not a barrel racer. Because I’m not. I don’t pour myself into it. I practice it and love it, but I’m hardly ever at races. I write novels, but I’m not a novelist because I haven’t pursued publishing yet.
That whole saying of “whole ass one thing, don’t half ass two things” doesn’t apply to me, I’ve divided myself over a lot of things. And in some ways I’m really good at them. I’m a great photographer, but I don’t do it very often, despite minoring in it in college. But I’m not a photographer because I don’t “do anything with it”.
I’m here to tell you that it’s okay to divide yourself with hobbies. Whether you’re an adult or child, it’s okay to do things and develop skills over a wide range of activities. It’s okay because not everything needs to make you money, not everything needs to become your lifestyle. It’s okay just to enjoy stuff.
In some ways it might work out better this way. I have a marketing job. I use my writing and my graphic design in it, without one or the other I wouldn’t be very good at my job.
So if you’re looking for permission to just love your many hobbies, here it is. You don’t need to pour yourself into tuning just the one.