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How a simple question helped me to rediscover my passions

Without even realising it I had been drifting further and further away from my interests, being asked this simple question was the prompt I needed to start rediscovering my favourite pastimes and understanding myself better.

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“What do you love to do.. what do you do that brings you so much joy that you lose track of the time?”

It was about a year and half ago that I was asked this seemingly simple question, which totally and utterly stumped me. After contemplating it for a few minutes I concluded that there wasn’t anything, not one single thing that I was doing that I enjoyed THAT much and after a moment of totally freaking out, I regarded myself as pretty much the most boring person I knew. After a few more minutes I got my pen and wrote down a list of all the things that I love. I looked at it and realized that there’s actually a whole load of things that I love to do.. I just wasn’t doing ANY of them. Not one single thing on the list.

My childhood was spent growing up in the British countryside, with a bike as my favourite mode of transport. My weekends were spent learning to sail and horse ride and a family holiday often meant hill walking in the peak district, or learning to surf in Devon. Then there were scout camps, two weeks spent camping out in the wilderness and maybe at some point taking a shower to wash off the week’s sailing, hiking, biking *insert activity here*.. I was an active member of several school sports teams, and when I turned 18 I also realised my love of travelling and discovering new cultures, with my first ever backpacking trip to Central America. Needless to say, I had an amazing childhood with a lot of hobbies to keep me busy.

Somewhere between this incredibly active childhood and where I was, these hobbies, passions and interests got lost, I wasn’t doing anything similar. I was meeting new people, going out for drinks with friends, visiting towns and cities nearby, but I always felt like something was missing and it wasn’t until I was asked this question that I understood what it was. Looking at my list, I realized that I had been slowly drifting away from my interests and perhaps compromising my time a little too much, so much so that I had forgotten to spend time getting to know myself .

This question gave me the prompt I needed to take a look at what I was doing and reflect on how I was spending my time, as well as who I was spending it with. I started to go on little hikes by myself by the lake and soon enough some of my friends were joining me, equally as enthusiastic about being out in nature. I noticed that the more I started speaking about all the things I wanted to do, the more people would pop up and want to do them too. I had wanted to start rock climbing for years, I remember researching gyms years ago, but somehow I had never got round to going, there was always the excuse of being too busy, The gym was too far, the weather was too cold, it was easier to stay and have a drink with friends. So finally I decided to sign up to a climbing course, I totally fell in love with it and signed up for the next round. Through climbing I fell into a group of outdoors enthusiasts with whom I’ve been on hikes, climbing trips and I’ve even been horse riding again.

So how can you start to (re)discover your hobbies?

  • Ask yourself what you love, I don’t mean necessarily what you love to do but just anything that comes to mind, start simple with something like.. I love to travel, I love to be by the sea, I love the sound of water against a boat, I love walking through woods, go into detail and see where your pen takes you
  • Group together the answers to find the connections, i.e. nature, sport, art, and so on. This will give you an outline and help to define your interests
  • Start to follow your curiosities, once I defined my interest groups, I noticed that they were largely outdoors and nature related so I started to find ways to embrace them, I planned hikes and signed up for climbing lessons, started trying new outdoors activities and meeting people with similar interests.
  • Keep checking in on your list and adding to it

I couldn’t believe how far away I’d gone from my interests until I took the time to really understand them, I hope that this can help you to check in on yours.

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