Goals & Productivity, Mental Health

I have too many hobbies

10 min read

An alternative title for this post would be “what is wrong with me?” but that sounds a bit negative. So, we will stick with “I have too many hobbies”.

For many years I wished I was a bit different. I wanted to be a person who is mainly interested in one or two things. How much easier would it be to strive after one easy to define goal! Like working towards being a doctor or an actress. I admire people who go all out, who hone in on one thing. Training for a marathon. Studying law for years and years, working their way up. Practicing an instrument for hours every day.

My problem was and is, that I want to do so so many things, that I have too many hobbies.

I want to do too much

I had the last two weeks off from work. On the first day I made a list of all the things I would like to do with my extra free time. Write blog posts every day. Practice piano. Practice guitar. Do my singing exercises. Go for walks. Work out. Swim. Knit. Sew. Meet up with friends. Do crafts with SJ. Read. Catch up on podcast episodes. Do some gardening. And that’s not even all of it. So yeah, I have too many hobbies.

Luckily, I have enough life experience by now that I am not under the illusion that I can do all of these things whilst also looking after a toddler. But even though I am not planning to knit and sew and read and swim and meet up with a friend in one morning, I still sometimes feel disappointed that I can’t.

Too many hobbies, not enough focus

In many ways my problem is less with the amount of time I have. It feels like the circumstances are fine, it’s me who should change. I just have too many hobbies and interests.

I believe in the importance of sticking with things, of keeping going even when one does not feel like it. Pushing through, being disciplined. I think it builds character, gives depth and makes people more resilient.

I don’t want to flick from hobby to hobby. Rather, I want to be the type of person who stays focused. Who practices a skill or craft until I am good at it.

Just right

I loved being in my twenties – all the experiences, establishing myself as a person. But I love my thirties even more. So far, this season has been marked by growing in acceptance. For others, but especially for myself.

Right now, I am learning to stop calling myself too much or not enough. I am just right. The fact that I get excited about so many things can be a weakness, yes, but it is also a gift.

Being able to learn and understand many different things, skills and people is not a bad character trait – it’s a strength. It allows me to relate, understand and appreciate other people and what they do much better. No matter where I work or volunteer or just hang out – I normally find ways to contribute in meaningful ways.

Too many hobbies: leaning in

This is still very much a process, but here are some strategies that help me lean into who I am. The goal is to celebrate and utilise my many interests and hobbies, but also to grow in staying focused and disciplined.

1. Who am I trying to please?

It is easy to live life according to the rules of others. Society, our parents, our friends or whoever might say that we should be or act a certain way. Often, they don’t actually say or even think these things but we perceive that they do. And so we work hard to please those assumed expectations.

For me, it is important and helpful to figure out my own motivation behind something.

Do I want to become a better guitarist because I enjoy it or because my dad plays and I think it would make him happy?

Do I want to learn to bake bread because it really interests me or because all the good mums on social media do it?

Once I know the answer, it is much easier to set priorities or be at peace with not mastering every skill. Taking away the “should” tends to make life much more enjoyable.

2. Accept that there are seasons

What has been immensely helpful for me is to accept that “there is a season for (almost) everything”. Right now for example, whilst parenting a toddler it isn’t a season to do lots of sewing. Instead, I can lean into other hobbies more: reading, knitting, walking.

Also, it has been important for me to realise that some seasons end. I used to do horseback riding as a teenager and for a long time I dreamed of taking it up again. However, I think that won’t happen. Which is okay! I loved it at the time and am so grateful for the experience.

Similarly, right now I am meeting so many new friends. A small child is the easiest conversation starter and there is so much common ground when meeting other parents with small kids. I won’t always spend my afternoons and weekends at playgrounds and toddler groups and get to know lots of people. But I am fully cherishing this time while it lasts.

3. Ride the wave

Sometimes I become slightly obsessed with a hobby and only want to do that thing. For a long time I saw this as bad. But I have learned when I lean in to these phases it’s so enjoyable and I learn a lot.

Since Christmas I have played piano almost every day. I get up earlier so that I can cram in a few minutes of practice before work. I play late in the evening with the volume turned down. Right now, I am so motivated and interested in learning more, more, more about scales and finger dexterity and chords and all the rest.

So, I am riding the wave! I know this intense interest will most likely fade a bit with time, but that does not mean this time of practice was wasted.

4. Set goals

Even though I believe in riding the wave, I also know that only ever following how I feel on the day doesn’t get me far.

That’s why I set goals: to help myself focus. For any given hour of free time I have there are probably about 10 things I want to do. By setting goals I remove some of the decision making element.

For example, right now, as soon as SJ naps I open up my computer and start typing. I don’t waste any time trying to decide what I will do, because I already decided: today and the next 76 days I will prioritise writing.

5. See how far I have come

When I feel tempted to berate myself for being to flitty or not focused enough, I find it helpful to look at how far I have come.

Yes, there are projects that I have abandoned but many, many more that I have finished. And looking at all those makes me really grateful for who I am. The fact that I find enjoyment in so many things. That I love languages and crafts and people and complicated concepts. That I am both task- and people-oriented.

In summary, yes, I have too many hobbies. But that’s okay.

This is Day 24 of my 100 Day Project. You can learn more about my 100 day project by reading this postIf you want to do your own 100 day Project, I would recommend checking out the 100 Day Project website.

Previous Post Next Post

You Might Also Like

No Comments

I love hearing from you