I fell into my bed, absolutely exhausted. I felt my body melting into the mattress. The covers engulfed me in a hug that I desperately needed, causing my shoulders to start to relax. I decided that I didn’t want to move for another 10 hours. Work had taken it out of me, and all I wanted to do was sleep.
But before I could restlessly drift into the land of the dreamers, I remembered that I had promised myself I would practice a difficult song I had been trying to learn before the end of the day. I knew that if I fell asleep now, I wouldn’t fulfill that goal.
I laid in bed, contemplating which meant more to me: sleep, or my commitment to continue investing time in the things that made me happy.
After a minute, I pulled myself out of bed, and grabbed my guitar.
It can be incredibly difficult to make time for the things you love to do if your passions fall outside of your 9-5. Many people find the balancing act too challenging to maintain and eventually let their hobbies drift to the wayside in order to conserve enough energy to get through each day. Unfortunately, the repercussions of abandoning the things you enjoy doing will have a longer lasting affect than the extra caffein you would need to ingest to do them.
So if you are an Accountant by day and a Zen Master by night or anything in between, here are six reasons why you should never lose sight of your passion, regardless of what your job may be.
1. Invest in Yourself.
No matter if you enjoy basket weaving or bird watching, taking the time to do something you love is an actual investment in yourself. It doesn’t make a difference whether you are good at your hobbies or not; spending time on them is actually scientifically proven to improve your mental health by reducing stress, lifting your mood, and even warding off depression. Taking the time to pursue your passion can shake up the rhythm of a 9-5 and can make life feel more exciting, allowing for personal fulfillment as you navigate through your responsibilities.
2. Get Better, Without the Pressure.
If you have a ‘normal’ job but aspire to eventually make your passion your full time gig, you can use this time to get better at your craft before your lifestyle is dependent on its success. Because you have an unrelated source of income, you can take your off-times to get creative with your hobby, picking up new related skills and learning as much as you can without feeling like your livelihood is reliant on the perfection of your efforts. Then, when you do have the opportunity to start pursuing your passion full time, you’ll be prepared.
3. Inspire Others.
You might not realize it, but pursuing your passion doesn’t only impact you – it can eventually impact anyone that gets to benefit from the results of your hobbies. A perfect example of this is political newsletter writer Gabe Fleisher. Fleisher started sending a daily email to his mom about what was happening in the world of politics at 11 years old. Before long, his emails were being passed around to his family and friends. A few years later, his newsletter, Wake Up to Politics reaches 50,000 people everyday. Simply by doing something he loved to do, his passion is now impacting the political acumen of thousands of readers.
4. Connects You to Community.
The effort you put towards your hobbies are easier to maintain (and more fun!) when you do it with others. Pursuing your passion in a collective group can lead to new friendships, innovative ideas, and collaborative projects that will do nothing but add to your life. If you drop what you like to do because of the time and energy that is required to do it, you might miss out on some meaningful relationships that can be developed based on these similar interests.
5. (see below)
Your passion is a part of your identity. You may be a Barista at your day job, but if you love to write, you are a Writer. Do you work as a Mechanic but love to sing? You’re a Singer. Your passion is more definitive of your identity than what you do to earn a living is. By pursuing what you enjoy outside of your work, you will continue to develop that sense of identity and grow as a person. Your hobbies are a huge part of who you are; don’t let them go!
6. Could Lead to…
When you pursue your passion and share your gift with the the masses, you are opening yourself up to a world of possibilities. Ed Sheeran was discovered busking on the street. Brandon Stanton made it a goal to take pictures of 10,000 people in New York in his free time, which led to the massive success of Humans of New York. Everyone starts somewhere, but it’s about the refusal to stop doing what you love that will get you to where you want to be.
It can be exhausting to put effort into something extra when your life is so busy as it is. But there are so many reasons why the pursuit of your passion is an integral part of a fulfilled life. The things that you enjoy doing are parts of what makes you YOU. It gives you something to talk about, to dream about, to connect with others about, and most importantly, to derive joy from.
Don’t give up on your hobbies! You never know where they might take you.