Your hobbies and passions shouldn’t be forgotten

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Photo by Sadman Sakib Rahman

If someone had told me I’d get to a point in my life where I’d tell myself that I didn’t have the same time or energy that I once did — to read for pleasure, sketch, knit or do any of the other countless time fillers that once took up a great portion of my spare minutes and hours — I’d laugh at them.

As a person who was never overly involved in high school with extracurriculars, I was always able to slot in time to do whatever I wanted.

I was on the swim team for three years with practices and meets, I took lifeguarding courses outside of school and I volunteered on the weekends, but I was mostly a free, gawky teen who could do as she pleased without worrying about a laundry list of stuff I should be doing.

Back in the blissful days of my youthful ignorance — and definite lack of adult responsibility — I could freely commit myself to a variety of mindless hobbies without any worry or concern.

As a teenager, I’d read one or two books a week for enjoyment; I was the epitome of an Arthur character chanting “having fun isn’t hard, if you’ve got a library card!”

I used free periods to read, art classes to create basically whatever the hell I wanted — shout out to my wonderfully hippy, carefree art teacher. I got my needed exercise with gym class and swim meets and my leftover time at home was spent watching whatever I pleased. I would spend countless hours downloading music from LimeWire onto my purple iPod Nano and I existed in a safe bubble of contentment.

Obviously, as we age we are faced with the inevitable time commitments associated with adulthood.

Entering university, I was a skittish deer in the woods who was easily scared away from group oriented activities.

Joining clubs was a daunting task for me and it took a lot of embarrassing mantras repeated to my bathroom reflection to push myself to actually do something outside of my courses.

The unfortunate thing with giving a fuck about resumé builders, grades and having a somewhat respectable social life is that any free time to watch three seasons of The Simpsons in a row and bake cookies — just because — is somewhat limited.

Managing my time effectively has been an uphill battle — and this is coming from a 22-year-old who has friends the same age that are getting married and having kids.

Taking on more responsibility with extracurriculars — and learning that I have to actually put more effort into my school work than a shrugged-off, lackadaisical indifference — has shown me more than I originally thought it would.

I tend to be an all or nothing kind of person.

I either overwork myself to the point of not sleeping or eating, or I give up and eat a whole pizza in bed.

Finding balance day-to-day can be a bitch, to say the least.

I’ve allowed my obsessively filled-out planners and highlighted calendar dates to completely consume almost every waking minute that I have.

I recently realized that I have reached the point where I don’t know what to do with myself if I’m not working on an essay, fulfilling a club duty or worrying about an impending test.

My hobbies make up such a large portion of who I am as a person, that going through my routine without them for so long makes me feel a little lost.

Reading books that aren’t part of a class syllabus has become a goal of mine that’s been hard to work towards.

I stared for about ten minutes at a blank sketchbook page the other day not knowing what to do with it.

My attention is so easily pulled away to more “important” tasks, that I don’t feel like I know how to relax and do what I enjoy anymore.

As crucial as it is to prioritize your commitments and plan accordingly in your university career, I believe it’s still fundamental to hold onto the things that you enjoy doing.

The activities that  simply give you relaxation and mindless enjoyment exist for a reason, so indulge in them when you can.

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