People change, they “grow”. What was once terribly important to them becomes trivial, perhaps even boring. That’s the way life goes – you can rail against it but it won’t make a blind bit of difference.
One of my friends is going through a crisis. His most important hobby in his life to date, is no longer satisfying him.
He’s at a crossroads in his life: keep going with something that’s been dominant for him, some might say something that’s defined him for many years – hoping that the passion will come back? Or let it go, accepting the fact that the “drive” is no longer there because he’s changed, and has outgrown his once “supreme” passion.
I’ve seen other friends go through this over the years and it was usually to do with a chief hobby that was sport-related. I know a couple of ex-swimmers who spent many years training every single day, participating in competitions and just “living” and “breathing” natation……Until they woke up one day and realised they were “over it.”
The swimmers had won competitions, medals, etc…..but that was not the reason they swam. They swam because they loved it, because it gave them a high, because they could not imagine their lives without swimming. Yet, that passion they thought would never die…..did. It was a slow process, it didn’t happen all at once – there was no fanfare to announce the end of an era.
Rather, it was a succession of moments: leaving the pool before the two hours training were up one day, not showing up for training another time because they had other things to do….. a succession of moments that spelt the end: the drive, the motivation, the passion, the pleasure were not there anymore.
One of the swimmers in particular was bereft. Swimming had been everything for her for over ten years. She found it very hard to accept that it was over: she might not derive any pleasure from it anymore but it had been such an important part of herself – how could she let it go?
Yet, let it go she did. She struggled for a few weeks, so much so that she turned to coaching as a way of trying to recapture some of that passion.
It didn’t work though, and after a few months she gave up coaching too. She realised she had been trying to hold on to a part of herself that didn’t exist anymore.
The other swimmer was more pragmatic and mourned it for a while but got on with her life.
The point is, when something has been that important to you and you’ve dedicated so much time and energy to it – it’s incredibly hard to let it go, even if it doesn’t satisfy you anymore. It’s like a breakup in a way: you might decide to end it with someone if the spark has gone, but you’re still going to hurt when you go your separate ways.
Letting go of something that has been a major part of your life is real tough. But if that little flame isn’t burning bright and strong anymore, letting go you must.
There will be an inevitable sense of loss, a period of adjustment, you might even have to reevaluate your life, who you are and what you want. These things will pass: the relief and liberating feeling might make them obsolete anyway. In any case, it’s better than the alternative of holding on to something that just doesn’t make you happy in any significant way.
Life is short: just going through the motions isn’t going to cut it.