How I Rediscovered My Passion After I Lost It

 

Reading has always been my favourite hobby. Ever since I was a child I was enamoured by picture books, which soon developed into novels. I used to be able to burn through one or two books a week, and reading is what inspired me to become a writer. I would carry books wherever I went, even if I knew I wasn’t going to have time to read, it was always “just in case.” The best present someone could have gotten me was a gift card to Chapters. You get the picture, right? As I got older, around high school, my reading time dropped off a bit as I started to put homework and friends before my own hobby. By the time I hit university, I barely ever read for pleasure anymore, and if I did it was never during the school year. Although more recently, I’ve definitely begun to give more time to my hobby. It took me a really long time to realize that I had forgotten about it, and even longer to pick it back up.

 

         I remember in my first year of university I began to tell people, “I’m just not myself,” or that I was, “having an off day.” When you’re having an “off” day for three months in a row, it’s time to realize that something is wrong. I was definitely spreading myself way too thin, trying to balance school, work, and a social life really only left minimal time for sleeping and no time for self care. Not only was I not reading anything that wasn’t school related, I’d also stopped writing if it wasn’t for my classes either. In the summer after my second year at university I sat down to read a book that, if this had been the past, would have maybe taken me the better half of a day to read, maybe two if I took my time. A week after starting the book I still hadn’t finished, and it really hit me that I gave up on the thing that gave me the most joy in life. So, I started backtracking to when that could have happened and realized that I hadn’t ever just one day stopped, but slowly burned myself out until I couldn’t. I realized that over the time where I wasn’t reading as much as I used to, I still wanted to read or write, but I just lost my willpower and motivation to do so. I felt uninspired while holding onto books, thinking about the task of actually setting time apart from all the other things in my life in order to read. I came to the conclusion that I had put too much of myself into other things that I wasn’t paying attention to my own needs.

 

         The first thing I did was go to a bookstore. Just being surrounded by the stacks and stacks of book covers was enough to make me feel like myself again. It was a really wonderful moment for me walking back to my car with three new books in my hands, but I still wasn’t actually reading. I bought books over the next couple of months that ended up in a stack against my wall in the corner of my room. I told myself when I had the time, when things at school started to wind down I would read. Once school started to wrap up though, shifts at my part time job became just as big of a priority and I still wasn’t giving myself time. There were two big things that I had to do in order to find more time for my own interests: saying “no,” and putting down my phone.

 

         I have this small fear of missing out; if someone asks me to hang out and I know that whatever I say this event is still going to happen with or without me, I feel as if people might suddenly forget me. This means I’m always the “yes guy,” I’m down for anything at any time of the day, which usually means most of the things I do are spontaneous, last minute invites. I started to stop making these kinds of plans as frequently, just so that I could stay in my house and dedicate time to myself. It wasn’t easy at first, I really struggled not to pick up my phone and text the group chat after one of my shifts, that’s where the second factor came in. If I turned off my phone, or went into another room without it, a lot of the time I didn’t feel that temptation to scroll on social media or find activities for my friends and I to do. Finally, after taking these steps to just take care of myself, I went away on a mini vacation to my family’s cabin. There’s this discount store that sells books for around $6.00, and I ended up stopping there and picking three books at random and then shutting myself in. During the week that I was up there, without any distractions, no Wi-Fi or friends for hours around, I read two of three books and felt amazing!

 

         It’s been about a year and a half since then. I set up a Good Reads account that I use frequently to track my book progress, and I’m well on my way to reading a goal of 50 books in 2020. I joined a few Facebook groups that have wonderful communities of book readers that gave me an outlet to talk about all the bookish things that I love! I still have a big ‘To Be Read’ pile, but I’m taking as many books from it as I’m adding to it. Not engaging in my passion took a lot out of me, and it also took a lot of me to find it again. I think if you’re anything like me, you’ve got to be real with yourself and take the time to figure out what has been going on to cause you to lose your passion, maybe you didn’t even realize it. I had to make sacrifices for my passion, and for a while I wasn’t ready to do that, but I can say the reward is so much better than anything you might lose along the way.