Do you have a hobby or vocation that you’re passionate about? If you don’t like your day job, do you have something that brings you joy in your free time? Do you feel like you have untapped potential within you?
There’s no age or time in life where it’s too soon or too late to discover that. I’m currently reading a book called “The Multi-Hyphen Method” by author and broadcaster Emma Gannon which is all about the working world today, and how we can have many hyphens to our name and what we do – i.e. not be defined by one job title. In the book Gannon notes “YouGov reported in 2015 that 37 per cent of British workers think their jobs are meaningless” and that “The Evening Standard says 80 per cent of Londoners hate their jobs.” These are some dramatic statistics but sadly not all that surprising I think – I have plenty of friends who are miserable in their jobs and I’ve been desperately unhappy in various companies myself. What I want to talk about here is that whatever your happiness or lack thereof in what you do, there is so much joy to be found elsewhere in hobbies and past times – even “side-hustles” – that can change your outlook dramatically (and who knows, it might even be something that becomes profitable and thus what you do day-to-day). To do this I’d like to draw on my own experiences from the last year or two…
At the end of 2016, I met and became friends with a wonderful girl and for some time, colleague, who had her own design business outside of our day job, creating wedding stationery and branding. Through our conversations she opened my eyes to a whole new world of independent sellers and creatives and I think it was really thanks to her that I started getting into calligraphy and then illustrating. She encouraged me to open an Etsy shop and so I did! It was a really exciting project and adventure to embark on at a time when I felt pretty demotivated by – and anxious about – some other things, and art became this incredibly therapeutic part of my life, and way to spend my time. At first, friends bought some things then at the back end of last year, even some people I didn’t know bought things. It’s a small shop where I sell cards and calligraphy quotes, and it gives me an extra purpose and passion that I never had before.
Then there’s this blog! In reality I started blogging almost six years ago, as a way to process graduate life. My posts were sporadic and I guess not really around any particular theme, just my general musings from time to time. Although I always enjoyed the process of writing, I never really got into any kind of habit with it and it petered out to the point that I only actually blogged once in 2017 (“You can’t pour from an empty cup” if you’re interested!) But fast forward to the end of last year and that weird little part of the festive season where offices open but really not that much happens. For some reason a colleague and I got talking about blogging and she told me that one of the other girls in the office had a blog. Intrigued, I checked it out and honestly, was in awe of how professional a blog could look. I’d never come across one before that was like an actual website, with categories and photography and regular posts. It isn’t often in life that inspiration flashes like a light bulb, I tend to think it’s usually more of a gradual dawning realisation, a stirring within you that you could do or achieve something you hadn’t thought of before. But this time I immediately knew that I wanted to do the very same thing, and get back into writing and write regularly. I spent a lot of my annual leave at New Year buying a domain and a theme, and setting up my brand new blog, filled with excitement about all the possibilities. Said designer friend had set up a book club and through it I’d met a travel blogger who I subsequently followed on Twitter. Just at the time that I was wanting to start blogging again, I came across a retweet of hers about a fellow blogger’s e-course called “How to grow your blog with a full-time job”. Ideal! I thought, and promptly signed up. The course turned out to be wonderful and just the inspiration I needed, not only to get back into blogging but discover it in a whole new way. (Bit of a long-winded chain of events but it blows my mind how much all the little parts of life and people you meet join up to make things happen). Since then I feel like I’ve entered into a world I never knew existed, of blogs and podcasts and immensely inspiring people who have opened my mind to a whole new way of thinking.
Six months on, I’m still excited about this blog and all that there is to come with it. Both the drawing and the blogging have become creative outlets through the highs and the lows of life, and I feel like I know more about who I am as a result. Enough about me though because I’ve waffled a bit – let’s bring it back to you. Do you have an outlet for yourself? Whether it’s running, singing, pilates, painting, cooking…what’s the thing or things that bring you joy and add a whole extra dimension to your life? If you haven’t found it yet or have an idea about something that you want to pursue, I would so encourage you to go for it. In Gannon’s book she cites research scientist Zorana Ivcevic Pringle, who “found that people who engaged in everyday forms of creativity such as taking photographs, making a collage or publishing in a literary magazine tended to be more open-minded, curious, positive, energetic and motivated by their activity”. Isn’t that fascinating? Surely reason enough for us all to throw ourselves headlong into our passions. I’d like to point out here that I know the idea of discovering or knowing what you’re passionate about can seem a little daunting, so if you’re unsure why not think instead about the things that you enjoy? The things that stimulate you, the things that you come away from with a lightness in your step. These are the things to delve deeper into and explore. Why not think about how you can take them one step further? And if even then you’re uncertain, why not reflect on the things that motivate you? What’s a brand new hobby that could bring you some of that goodness?
I’d love to hear about the passions and past times that bring you joy – leave me a comment here or drop me a message! I am sending you all the encouragement to get started or keep going – even when inspiration fades – because there is so much joy and further inspiration to come.
Related notes – aka inspiring women to check out