Written By: Mrs. Horizon
I have never been one to have hobbies. I always seemed to drift in and out of obsessions but nothing ever really stuck. Once high school came around, I became much more focused on getting good grades. At the same time, I started my first job at an ice cream shop. I worked hard and saved a lot since I knew that I needed to be able to pay for college on my own and I never really considered loans as a viable option. Once I started college and was working nearly 40 hours a week, I barely had time to sleep, let alone find a good hobby! Once I graduated college and started my job, I found that I had a lot of time on my hands, time that most people would spend on their hobbies. At this time, I started getting more and more interested in financial independence. I was listening to more podcasts, reading more articles and having more conversations about it with Mr. Horizon. The one of the main messages that I was hearing was that you needed to start something while you are working that you love to do so that you have something to do after you stop working.
This really concerned me. I didn’t have a passion project or a side hustle. I didn’t have volunteer work or a hobby. What was I supposed to do? As ridiculous as it sounds, I began googling hobbies or anything I would be interested in. It was a pretty desperate act! Frantically, I finally settled on wood burning, thinking it would be interesting and fun. I bought a kit and some popsicle sticks and got to work on my new hobby. I am not a very artsy person and on top of that I tend to be a perfectionist. Generally, this combination causes me to get frustrated and stressed out when my first go at something isn’t “perfect”. Logically I know that you have to practice to get better but somehow my perfectionism always seems to get in the way! As with many new hobbies that I have started, wood burning was put to the wayside within a few weeks.
I was feeling like a failure. Why am I the only one who seems to not have a hobby or a side hustle? Why can’t I find something that holds my interest? Soon after I saw a TED talk called “Stop searching for your passion” by Terri Trespicio. In her talk she states “it’s a dangerously limiting idea at the heart of everything we believe about success and life in general. And its that you have one singular passion and your job is to find it and pursue it to the exclusion of all else. And if you do that everything will fall into place and if you don’t, you failed.”
My jaw hit the floor. This was EXACTLY what I thought! I thought I was the only one! I had never realized that others were dealing with this same thought process. She goes on to say “I’m leery of passion for a few reasons. But one of them is that passion is not a plan, it’s a feeling. And feelings change.” Although I had never put words to it before, she was dead on with how I felt. I had been buying into the idea that we all have this “passion” deep down inside and one day, bam, it was going to hit me and I would have found my hobby or side hustle or project that I knew I wanted to work on. For some strange reason I thought it would be “love at first sight” which is a feeling… just like how passion is. Interesting how I can see that correlation now!
She later talks about the Dilbert’s creator Scott Adams and how he said that “in his life success fueled passion more than passion fueled success.” I think we have all experienced this in our own lives. I was never crazy passionate about being a waitress but as I became more and more successful, I could see my interest and commitment to the job increasing. This is not to say that I wanted to work in the food industry for the rest of my life but it wasn’t as scary or stressful as when I first began the job.
Then towards the end of the video she says “when someone asks you at a party, on a date, at a job interview, ‘What are you passionate about?’ That you’re not going to have this ‘wow’ compelling answer. And that means that you’re not interesting, or ambitious, or that you don’t have a singular obsession or a scary talent that you are hiding. And that your life isn’t worth living. And it’s not true.” At the end of her ten-minute TED talk she closes saying “Because to live a life full of meaning and value, you don’t follow your passion, your passion follows you.”
It was easily the most powerful TED talk I have ever listened to. Although I still wanted to find something that I enjoyed working on, I realized that my previous “failed” hobbies weren’t failures at all. They were my experiments and I was going to have a bunch more of them and here is the biggest thing: its okay! It was like the stress had been removed. Realizing that I was going to fail while trying new things and whether I tried 5 new hobbies or 50 new hobbies, it didn’t matter. Life is a journey of self-discovery so I might as well discover all that I can!
With this new mindset I began relaxing about this whole hobby thing. I had nearly unlimited time to find something that I truly enjoyed and I might as well enjoy the journey to get there! Soon Mr. Horizon began his Uber side hustle and a few months later my sister started an Etsy page. I began stressing about not having a side hustle as everyone else seemed to have one. I reminded myself of Terri’s TED talk and decided that maybe rather than a side-hustle I could “contribute” by being more aware of deals on everyday items, so we could save money. So, I did some research and downloaded some apps. Then one day I decided to try baking my own bread. This turned into baking bread once a week. In the past I had never enjoyed baking so that kept me from trying it again. Now I use couple of hours in a weekend and practice my bead baking skills. I may fail but to quote Thomas Edison “I have not failed. I’ve found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” I have started to truly take this to heart. So now I make delicious bread for the week with ingredients that I can pronounce! It is actually kind of relaxing and I have begun enjoying my bread baking time!
Then one weekend Mr. Horizon and I went on a YouTube bender and ended up watching videos about aquaponics. We both thought it was interesting and easy to manage. By the end of the week we had found a tank on Craigslist, fish from Petco, and had started some small lettuce plants. We had all the makings of a small aquaponics experiment for under $50. We have plenty to learn about this new experiment but that’s half of the fun!
I am still on the journey to finding a hobby but unlike before, the journey doesn’t bother me as much. FIRE means that I have lots of time to try new things! I don’t have to have my passion project established or even started before Mr. Horizon or I reach FIRE. The point of FIRE is that it allows you the time to pursue what interests you the most. Until I find what those hobbies or projects may be, I will keep trying new and interesting topics and hiking my own hike!