Over the past few years I’ve come to recognize and truly appreciate the importance of finding your “thing” – it’s that passion that exists outside of your regular career, that pursuit that you prioritize no matter how crazy things get because it’s what truly makes you happy. Growing up, it was easy to have a “thing”; it was likely the sport you spent the most time doing or a club or group you belonged to. It was that “thing” that your parents spent countless hours driving you to and from, that group of friends you had outside of your classmates, the trophies or ribbons that littered your bedroom.
But as time has gone on, that “thing” may have faded from your life. College came into the picture. Then the real world and the work that comes along with it. And outside of the routine of the life of a student, the opportunities to continue with your “thing” may have been lost. For me, this was riding horses which suddenly disappeared from my life after moving from a rural area to an urban one. That “thing” which had regularly filled up hours of my time every week was gone. The “thing” that kept me in shape. The “thing” that broadened my social group and served as my outlet and escape from it all.
// Photo by Sam of Clark & Schiller
So, it was time to find a new “thing”. First the blog came along, which was a “thing” that started purely as a hobby with no real goals or expectations. It was fun to write and share my point of view and after getting obsessively hooked on reading blogs, I wanted to give it a shot. Then running came along, purely out of curiosity. It started with the random goal to run a half marathon after not considering myself a runner since I was 15 and after logging plenty of miles on the lakefront, it quickly turned into something I actually enjoyed spending time doing. Two marathons and quite a few smaller races later, it was time to try a new fitness “thing” and I’m now hooked on Flywheel.
When it comes to “things”, we often get bogged down in the countless reasons why they shouldn’t matter to us. We’re already incredibly busy and can’t imagine adding another thing to our plates. We have no idea what our “thing” would be. We don’t know where or how to start with a new “thing” that differs from what we grew up doing. We don’t want another expense. The list goes on and on, but if there’s one thing you take away from reading this blog of mine, it’s that those “things” matter. A lot. And in the end, they’re absolutely worth it.
Some things I’ve learned while exploring new “things”:
- You’ll end up happier: Having something to focus on other than the to do’s and mandatory requirements of day to day life will provide an outlet and an escape for you. Pursuing something you’re passionate about will keep you feeling fulfilled and less likely to feel uninspired or burnt out. You may turn to your “thing” as a way to de-stress or unwind or it could just be tons of fun, but at the end of the day, you’ll end up happier.
- “Things” are connectors: Looking for a way to meet new people or expand your network? “Things” are a great way to do just that! Connecting over a common interest (instead of just your job title or where you happen to live) is an awesome way to broaden your social circle and could lead to additional introductions and opportunities.
- You never know what could happen: Take your “thing” seriously! Be proud of it and don’t brush it off as just a silly hobby. You never know what those connections could lead to, who you could meet or what could end up happening. Passion goes a long way and often trumps skill or experience. Always be thinking forward and setting new goals for yourself as a way to stay motivated in your pursuit of your “thing”.
Stumped as to what that “thing” could be? Brainstorm out of the things you’d love to do one day – see if there are any key themes or starting points. Try a few things. Try a few more. Make a “thing” or a few “things” a priority.
Do you have a “thing”? How did you come to find yours? What are some of the perks of your “thing”?