Happiness

Finding your passions

Dating advice forums are full of recommendations for hapless daters to dive into a hobby to make themselves more interesting and appealing to the opposite sex.

The insinuation is that if someone delves into a passion that they love, they’ll 1. make themselves happier and more fulfilled and thus more interesting 2. have more things to talk about (repeat, interesting) and 3. expand their social circle.

When I signed up for an upholstery class, I had no intention of using this new skill/interest to attract men. However, if I had been attempting to find this hobby in order to attract men (per the dating advice), I would’ve been sorely disappointed.

Reactions ranged from laughter to confusion, with a couple “Oh, that’s interesting”s thrown in to mute the “Why are you doing that”s.

(On a side note totally unrelated to the purpose of this post, one of my key requirements in a partner is curiosity. So the type of person who can’t fathom why you would take a class to learn a skill is the type of person I definitely don’t want to date. Now, back to our previously scheduled post…)

Beyond my own observations of the questionable success of this advice to get a hobby, I have other concerns about the premise. For the interest-less person looking to develop a hobby or passion, I would posit that trying on hobbies with the intent of one giving you some sort of instant happiness is almost the same as dating with the intent to find a person who completes you. You should be able to be complete on your own.

As such, I don’t think you find the interest or hobby that makes you feel complete. You pay attention to your feelings. Pay attention to the sort of things that excite you–that make you feel alive or passionate. And then do more of those things.

For me, it’s not the process of reupholstering a chair that fulfilled me. It was the process of learning, of challenging myself, of putting myself outside of my comfort zone, of developing greater understanding of the project.

This has been a bit of detriment when it comes to promoting myself (in the dating world or in life). I don’t like to claim many hobbies because I dabble in so many without developing true expertise. I’m a little bit of a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none.

During my upholstery class, I realized everyone else in the class was intending to keep pursuing this hobby. On the other hand, I was pleased to have enjoyed my foray into a new skill and ready to move on to the other thing.

Maybe the thing you’re passionate about is finding opportunities to bring people together. Maybe you’re passionate about creative outlets. And maybe those things look different each time you do them. By no means does that make you hobby-less or uninteresting.

Ask yourself not what your hobbies or passions are. Ask yourself how you like to feel. And how you can keep that feeling.

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