For years, I had one passion: dance.
What activities did I nurture on the side when I wasn’t dancing?
Not much to be honest. Dance was everything to me.
That became a problem when I left the dance world, and all I had left was my day job.
One of the reasons I advocate for nurturing interests on the side is because I remember what it was like to have dance be my world, and when I chose to leave that world due to burnout, I felt oh-so-very lost.
So, what was next for me?
I kept on moving. I started running. I did a 5k, half and full marathon one year. The next year I got into triathlons. The year after that was cycling. And the year after that was a year of hot yoga.
The year after that, I lost touch with movement for many years. I had a very dark period where depression and emotional eating ruled my life. I stopped moving for a while. Eventually I went back to the gym and got into weight lifting and boxing. Then came COVID and a back injury. Then came ACA/12 step and recovery.
Within this time, I got very into personal development in searching for a solution to make myself feel better and trying to figure out why I was so depressed and felt so awful.
During COVID came an interest in orchids and growing other tropical houseplants. I enjoyed this so much I started my own business in May of 2021 called The Rare Plant Haus.
All throughout this time period I tried art classes of different sorts. I kept on moving even when I felt low and didn’t feel like moving my body.
Nurture side interests that you’re curious about while you perform your main passion because when you’re at the top of your craft, burnout your main passion is inevitable.
It’s not just me saying burnout is inevitable. It’s human nature. It’s the 10 year/10,000 hour rule. At some point in your life, you’re going to want to change course and do something different.
If you wait until burnout occurs, you decide to leave your passion, and you haven’t nurtured anything else on the side, then you’re going to be a beginner and brand new at everything. Being a beginner at everything isn’t a bad thing, but you may not want to be like me and be the beginner at everything at the same time. Learning a LOT of new things at the same time is hard for anyone. It leads to the possibility of feeling like you’re not very good at anything. It’s not a fun way to feel.
If you nurture side interests you have and explore new things that aren’t front and center with your main passion, then you can enjoy being a beginner. You get to learn new things and find out what you like and don’t like about said interest and if you even want to pursue it or not.
This advice is applicable to anyone, not just athletes. If you don’t nurture any side hobbies, then what happens when you don’t want to work in your field anymore? What other skills do you have to move into a new field? I would say none if you don’t spend time developing your other interests.
All of the things I thought I was bad at simply was because I was a beginner are now some of my main focuses: blogging and writing regularly as part of my business, wanting to live an active life again that does NOT involve dance, when I got back into fitness and movement I wanted to run, bike and swim. I’m not a beginner at any of these things anymore. I may not be great at them yet, but I know I enjoy them and can make a living doing them. These are all things I’m pursuing right now or will be very soon in the future.
What I need to ask myself now is: what’s next? The side things I did from 2011 to 2022 to build new interests are now my main focus.
What new things am I going to try out and be a total beginner at so that I’ll have new interests when these passions I have now inevitably fade?
I’m aware that burnout will occur for me. I burnt out after 10 years of teaching dance. I burnt out after 12 years in the real estate/title examiner world. Based on my history, with work and athletics, I am asking myself right now, what would I like to do in the future so that I don’t (hopefully) repeat history and burn out with no clue as to what comes next. I don’t want to have to spend a decade developing new main passions because I lose interest in present day interests.
If I take the time to nurture a new hobby or two now, then I reduce the chances of feeling lost and with a huge time void with nothing to fill said time.
Burnout happens. You might fall out of love with the thing you enjoy the most. This doesn’t just happen to athletes. Many people start out in life with 9-5 job they enjoy and by the time they hit their 40s or 50s, they’re looking for what is next. Or worse…they get stuck. They stay because they don’t know what else to do.
What’s next for you? Need help figuring it out? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s talk it out.