How to Get the Life You Want
Ask yourself: Is there a passion you've abandoned because there's no room for it in your "real life"?
Photography or tennis or painting or sewing or...?
The mountain of responsibilities we take on as adults often leads us to
abandon activities that once brought us joy. Maybe as a child you lived for
tennis camp, but haven't picked up a racket since you had your own kids. For
42-year-old Denise Mabilog of Swedesboro, NJ, the fantasy of becoming a
photographer—a dream she clung to through the time she graduated college—gave
way to a challenging law career.
Why do we let go of pastimes we love? According to Fortgang, adulthood—and
all that comes with it—makes us feel like we're not allowed to pursue
activities just for sheer pleasure. Hobbies become indulgences that we get to
enjoy after all the "important stuff" is done (and what a joke that
is—how often does your to-do list get shorter?!).
Fortunately, passions are persistent—as much as you try to push 'em away,
they're always there, itching to be let back into your life. As Mabilog can
attest, reigniting a dream is well worth it: "I used to tell myself that
photography would be a waste of time," she says. "Now I take pictures
every day. I even set up a portrait studio in my basement! My life is busier
than ever, but it's richer than ever, too!" Here's how to rekindle your
Step 1: Give yourself permission.
When you think, I should use my time for more productive things, tell
yourself that your dream activity does have a purpose—namely, to give you
happiness, which will buoy you as you tackle everyday tasks, from preparing
dinner to leading a meeting at work.
To make your commitment stick, get "permission" from your family,
too, by explaining why you want the time. Mabilog's husband and son worried
that her photography hobby would steal her away from them, but once she
emphasized how passionate she was about her dream and that they wouldn't be
neglected, their anxieties vanished. "When I told my 8-year-old how much my
hobby meant to me, he really got it," she says. "Now, when new
equipment for my studio comes in the mail, he's the first to say, 'Mom! Let's
go set this stuff up!'"