A Place for Some Ideas and Ramblings to Reside

Monday, September 5, 2011

Too Many Interests

I'm sure that I'm not the only person that has this problem: I want to do EVERYTHING! When I learn about a new subject or activity, or maybe hobby, I want to participate in it. I can, right now, think of about six things right off the top of my head that I'd like to spend some time doing. There is, of course, an obvious problem with  having such extensive interests. I know that I will likely never do all of the things that I'm interested in. I need to prioritize.

But, how should I prioritize. Well, the act itself should tell me, right? I put the most important or interesting hobbies up at the top, and then the rest follow in decreasing interest or importance. This might work for some people, but I seem to be equally interested in all of these "extra curricular" activities. For example, I would really like to write science fiction. This, in itself, is not really a problem. I don't have any particular experience with writing, but I enjoy reading and analyzing stories so I would think that, with enough time, I could learn what I need to know and practice writing to the point that I enjoy my stories. But this means that I have to take time from another hobby or potential hobby. If I'm using my evening hours to read and practice writing, it's going to be really hard to be outside looking at stars and nurturing my amateur astronomy hobby.

I know that this is not rocket science. I should be able to make these personal decisions personally. It isn't an easy job, though. Some of the hobbies are expensive and get saved for later in life. That aspect makes decisions easier, but the temporal component is always an issue. I've talked with friends (some of you, I'm guessing) about life after starting a job, and we've come to the conclusion that hobbies and hobby management are important aspects of life after employment. Jobs really seem to require use to structure our free time in order to maximize its potential. Otherwise it is very easy to feel like you're just spinning your wheels when you're not on the job.

So, like I said at the beginning, I know that this isn't a unique problem. I'm interested in hearing your thoughts about and solutions to this issue. It's not that I don't think I can get through this problem alone, but I don't like reinventing the wheel, either. What do you think?


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  2. Well, we've talked about this before... and I think we both agree there is no real answer to that question. I also feel that, with time, our interests get much more defined and we also become much more realistic and it's not as difficult to accept the truth: there is not enough time. When I do my readings for my papers and dissertation, I come up with some authors who have seriously written about EVERYTHING. And I'm not only talking about articles, but whole books. I always wonder how did they do that.

    Well, most of these authors I'm talking about lived during the first half of the 20th century. They were professors, in most cases. I feel that back then, what was required of them was much less; they also had wives who took care of the children; they were not expected to spend much of their time "playing with the kids", or anything like that. With a good career position and the family business taken care of, I guess it was easier to dedicate their time to their own interests.

    However, life today demands so much more from people... We live longer, but I think that we live less: our time is mostly spent working. That makes us so tired that we also spend a big portion sleeping and resting. When we're not working or relaxing, we are working on our personal lives (family, friends...). After this 3 simple things, the amount of time left for "other interests" is minimal.

    In conclusion, blame the fast pace of life that humans as a group have decided to get into for our lack of time for "extra-curricular" activities, as you call them. Suggestions? Move to a small town in Spain; get a nice, not too demanding job, and enjoy the slow rhythm of life and the time for yourself and your ideas...

  3. I find that regular light exercise helps me focus, and better manage my time. You have to accept that you can't do everything.