Recently, I’ve been sharing chapters from the book that I wrote during and subsequently following the initial two Hobby Hoarder years. Now several years removed from the project and a few years older, I thought it might be time to reflect even more deeply. I’ll still share chapters from the book. But wanted to share what I consider to be an “out-cerpt.”
It’s been five years since I initiated the Hobby Hoarder project, and sometimes I find myself pondering how it was possible—How could I have ever done one hobby each week, how could I have ever afforded it, how could I have ever preached that anything was possible when now at points I feel so tired, when the bills are so big, when I prefer a Friday night at home to a Friday night out; when time moves so fast.
The truth is that as we age—our bodies change, our minds change, and our lives change. I didn’t believe people when they told me that. Some people said “Just wait until you’re older. Life will be different. You won’t be able to keep up with the hobbies. You’ll have more responsibilities. It won’t be easy. ” I didn’t want to listen to these people. I thought they were just naysayers and debbie downers.
You see, when I was the Hobby Hoarder, I came to feel invincible. I was ziplining through mountains, I was diving out of airplanes, I was swinging around poles, I was tap dancing through studios. I had no fear.
Except the truth is I did.
When thinking back, it’s easy to remember all that fun, terrifying, exhilarating stuff.
But when I was doing the hobby hoarder project, life was much different: sure I was younger and had more energy. But the big — really important parts of my life— were much, much in disarray:
-I was a freelancer–who always worried about what job I was going to find next, and if I lost my current job, would I ever find the next one?
-I was still in the closet, worried what coming out would mean–worried not just about what friends and family might think, but how I would feel–and if I would get to the point of self-love.
-I was single and not in a place to be in a relationship.
-I was battling depression.
-I cared a lot about what people thought of me.
-I hid my most deepest thoughts.
-I struggled with my most deepest thoughts.
When I took on The Hobby Hoarder persona, I transformed into a confident, outgoing, dedicated, determined, human who no one could tear down.
I was my own superhero, battling my internal struggles by becoming more outgoing, more courageous, more energetic, more positive. By taking some of my fears and facing them head on while I avoided the other ones.
I realize now that all the “nay-sayers” and “Debbie Downers” were quite right about two things:
– Life as I’ve gotten older isn’t always easy.
– And it is much different than when I was 24.
But what the tone in their voice got wrong when they told me those two things, was that it would be different and probably much more difficult:
The truth is, that even when I struggle, and even when the days are tough: Life is different. Life is better.
Even though some days I find myself to be more tired, to be more anxious, and to be just as insecure–I’m constantly reminded that I’m in a much better place now than I could have ever been then. It is in my most raw and vulnerable moments that I have to take a pause to realize this. It is in the moments where I stop feeling invincible–I have to remind myself that I am and can be. It is in our tough moments, where we come out stronger on the other side.
The best part of it all is that now, at 29, I don’t need the cloak of the The Hobby Hoarder.
-I have a full-time job.
–I’m out of the closet, and couldn’t be more comfortable with that. My family and friends also could not have been more perfect in that struggle.
-I’m in a relationship with someone who I love. Someone who makes each day better than the last. Someone who I might never have met 5 years ago–when my heart wasn’t open or ready.
-I’ve cut all my hair off, and finally enjoy taking the time to look at myself in the mirror and see who I’ve become.
-I still struggle at times, but I’ve learned to admit the struggles. I’ve sought out help and therapy.
-I’m honest and open (sometimes some will argue too honest and too open).
-I ultimately have good intentions.
-I have morals and values.
-I have more responsibility. I still struggle with stress and doubt and worry. Because of this, I tend to share the little thoughts inside my head–for better or for worse.
-I’ve got the best friends in the world: honest and loving ones who tell me when I’m being a little crazy. When I’m being selfish. Who tell me when I can do better, who offer advice on how to do better.
-And I’ve got people in my life who let me know mistakes are okay, but remind me to move on from them. I have people in my life who remind me that perfection is often in our imperfection.
When I think about the Hobby Hoarder years, and everything that was possible—everything I was capable of, and then I take the time to see how much has changed since those years—I feel lucky. I didn’t think life could get better than when I was doing all those hobbies. I thought that was life. and I didn’t think life could be better than those moments.
I was wrong.
And I’m glad I was.
Life moves. It changes. But it’s always something we should and can continue to conquer, and the world–something we can always strive to be on top of.
And if we are lucky, we’ll reach the top, a little bit wiser as well.