What’s This? – Differentiating Hobbies and Passions

I spent the last three years struggling to discover who I really am as a 20-something post-diagnosis with depression. None of the work was easy, but one aspect gave me the most trouble: my passion(s) versus my hobbies. When you spend that many years living in indifference, how do you figure out the differences between the two? After reading my experience, let me know yours in the comments below!

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Consistency Throughout Life

The more consistently an activity or theme appears in your life timeline, the closer you should hold it. My earlier phases of self-discovery led me down the path of beauty and fashion. I grew up being a tomboy, so that was uncharted territory for me. (I threw on raccoon-like eyeliner in the past, but that was it.) As I dug into it deeper, I enjoyed it. I found a fresh creative outlet to explore; even better, I was good at it.

Despite my joy about finding something new, it never sparked that fire inside of me to succeed. Nor did it give me a feeling closer to wholeness like I desired. Those two aspects were fun, and I enjoyed doing them. But they were definitely hobbies since I lacked the passion (though I felt the enjoyment). Passions feel stronger and evoke more thought, drive, emotion, and energy. And one thing always returned like a boomerang: writing.

I’ve written since childhood, but I had periods where I stopped. (I posted about the worst period previously on my blog.) Despite all of that, it always stayed consistent in coming back to me, and I found a whole new joy in the activity nowadays. Growing up, while I enjoyed the act of writing, it acted more as a catharsis or escape from reality. It still is today sometimes, but I find myself having more fun with it and challenging myself unlike I used to in the past. I find ways to create even if I’m not “inspired” to do so because that’s what true writers do to challenge themselves and bring out their best work. I feel so confident in myself about writing, now, that I am willing to share my work in the world…something I never thought I would really do.

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