Conversations with Your Younger Self

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In today’s busy world, it’s easy to rush through life and forget about the things that truly make us happy. Our hobbies and dreams often take a backseat to the obligations of everyday life. 

It doesn’t have to be this way.   

I was recently encouraged by a colleague to take a walk down memory lane to think about hobbies and interests I had when I was younger. 

An April 2020 CNN article, for example, explored how people are using COVID-19 as a way to get back into the things they used to enjoy. My colleague told me that, even if my former interests were considered nerdy at the time, I should look back with fondness at whatever it was that made me happy. I would encourage you to do the same. Do you keep up with any of these things today? If so, then great! You are clearly living at least some version of a dream you had in your youth. If not, you can find ways to incorporate those elements into your daily life. 

Go back in time

For example, as a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? Did you want to be an astronaut? A traveling marine biologist? Did you randomly belt out tunes in the hopes of being discovered by a Broadway producer? Also, what hobbies did you enjoy? Did you love birdwatching? Did you dabble in cross-stitching? Were LEGOs a way of life for you? Were you a rebellious reader who enjoyed reading shocking titles in plain view of everyone? 

For me, growing up in a family of professional athletes and entrepreneurs, my passions for sports and business were clearly defined at a young age. My passion for sports hit a major pause 15 years ago due to a cascade of injuries, but I was able to find happiness in business ownership. But as any entrepreneur can relate, business ownership doesn’t leave much room for other passions and activities that used to really matter.

One of the activities I discovered during this reflection exercise was golf. Honestly, I wasn’t sure whether I still had an interest for golf or not, especially since I had spent exactly zero minutes thinking about it in the decade removed.  But I decided it was worth a try. At worst, it was a day spent outside bonding with my father. At best, I would rediscover a hobby I genuinely loved but stopped because a never ending list of perceived priorities had replaced it. 

Totally worth it

Fortunately for me, but not without a degree of anguish from my girlfriend (who is an angel), I was hooked off the first tee. I dove back into this activity full force. Since then, golf has been a weekly refuge that helps me clear my thoughts, deepen relationships with my friends (who golf, of course), and elevate above the day-to-day to gain perspective on what I want and don’t want in my life. 

Whatever it is for you, you can still be involved in the passions and activities of your youth today. But it requires YOU to make time to reflect and reimagine what brought you joy and excitement when life was simpler. The truth is, life can be simple. It’s us who have changed. We have succumbed to a world that’s eager to prioritize our days and tell us which obligations and responsibilities to worry about. 

Now take a moment

For this reason, I encourage you to take a minute this weekend to reflect on the younger you and the hobbies and activities you used to enjoy. What’s one that you could try on for size next week? That’s all you have to do – no need to force it. If that activity still provides joy, you’ll find a way to incorporate it. If not, move on to the next.

Ultimately this practice is not about doing more. It’s about doing the essential over the extraneous. It’s about prioritizing joy, not because it’s easier, but because it’s better. 

1% better, every day in every way.

Evan Shy, 

Founder & CEO of hiitide

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