A couple of weeks ago I read an article in the Evening Standard Magazine. It was written by Jimi Famurewa, a 32 year old lapsed teen skateboarder who took skateboarding up again at the age of 30. It is a great article about re-finding your passion.
There is a quote from the article that has stuck with me over the past couple of weeks.
…. ‘the thing most people say to me when they see me skating is that they wish they had stuck with whatever it is they used to love when they were younger,’
I will admit that I read this late on a Friday evening on the way home from some beers with friends. I have great ideas, or ideas that seem like great ideas when I have had a few beers. Most of the time, I wake up the next day and they don’t seem like great ideas anymore or they seem a little stupid. I forget about them and never do anything about them.
Maybe that is what Jimi felt or thought for a while. He talks about an itch he could not scratch. He could have done nothing about it and he would have never have rekindled his love for skateboarding. And that would have been really sad. Jimi found out what happens when you revive a former passion and has found camaraderie with fellow “old man” skaters, a social element and found skateboarding to be a stress reliever.
I used to love lots of things when I was younger. Some have fallen by the wayside and some, I still do. I still run and ride my bike, so I have not lost all my childhood passions. But the article made me think about a couple of things I still love, but either don’t do at all or not as frequently as I like.
My favourite hobby is Snowboarding. I learnt to ski when I was young and did it for a further 10 years before I got my head turned by the then new and trendy sport of snowboarding. I wanted to do it so much that I used to cycle (too young to drive) to the dry ski slope so I could learn and practice. I spent a season after University washing dishes in a kitchen so I could snowboard every day. This is not a hobby that I can do every day living in London. It needs a fair bit of kit, a mountain and some snow.
I tend to go snowboarding only one week a year (maybe two) but this year I did not go at all. Why is that? This is my favourite thing in the world. I did move house in January, and there were some renovations to do too, but I should not have really put off my favourite thing. I could have made it happen if I wanted to and it is sad that I didn’t. For as many years as I can remember, I have also been talking about going to the USA or Canada in search of perfect champagne powder. I have still never been. I have had plenty of opportunities to do so. I need to stop talking about it and take action.
My other passion is Rugby. I played from 6 years old to the age of 17. I was a reasonable player and have a good reading of the game. This passion now manifests itself as watching the English Premiership highlights on a Sunday, any England Internationals and British and Irish Lions Tours and the odd trip the Twickenham to watch Harlequins. I have always thought I would like to take it up again. I am not going to play the full contact 15 a side version, but I just want to keep my hand in. I think the competitive side of it will do me good. For a year or so I have been thinking about playing Touch Rugby. This is the version where the 18 stone guy does not pile drive your head into the ground, but a “non contact” variety where all the running, positioning and passing skills I love are still very much part of the game.
Just like Jimi, it is an itch I have not been able to scratch, or have chosen not to scratch. I am sure there are lots of local rugby clubs that have touch rugby sessions. I know it is one of the ways that the Rugby Football Union is using to try and encourage people to start playing again. There are also local touch rugby leagues and tournaments I could try. I just need to get out there and do it.
What is it that you used to love when they were younger? It does not have to be sport. Was it painting? Writing? Knitting? Dancing? Playing cards? Model making? All pastimes stimulate your brain and make you feel more energetic. They have a positive influence on mood reducing the feelings of anxiety and depression. There is also the social aspect and it gives you an identity.
When I was still at school, I played for a local men’s basketball team. It was pretty much make up of kids from my school across 3 or 4 school years. One day a guy called Barry turned up. He was maybe in his early to mid-40s. I could be wrong; it is hard to tell when you’re 16. We welcomed him into the team. To be fair to Barry, he was not your typical basketball player (not that many of us were). He had a bit of a belly; he was fairly short, not hugely athletic and not really an amazing basketball player. But, you know what he had. He had a passion for a sport, and he took the time to find a club and had the balls to take a chance and turn up one day hoping he would be welcomed to a team and be part of it.
I took being in a team for granted back then. It was me just hanging with my mates and playing at bit of basketball. Sadly, Barry died in a motorcycle accident fairly soon after joining us. I think he only played with us for one season, or maybe even less. I did not know him hugely well but he was a lovely guy and his death was a shock. What really got me is when his wife turned up to a training session after his death to thank us all for making him feel so welcome and said how much the team and being part of the team had meant to him. I had no idea. It took my breath away and still does.
That is what reviving his passion for basketball did for Barry. I am probably not that far off Barry’s age now. I do not know why he came to play again. It doesn’t matter really. The point is he got off his sofa and decided he was going to play again and he went and did it. I respect him massively for that.
If there is something that has been gnawing away at the back of your brain about that thing you used to love and it keeps coming back. Be like Jimi or Barry and give it a go!
Have you revived an old passion? Let me know by leaving a comment below.