On pursuing interests and hobbies
Meraki / (May • Rah • Kee) / origin: Greek / (v): to do something with soul, creativity, or love; when you leave a piece of yourself in your work
I went over to my buddy Simon’s apartment one night and caught him in the middle of experimenting with a new recipe. He was working on a cured salmon dish and I watched as he giddily prepared a brine to soak the delicate pieces in. He then proceeded to show me a wooden block he purchased. On the surface, it looked like a useless rectangle of cherry wood. But it was muchmore than that. It was a smoking block that added depth and aroma into the fish. It was another skill acquired from his list of “must-learn” cooking techniques. It was a demonstration of his alacrity to appreciate the culinary arts and do it justice. No short cuts, this man means fucking business. He didn’t have to paint me a picture. From the ways he excitedly explained to me how he basted his Thanksgiving turkey or prepared his special roasted broccoli, I knew cooking had became a genuine interest for him.
I’m not here to tell you how to find your hobbies. You can find innumerable articles out there giving you advice on how to dabble here and there to discover them. Lists of suggested activities saturate the internet and we get it — practice makes perfect! However, it’s important to frame how we view our hobbies. Who are we doing it for? Why are we doing it? What can it do for us?
The most important thing to remember is that any interest you decide to pursue is first and foremost for yourself. You do it because you want to. You do it because even if you fucking suck at it and produce mediocre results, you still practice and commit to it because you simply enjoy it. You enjoy the process of learning it. You keep working on it to get better. You endure the bad to get to the good. You found value in it that you personally defined.
You’ll know when you find it. You’ll feel it. You know what I’m talking about. It’s that spark. It’s that tingle you feel throughout your body when you strum the chords on your instrument. It’s that electrifying jolt you get when you take that picture perfect shot or that satisfying sensation you experience when you pull the glistening pot roast out of the oven.
However, it’s not enough just finding it. For passion is not something you find — but what you bring.
Take my good pal Chris for example. The dude’s a great photographer but what I admire or take-away from him the most is the thought he puts behind everything leading up to his pictures. He does research on all aspects of his photography. From curating lists of destinations to shoot at to looking up other photographers for inspiration, he does it with genuine purpose. It’s not solely the results but also the actual act of acquiring those results that makes everything more worthwhile for him. It’s watching the fruits of his labors translate on screen and come alive!!! Now that’s fucking passion.
Submerge yourself in a space of cultivation. Surround yourself with people who foster and encourage creativity. Jim Rohn famously said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with” so factoring in some passionate characters will not only catalyze your growth but enhance your craft as well.
I consider myself pretty ‘effin lucky. I’m around writers, photographers, and artists who inspire me in my own pursuits. I’m around people who have figured out their interests and interwined their identities with them. I’m around people who work on their crafts and embody meraki.
There are going to be times where the spark will eventually subside. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve given up on a project, I’d probably accumulate enough money to make up for the amount wasted on overpriced iced lattes (yet here I am, indulging in one anyways). But like a relationship, you stay committed and continue to work on it until you rediscover the passion in ways different — but better, than before.
And the yield will be fruitful.
Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.
It doesn’t matter what it is. Starting your own cooking blog? Oh yup! Producing your own music? Hell yeah! Making handmade sweaters for tortoises to sell online? Don’t-ask-me-how-I-know-this-exists-but-fuck yes!!!
If you find yourself really enjoying something, go figure! Hold onto that feeling and keep putting in the work. Make that shit yours and yours only. That, to me, will make you a certified bad-ass.
Passion is what keeps us from being stagnant and the activities we choose to dedicate ourselves to contribute to the human experience of not only feeling but being alive.