The Evolution of Interests

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Many, if not most of us are well invested in our interests, and by interests I mean hobbies, subjects we actively pursue knowledge and experience in. We tend to self-identify with these interests and let it take form with the self as part of who we are. An example would be being a gamer, a bookworm, a body-builder, a baker, a huntsman, a fisherman and whatever you please, I think you get the idea. These interests are developed over long-periods of time and sometimes it’s so strong that we continue with that interest all our life, maybe even pursuing a career in that interest. But what about when we lose an interest?

Losing an interest seems to be something that doesn’t happen as often as taking an interest, or at least it’s not nearly as apparent. Nobody ever says “I’ve stopped knitting”, but I’m sure plenty of people have said “I’ve taken up knitting”. I believe the reason for this is that people do become attached to these interests as they feel it is part of who they are, that they’d be someone different if they lacked said hobby. Either that or they don’t want to be seen as giving up on something. Now, if losing an interest means losing a part of who you are, then is that change resisted?

Well, in my opinion, the change is only resisted when the change in character is conscious and not accepted by the individual. In the past 2-3 years I’ve personally experienced this very thing with video games.

From a very young age I played video games religiously, it was easily my biggest interest, one I used to put hours into every day. This only continued through primary and secondary school. However from about age 17 onwards (I’m almost age 20 as of writing this) I’ve noticed my interest diminish. What is interesting though is that I’ll still try to play, I’ll still attempt to convince myself that I’m interested in the next ground-breaking release. No matter what though, I’ll always feel that little niggle in the back of my skull reminding me that this is all a pitiful charade of self-delusion. Nowadays I’m lucky to be seen playing games for even a couple of hours per week, sometimes not even at all, and I know I’m not accepting my waning interest. I assume that I reject the change because it’s taking away what I thought I was.

I’m coming to accept the change though, that I might not be such a gamer any more. I prefer to invest myself in more productive activities like writing, reading, studying and working. Plus more active interests like weight-lifting, social outings, visiting friends and family and more. The benefits of this change are clear, though the mind seems like it still has attachments to break independent of the body. I know I’ll never “give up” playing games, I mean why consciously deprive myself of something that might pique my interest? However I think some self-reflection and more novel experiences will help solidify my ever-changing idea of self, that as an individual I am not simply the sum of my interests. They’ll continue to be added and dispensed of with time like natural selection.

The bottom line is that your interests do not solely dictate who you are, so embrace the change. To fight it is to suppress the evolution of self and your journey to becoming the strongest version of yourself. Allow yourself to delve in and out of everything and anything as you grow without regrets.

– Jamie

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Featured Image: ©Roo Reynolds