How ignoring the side hustle helped me find happiness

Growing up, I was an extracurricular girlie and my hobbies meant everything to me, especially Irish dancing. Despite my mum being Scottish, she sent me off to an Irish dancing class one Saturday and we never looked back. 

Each weekend, we traipsed around the country for classes and competitions (printed-out map directions to boot), which we both loved. 

A far cry from adulthood, where most of our time is spent working towards something, or creating a side hustle, my childhood hobby was all about joy – something lacking as we grow up.

Tori was dedicated to Irish dancing as a teen

Upsettingly, I had to give up Irish dancing after an unrelated head injury, and for 12 years I had no time to dedicate to hobbies. 

But giving up our hobbies in favour of concentrating on our careers and side hustles can be detrimental to our wellbeing – and doing something just for the fun of it is essential for happiness in adulthood.

Angela Karanja, wellbeing psychologist and founder of Raising Remarkable Teenagers, told me that hobbies can reduce stress and enhance our wellbeing, and this is especially true when it comes to picking up childhood hobbies again.

“Imagine the fulfillment that comes with the nostalgic reconnection, revisiting unfinished business, reconnecting with the lost identity and the joy of possible social reconnection with the people that have similar interests with us?” she says. 

ADULTHOOD: Is this the reason we’re all so exhausted right now? 

With this in mind, I sought out Irish dancing classes near me, went along and haven’t looked back since. 

Ignoring the end goal

It’s rare that we do something just for the sake of it as adults, and that is where the joy in hobbies can be found – no side hustle, no money to be made and no content to be created. Just existing in that moment for no other reason than joy (and a bit of exercise for good measure). 

Angela explains that we live in a society where we focus on the end goal, but casting this aside can be freeing. Although she believes that monetising our hobbies isn’t a bad thing, she does note the benefits to be had when we partake in them purely for joy and fulfilment. 

RELATED: How my childhood hobby adds sparkle to my day 

“There’s nowhere to go, there’s no beginning, no end. Just pleasure. It’s such a fantastic place to be,” Angela says. 

The bottom line? Having a hobby for the sake of enjoyment is one of the “crucial elements for a balanced and fulfilling life.” 

Tori rediscovered her love of Irish dancing

For me, reconnecting with my old passion helped me better establish that work/life balance, add another hour of fun into my week and help tap into that childlike fun again. 

 Check out HELLO!’s Happiness Hub for more inspiration on how to be happy

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