Those are the risks of falling in love, aren’t they? First that your passion can consume – if not all of you, then part of you. It can pull you in, give you chance to find a new side of yourself, to express yourself, provide an outlet, a channel for your creative self, even a sense of release. But if you take a break, perhaps to focus on something else, because there’s only so much of you, your time and energy, to go around… does it go away, and for good? And can you regain that desire—should you try?
It’s a common story. In my case for a pastime, a creative pursuit. Months since I have written very much, aside from a few scribbled notes, scattered ideas, observations, phrases that seemed a good idea at the time. This after a daily habit – at least ‘something every day’, almost a superstition, that if I stopped, the practice would fall away. Not, as it turns out, an unfounded concern.
Real life, as they say, got in the way. Until that became something of an excuse. I lost the knack for getting into ‘flow’, what Hungarian-American psychologist Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi described as “a state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter.” For a while.
And then what?
Anhedonia is ‘the inability to feel pleasure and motivation from normally pleasurable activities. It’s applied to those people who have lost interest in activities they used to enjoy. It’s from the Greek, ‘an’ being a prefix for ‘without’, and ‘hedone’, meaning pleasure, delight—you’ll be familiar with the word ‘hedonism’, too.
Now I don’t want to get dramatic or self-pitying. Anhedonia can be used in Psychology to describe a general feel of decreased pleasure, a general detachment that may be symptomatic of a depressive disorder. That, lucky me, is not the case here. Still, it’s a useful term.
So if I’ve lost that lovin’ feeling about one, fairly discrete, area of my life, does that matter? It’s not something I depend upon, was particularly successful at, or ‘need’ in any material sense. Could be time to move on.
Yet. Well, I think the attraction is still in me somewhere. I miss it. The creative outlet, yes. The sense of achievement – sometimes. The freedom to write / do what I want in an otherwise dutiful life – fanciful, but yes, I think so.
I am not disinterested; it’s just become easier not to do it. And that’s not the same thing. It’s too easy to believe your time would be ‘better spent elsewhere’.
So I will reconnect. Reignite.
I have made a start, by reflecting, remembering what I enjoyed about it—not hard to recall. The hard bit is next: making time for it again. Today.
I am opening up some old writing, drafts I haven’t looked at in a while, prepared for them to be—terrible. Is there anything more mortifying than reading something you wrote months ago (or years)? What that experience will be like, whether that will help, I’ll write up in a future post.
Have you ever attempted to regain a lost passion – what did you do to get it back?