Adulthood and Passion: when writers stop writing

I am the writer who doesn’t write.

In college I told myself I didn’t have the time, and the excuse seemed valid at the time. Between full time employment, full-time classes, homework, and commutes- I barely had time to breathe. My writing suffered, but I scribbled when I could and dreamed of graduation. I told myself after college that I’d use my free time to work on writing and publishing, but here I am over a year later with scarcely a short story to my name. The thing is, I’m not alone in this. It’s a tale so old it’s gone beyond a trope and grown into a cliche; I am the writer who doesn’t actually write, just as there are dancers who don’t dance, runners who don’t run, painters who don’t paint, and musicians who no longer play.

Why do we stop?

I remember reading an article in college about how many adults never read a full book again after graduation, and others about artists and athletes stop practicing their gifts as adults. Frankly, those words depressed me as did thinking about how often people stop doing what they love once the dreams from their youth die. Why do so many adults forget to make time for the hobbies and activities they loved so much? Do we simply lose heart as work, bills, children, and responsibilities consume us? Do we convince ourselves that those joys are a frivolous waste of time? Or, do we simply forget how to enjoy the process when adulthood taught us to seek results?

Maybe it’s easier when we are young.

As children we are told to follow our dreams, and encouraged to develop our gifts. WE take classes and school (and sometimes out of school), and we have friends with shared interests. We go to camps and training. We have clubs and showcases. We enter contests and win awards… we have every reason to keep doing what we love. Then, we become adults and that all stops. Few make careers out of their passion. Few have the resources to join teams or the motivation to share their work. Soon, they wonder why they should do it at all.

I don’t want to stop.

I doubt I’ll ever make money from my writing. I doubt I’ll become famous or win any awards. That doesn’t mean that my hobby is a waste of time. Writing has always been a part of who I am. It’s always been a way for me to unwind, de-stress, use my creativity, and make the world make sense. How could I willing let that go?

Maybe I am naive for believing that adulthood shouldn’t mean sacrificing your passion. Maybe I’m just lucky that my particular passion is one that can be practiced without expensive equipment or other people. Still, I wonder how many old souls wish they haven’t left their childhood joys behind as they aged. I wonder if they will find their way back to the outlets that saved them in their youth.

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