My toxic trait is that I turn all my hobbies and interests into a hustle when they should just stay hobbies and interests. (My other toxic trait is ordering way too much BTS merch and never opening it.) Anyone else relate?
I don’t know when it no longer became cool to just do things we like and leave that full stop, but I would like to return to that lovely time before being a professional influencer ruined things for the rest of us. Like, if people want to monetize every damn thing they do, more power to them, but I’m noping out.
Now, I do have to clarify: it’s not exactly a brave decision.
I’m not walking away from some million dollar empire cobbled together from a dream and an excellent side profile. (More clarifying: I have it all except that million dollar empire.)
In fact, I’m really not changing much of anything in my life except letting go of this idea that I have to turn every stray thought I have into a business.
If someone could turn my hobbies of buying all the BTS merch and attending all the K-pop concerts into a million dollar empire without any effort on my part, let’s go! But sadly, I’m just your typical schmuck who loves BTS a totally ordinary amount.
I have made some money, but nowhere near enough to justify all the time and effort I’ve put into getting traction or fame or whatever it is that I wanted. Mostly, my husband Not Yoongi just sighs and metaphorically pats me on the back for occasionally attempting to freelance. (He must like me alright though because I keep having his children. Maybe Not Yoongi just likes children.)
What was I talking about again?
Oh, right. Opting out of the hustle.
Why can’t I just do the things I want to do?
No, seriously. Why can’t I?
For instance, I wanted to go on a writing retreat either by myself or with some friends. And then, because of a random (unrelated) group chat conversation, I thought I should turn the retreat into an EVENT under BraznAzn because a few years ago, I had considered creating an intimate retreat for Asian American influencers. (Spoiler alert: I won 2nd place and $1,500 for this idea back in 2020 right before the pandemic.)
My brain spun out a ton of scenarios and then promptly started to lowkey freak out.
Who did I think I was? Why would a stranger want to join this thing if I didn’t add more value and add a ton of things onto the event (that I did not want)? I don’t have the clout or the reach to fill this thing ON MY OWN. What favors did I have to call to fill it?
And then, my brain did me a solid.
Just because I can doesn’t mean I should
I asked myself what I wanted, and what I wanted was to go on a writing retreat with either myself or some friends, spend most of the day writing, eat out once or twice and then eat in the rest of the time, and hang out with some friends during the evenings.
And so, that’s what I decided I would do. (And I did! It’s set for the first weekend of November!)
(Also, if you had your heart set on paying around $650 to join my writing research, don’t fret. You can plan your own!! All it involves is renting the AirBnb and then getting some fellow enthusiasts to go with you!)
It’s okay to do something just because I want to do it
Now, this might be self-explanatory to most of you. After all, people plan trips for themselves all the time! Why then did I feel such pressure to make a simple writing retreat for myself into an event for others to consume?
I do this a lot.
Even me revamping my newsletter and restarting blogging again gets corrupted by thoughts of eventually turning these into a book or getting enough notice by some fictional agent who will become so enamored by my writing they will offer me a contract on sight.
I feel obligated to make money off my interests because otherwise, I just have extremely expensive hobbies. But why not? Why can’t I just have extremely expensive hobbies?
Why can’t I just do something for myself? Why does it need to be justified? Why have I trained myself into commodifying my life for other people’s consumption?
I’m not even good at it
The super dumb thing is: I’m terrible at entrepreneurial life. I really am.
I hate having the responsibility of everything riding on me and me only. I hate it.
This is, in part, why I hated being a financial advisor. I despised prospecting. (I also despised managing money because I couldn’t stand being responsible for people’s finances in this manner.)
I just want someone to give me some discrete tasks, show me how to do them if I don’t know how to already, and then I’ll do it. I’m so good at following instructions! This is why I’m great at putting together furniture, data entry, and anything that is mindless and repetitive.
I find it meditative.
But give me an administrative task and I immediately crumble. If it involves calling someone or research of any kind, good luck. I guess late fees were invented for people such as I.
I am a good enough reason
I keep going on tangents (except these tangents are my favorite part). This is how my mind works and eventually, we get to the point. (Incidentally, this is why SEO’ing my site is so difficult.)
What I’m beginning to suspect, however, is that the real reason I feel as if I must monetize all my hobbies is because my liking them just because I like them does not feel like it’s a good enough reason.
I am not a good enough reason.
On my own, I am a line item debit, but as a hustle, there’s the promise of future line item credit. Except, the credit never seems to be soon enough, the debit always too high.
We can just be
I wish I had some quippy ending line, but I don’t. Nor do I have anything remotely helpful like “TK Ways to Combat Burnout.” (Although, I did write that article two years ago because I was feeling burned out and surprise! It did not help.)
This is my reminder that I can just be. I don’t need to turn everything into a hustle. I don’t even want to turn everything into a hustle.
Not everything I do needs to be announced or make a big splash. Not everything has to hold the promise of more.
(Of course, the problem is also that I want to be recognized and that does require hustle. But that’s another piece for another day.)
Thanks for listening and holding space for me, friends. May your loved ones also provide space for you to just be.