I have a high school friend I caught up with a few years ago. He had hit rock bottom in his life, and depression, worry, and stress showed on his face. Poor eating and sleeping habits had not been his friends. I had enjoyed his friendship in high school and decided to connect with him over coffee. He was curious. We talked for hours and met every week for coffee and conversation at various places. My husband and I invited him to our holiday celebrations, and sometimes I asked my brother and his wife to have coffee with us.

As I observed him with others, I saw how curious he was to learn as much as he could about and from others. Over time I saw the lines in his face diminish. He had more energy and started walking at the local mall. When referring to people I knew and he had met, I found that he knew more about them than I did. He asked them questions to better understand them and what they were interested in. When I think back to the days, we were getting reacquainted; he rarely talked about himself unless asked.

Today I read an article that states, “staying interested and curious about life and challenging yourself with new skills helps boost satisfaction and happiness.”

Find a Passion

Passion alludes to something consuming, but it doesn’t have to be. Spending a little time each day doing what we love gives us the energy to learn more. We can all improve, and with YouTube videos, we can learn almost anything. I have a friend who inherited her mother’s art supplies, although she had not developed any artistic abilities. While recovering from knee surgery, she started watching videos teaching art techniques. She has posted some of her work on Facebook, and it’s beautiful.

I love to knit, but I felt I was in a rut. I joined a knitting club for the social outlet, but I have learned a lot. I also took some classes at a local yarn store. If you have a passion already, improve your skills.

Have you ever wondered what it’s like being homeless? Volunteer at a shelter! Because I love knitting, preparing bags with hats, scarves, gloves, socks, lip balm, personal items, and snacks to pass out to the homeless became my passion. I was looking for a way to use my knitting passion and discovered another loveā€”helping others!

Cultivate A Passion

Note what seems interesting to you. What are you drawn to?

Set aside some time to play. What does that mean? Teachers use games and play to teach kids new skills all the time. Bob Ross, the famous painter, uses this idea when he teaches art. He suggests listening to your heart and adding touches, and experimenting with colors or strokes of your brush. That’s a good explanation of adult play. Listen to your heart and experiment without judging yourself. It’s okay to mess up when you are beginning. Watch kids play and see how creative they can be.

At our age, we might think we should be good at whatever we try. Get over it! Make a mess, hit a wrong note, get lost; it’s all good when you are learning. Don’t compare yourself with the masters. Sure, someone your age may be fantastic on the guitar, and wow your mutual friends with their playing. You don’t have to give a recital right out of the gate. Give yourself time and do it for your enjoyment.

Be curious! Have fun! Develop new passions or improve the ones you have!