Things I am glad I no longer enjoy, or never enjoyed at all.

by Radio Somewhere

I’ve had various passions over the course of my life — and I am very pleased to have dropped most of them. And then there are certain passions I feel fortunate to have never had in the first place. But let’s start with the ones I did used to enjoy at one time:

Horses/ponies. As a young girl growing up England, I was hopelessly obsessed with ponies. It’s not that unusual, and we did have “horsey” types on both sides of the family, but I really caught the bug bad. My family took it in stride, but I encountered a lot of hostility from teachers at school when my writing and art assignments invariably took on horse themes. To this day, I never understood their reaction. Oh well. For a few years, I actually had a pony of my own, but it was a very difficult situation as we had nowhere permanent to keep a pony, so we rented little grazing areas all over the place, and as each got eaten down, we had to move on. I was sometimes having to bicycle an hour each way (often in atrocious weather) to take care of things. Horses are very high-maintenance creatures, and even though the native British pony breeds are physically very rugged, they have an incredible capacity for getting into trouble — so even when there is plenty of grass to eat, and a self-replenishing water supply (such as a creek), it’s prudent to pay a visit each day. Having a pony this way is a real labor of love — and I really loved it. But as it got harder to find grazing where I lived, the pony was sent to live on my grandmother’s farm. I was thirteen years old and getting into the usual teen things, so that passion died a natural death in time for the pony to be sold. And I haven’t returned to it later in life. I still love horses and enjoy talking with them when I get a chance, but I don’t long to even ride again, let alone have a horse of my own.

Professional and spectator sports. As a teenager, I supported Aston Villa FC. At the time they were regularly near the top of English League Division One (before the Premier League existed.) I didn’t get to go to games, but Saturdays were all about soccer — and I am familiar with that feeling of a weekend being ruined when your team loses a key game. In the US, I learned to enjoy baseball and football, but have never become a fan of any one team. And as I get older, I find myself caring ever less about sports of any kind — although my boss has managed to get me somewhat interested in Buckeyes football:) I think the last Olympics I watched was Atlanta, 1996.

Classic cars. From 1985 to 1994, I had a passionate relationship with a 1973 MG Midget. Some purists may scoff and insist that model hardly rates as a classic, but with its chrome bumpers, round rear-wheel arches, and 1275cc A-series engine, it’s probably the finest example of the modern Midget. I rebuilt just about every part of it and got it running really nicely. It was a blast to drive along New England country roads, but when I went away to graduate school in Denver, I left it behind; and it expressed its disapproval by fusing the clutch plate to the flywheel — twice! I also suspected it had some structural problems in the unibody after it picked up a nasty drivetrain vibration that I was never able to find the source of. So, when I moved to Seattle in 2001, I had it scrapped as a precaution. Classic cars are great eye candy, but I’m done with having to worry about the darned things!

Gardening. It’s nice no longer having to take care of a yard — although I do miss growing tomatoes and peppers.

Weekend getaways. These are always great on Friday night. Saturday is pretty cool also. But Sunday sucks — especially when it involves a Sunday evening rush-hour-like traffic jam! I’m thinking coming back into Denver from the mountains on Interstate 70; or any highway heading south out of Vermont, New Hampshire or Maine. I never leave Seattle, but I can imagine that I-90 westbound traffic over Snoqualmie Pass can be pretty heavy at this time. It just seems easier to stay home!

The Great Outdoors. Hiking, cross-country skiiing, snowshoeing, mountain-biking, backpacking, camping etc. This rather ties in with weekend getaways, but even day trips out of town to do this stuff seem like too much trouble now. Plus, the gear can be expensive and you really need a car to haul everything in. I still enjoy walking around the REI flagship store though!

Working out. I used to run and lift weights on a daily basis. The basement of our house was full of equipment: free weights + bench; a cross-country ski machine, or some other cardio device; and a Soloflex. I overdid things and ended up with five herniated lumbar discs. I never gave myself enough time to heal properly following a back-pain episode before resuming my workout schedule, and by my late thirties, I was experiencing crippling back pain. When I moved to Seattle, I gave myself permission to stop working out and just walk. Within a few years, my back was much, much better — and I’d broken the addiction to exercise. These days, I get my exercise by walking to deal with the shortcomings of Seattle bus service; climbing stairs whenever I can; and carrying heavy loads of groceries and cat litter 1.8 miles home from the store.

Eating out. I’m not a foodie. And, I’m a vegetarian who doesn’t like mushrooms, eggplant, or olives. So, eating out is often disappointing — as well as being expensive. When a new restaurant opens in my neighborhood, I no longer care to know what they will be serving. A bakery can still get me excited though! West Seattle could use some decent donuts.

Now for the passions I never really had — and can never understand!

Hair/clothes/makeup. Too much money. Too much work. Usually a waste of time.

Beach/sun worship. If I get a sun tan, it’s usually by accident. When I lived in Florida, I had a tan, because it’s pretty hard not to. But the idea of a “working on a tan” has always struck me as odd.

Boating. Don’t enjoy being on the water and do not see the glamor of the nautical lifestyle. It’s fun to walk around South Lake Union and see the million-dollar vessels for sale. But if I had that kind of money, I would never be shopping for a boat!

So what does that leave me with? Well, I have a rather portable lifestyle. My hobbies, interests and passions, by and large, fit nicely into a smartphone — and can be enjoyed on the bus, on a park bench, or in a coffee shop. Reading. Writing. Blogging. Podcasts. Meeting people — in person, or online.

How did this happen? I have no idea — but I’m rather happy that it did. It makes for a very low-cost lifestyle, and I have lots of spare time to enjoy it all.