Two passions are better than one according to new research and in this column I’m inviting you to think about rekindling an old love (not the dodgy Friends United type) and giving it 70 mins a week.

I started playing the piano in 2014 then had a hiatus last year whilst I campaigned to become a local councillor* and started back on a fortnightly lesson plan in September. Lately though I’ve found my practice has slipped so this being the season of Lent and a time of year when I don’t give up swearing or biscuits or dark chocolate I thought I’d make a point of being disciplined about my practice. 10 minutes a day to be precise. And because I know we all do better when there’s someone we are accountable to, I did a recording of my limited ability to play e and b flats on Ash Wednesday and I’m going to post how far I’ve got by Easter Sunday in April’s mailing – no compunction to listen, I just need to know I’ve committed to improving myself by telling you about it.

How to create time for things beyond job, children and household is a perpetual question on the minds of many coachees – and if you don’t have children I know this can affect you just as much as those who do. My starting point is to invite people to think about what’s the minimum they’d need/want to give this ‘thing’ (a hobby/interest usually) in order to stave off frustration and resentment. It’s usually not very much and then cogs whir about what it would take (not very much) to get going with this old love/new interest.

In my case as long as I can run/spin three times a week, eat breakfast in peace (an increasingly rare event) whilst soaking up intellectual stimulation in form of BBC R4 podcast, copy of The Psychologist or The Times AND play a bit of piano, I’m happy. OK, I’m lying, I’m higher maintenance than that. I’ll rephrase…so long as I can do those things I’m much less likely to be a grouch than if I don’t do those things. Actually, come to think of it, I’m not all that bothered about playing the piano and would gladly sacrifice it if I could get a cast iron guarantee of being able to eat breakfast and indulge in mind fodder without interruption every day for the rest of my life. So why am I persisting with it? Because every now and again we ask ourselves (husband and I) what skill we’d like to master and for me every time it’s playing the piano. I’d love to be able to plonk myself down after a hard day and just play something beautiful to soothe and amuse myself.

So what’s your thing? What’s the thing you love to do that you’re not? The thing that gives you a lift or makes you feel your life is more than just earning and caring? How about joining me for the rest of lent in giving it 70 mins or so a week?

Use me as your witness by posting a comment at the bottom – I’d love to hear from you.

And the two passions are better than one thing? Have a look here. If you’d like some new mind fodder you might like “The Broad Experience” podcast I’ve just discovered.

Until next time, enjoy the fruits of your discipline.

(*got elected and gave up choir to make room for it – I’ve become a time-bender…choir took 90 mins a week and being a councillor takes about 8, at least but that’s another story).

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