There are certain activities that I can be very single-minded about. Word games are probably the best example. I, like many others, am committed to a daily Wordle puzzle. I am also committed to a daily NYT crossword puzzle and the NYT Spelling Bee. And a few years ago, I played so much Wordscapes that I actually finished all of the levels. But it’s not just word games. I was single-minded when I took up knitting a few years ago (and I have the dishcloths to prove it). I can be single-minded when I find an author or book series that I love (currently on book 14 of Seanan McGuire’s October Daye series). And I was single-minded when I joined Rumble Boxing last year. I loved it so much that I went every day and sometimes twice a day.

It was actually Wordle that got me thinking. Why am I so committed to these activities? What do I get out of doing them so consistently? What do these activities have in common?

They are energizing. There is something practical and magical that happens during and after I do any of these activities. I am an introvert and have learned that I need to be intentional about recharging and refilling my cup. I often do this by finding alone time. But when I want to amplify or accelerate the recharge, I can do that through any of my preferred single-minded activities.

These activities also get me in the zone and create a feeling of flow. It’s like the activity is a door stop holding open a space in my mind – a space where I can be creative, think through problems, and reflect. 

They are restorative. All of these activities are active recovery for my mind. They give my mind a chance to rest and recover while using it in a less taxing way. When I’m boxing, knitting, or Wordling, I’m so focused that I block out thoughts, emotions, and distractions. And when I’m only focusing on one thing, this is a welcome break for my brain.

I like doing them. I have always struggled with the question, What’s your passion? I’ve never really felt like I had a passion so when I can’t answer the question, I feel like a failure. Or uninteresting. Or lazy. Or all of the above. And yet, I am very single-minded (dare I say, passionate) about each of these activities. 

It is problematic that I have attached so much judgement to both the passion question and to how I choose to spend my time. As I reflect on and examine why I love these activities and what they give me, I am reminded that I get to decide what is worth pursuing and how I want to use my time. It feels so obvious to write this and at the same time, important to acknowledge. I am a work in progress when it comes to the stories I tell myself when I’m asked certain questions or “admit” what I love to do. And I’m still learning to change the narrative – I don’t need to have a passion. But I sure like doing these activities.

Oh, and PS to the other Wordlers out there – if you love Wordle, consider checking out Quordle. In this game, you get 9 tries to solve 4 Wordles at the same time!

What activities do you love that are energizing and restorative for you?