Sometimes I have a hard time taking hobbies lightly. I have a competitive nature and I’m a perfectionist, so once I get something in my head I tend to want to do it all-out. And if it’s not something I want to pursue seriously, I’ll usually drop it entirely. Life’s too short to do things you’re not passionate about, right?

Ever since I started skating, it’s been my primary hobby, and I’ve been at it pretty consistently for the past almost-three years. I’m not a competitive skater (in the sense of actually competing regularly), and my level of commitment is somewhere south of “getting up at 5am to skate before work,” but whenever I can go skating, I want to go skating. I almost never feel, “I could go skating today, but I don’t feel like it.”

So this year has been disappointing for me, because I haven’t skated as much as I would like to, even though I love it as much as ever. But skating is time-consuming (and really hard to schedule into a “regular” adult working schedule) and also really expensive, and sometimes I feel that pinch of guilt (or more than a pinch) at spending so much money on it. Thus far I’ve been able to afford it, but it’s never money spent easily; I make conscious sacrifices elsewhere to be able to afford my skating.

Maybe more pressing than the money issue is time, though, since I’ve been busier with work and have had to skip a lot of my regular practice sessions, to the point where I’m not quite sure what my regular practice sessions are anymore. I feel like I’ve gone through the five stages of grief about this — angry that it has to be this way, bargaining to try to compromise and find time, and on through (grudging, sad) acceptance.

What it comes down to, I think, is accepting that skating isn’t the most important thing in my life. I’ve always known this, but life is encroaching more and more and I’m having to prioritize more now. I hate that I have to cut back, but I’m also a grown-up with other responsibilities (sadly!). I can’t always have everything I want, the way I want it…

And by extension, that means that my specific skating-related goals have to be adjusted. When I first started skating and progressing quickly, I wanted to pass tests fast-fast-fast and compete and move up a level every year. But the past six months have made me realize that if I want to skate forever, I should be okay with slow-and-steady progress, and not worried about hitting certain benchmarks by certain times. I had set Adult Nationals as a goal for 2015 since I finally qualify, but I have work-related things that make it hard to go. So if I can’t make it this year, I’ll shoot for 2016 — and if I’m not silver at that point, well it won’t be the worst thing to still be at bronze then. Right now I’m just happy to be able to keep skating.