A couple weeks ago I started re-evaluating how I spend my non-work time, and I made the big decision to stop studying Japanese. I've been studying for about seven years, taking two courses at Austin Community College, going to lots of lessons with three tutors, reading tons of books, listening to podcasts, studying with software, scouring websites, and everything else! I've passed two levels of the JLPT, and I like the fact that I can understand so many words when I watch Japanese TV shows (although I still need subtitles). But for quite a while now my study habits have been declining, and I've been spending more time trying to force myself to study than the actual study itself. So, I'm going to take a long break, which means I don't plan on studying again until I really get the urge. Even though I'll enjoy the freedom from making myself feel guilty after not studying, it still feels really weird, since studying Japanese has been my main hobby for so long.
Making this decision has started an avalanche of thoughts about why I do the things I do, and I want to stop doing things just because I feel I "have to". I don't really know what that means completely, but if I feel like I'm forcing myself to do something, then I'm going to stop. This weekend I decided I'm not going to do a Christmas project this year, after spending a lot of time trying to come up with ideas that just didn't come together. So, maybe this is another way of decluttering, or maybe it's a mid-life crisis! Whatever it is, I'm going to start experiencing free time without responsibility for a while, and then I'm going to have to figure out what I'm interested in all over again. Ultimately all that matters is discovering new ways to enjoy life, and I definitely plan on it!