Interest or Obsession??

Last night I watched “Fever Pitch” on one of those movie channels. It stars Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon. It was a cute movie. Not as funny as I thought it would be, but I still liked it a lot. If you haven’t seen it, let me tell you a little bit about the story. It’s about this math teacher (Jimmy Fallon) who meets a young professional (Drew Barrymore), and they start dating. Her friends ask her what his deal is because he seems smart and funny and cute, so why is he 30-something and still single? His one big flaw? He is a Boston Red Socks fan. I’m not talking someone who loves to watch the games on TV and owns a couple of t-shirts and a hat. I’m talking full-on knowledge of every Red Sox game ever. He owns every book, every piece of memorabilia, and he inherited some of the best seats in Fenway Park. During baseball season, his life literally revolves around the Red Socks.

At first the girl is fine with his “interest”, but realizes over time that it is more than an interest. It actually threatens their relationship quite a bit. Now, I don’t want to spoil any of the movie for you (even though yes, it is quite predictable), so I’m going to stop talking about the movie now.

I have family members and friends who remind me of Jimmy Fallon’s character. They get an interest, but then that interest grows and grows. Soon, it seems to be more of an obsession than an interest. Where do you draw the line? I don’t feel that I have an obsessions. I show an interest in something (for example, let’s say I think frogs are kind of cute), so I get a few things here and there (a pair of earrings, a stuffed animal), and the next thing I know everyone around me is giving me so much frog stuff that I feel like I married Kermit and we settled down in a swamp somewhere. I have t-shirts, magnents, decorative pins, glow-in-the-dark frogs, more stuffed animals, postcards, posters, books and bookmarks, quilts, baby clothes, planters… I am surrounded by frogs!!

Of course, that is only an example (*wink*). I don’t do that to myself, of course. I don’t feel the need to, especially if everyone is giving me all this stuff. I get sick of it, though, because I don’t want to be known as “the frog lady” or something by the neighborhood children. I have a lot of interests, and I don’t feel that there is one or two interests that take over everything else in my life. I like variety.

I just don’t like obsessions. Obsessions take over everything, and I think you lose friends, too, because not everyone thinks whatever your obsession is is that great anyway. You know the saying… “variety is the spice of life!” If you have an obsession, think about taking it down a notch (or two, or twenty!) and making it an interest. And cultivate some other interests! Just a thought.

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8 responses to “Interest or Obsession??

  1. I just want to say to people like that–“get over it!!” Maybe I’m just jealous because I don’t do anything…I’m just a bump on a log.

  2. I have interests, but nothing that I would say is an obsession, but I do have to be careful because when I find something I like I tend to want to have the whole set.

    A shirt that you absolutely love. I bought one. Decide I love it, go back and buy the same shirt in every color. Sy has quite a few carebears and My little pony’s. Not because she loves them but because I tend to want her to have a lot of them. I have to catch myself and pull it back before it gets too out of control.

  3. Collectors collect.

    People who are not collectors tend not to understand people who are. But people who collect (anything) instantly “get it.” So even though I don’t collect 1950s pixieware (I actually find the stuff hideous), I can identify with a person who has shelves and shelves of it because that is what they love. That person is a collector, just as I am. (Good collectors collect information, too. So if that lady can tell me what year each of her pixies was produced, in what factory, and who designed the mold, I’d be in awe — not giving her a hard time because of her “obsession”.)

    There are people who aren’t collectors though, who have it forced on them by well-meaning gift givers, as in your frog lady example. That is a case of poor communication on the frog lady’s part. She should just tell everyone, “My frog collection is as big as I want it to get. I’m not collecting frogs any more.” (Then quietly, piece by piece, give away any existing frog items that she doesn’t want.)

    If you are bothered by people’s so-called obsessions because they won’t shut up about them in your presence, that is something different too. Poor social skills on the part of the “obsessed” person. If you have to deal with people who don’t respond to simple prompts to change the subject, I’m very sorry.

    But if you’re bothered by the simple fact that there are people out there who do collect things (or information) related to a single subject they are interested in… well then, as Laural said, “get over it!” 😉

  4. I agree sariah… oh and I am trying to send you that email, but can’t seem to find your address… I know I have it, but would you mind giving it to me again 🙂

  5. I have many interests bordering on obsessions.

    For instance, knitting. Lately, I’ve taken up knitting, and I keep doing it. Every day almost, I knit. It soothes me. It relaxes me. But I’m constantly doing it.

    Before that, guitar. I still play, and quite often, though not each day, like I used to.

    All this to say, I have kind of an addictive personality, so I know what it is to be obsessed with things.

    And now I feel a little guilty. Also, tired, just thinking about it. What will be next? Oh dear…

  6. Okay, first off…

    It’s Red Sox, not Red Socks. I’ll forgive you ’cause at one point you wrote Sox.

    And sadly, they blew the game today. Against the freakin’ Royals!!! We took the lead in the bottom on the 8th, but then blew it by letting 2 runs by in the top of the 9th. We didn’t score again. And the playoffs slip further away.

    Now, I love Jimmy Fallon’s character. Why? Perhaps it’s the fact I own over a dozen baseball books, most of them having to do with the Sox. I have the AL Champions-2004 pennant. The tissue box. The World Series ’04 poster with player profiles (and I covered Johnny Damon up, because he’s a traitor). I collect the mini-posters that the Globe hands out in Kenmore on gamedays. I have the christmas tree ornament, the desk clock (shaped like a baseball!), Fenway park pin, Green Monster tshirt, a hat signed by Kevin Millar, and the WS Champs CAR FLAG. And I drove through NYC with it proudly waving in the wind.

    On top of that, since our amazing rookie pitcher was just diagnosed with cancer and will start chemo next week or so, I’m among many of Red Sox nation ready to shave my head to support him.

    An obsession? Nah. It’s a way of life.

  7. Obsessions have their place. As long as they are in fun. Then they are collections. Or a season of life geared towards a single goal, hobby, or activity.

    When we are away from family who love us, they want to give to us something that they believe will be enjoyed and appreciated. In your example, frogs. Because of a public statement that you liked frogs, we all felt “safe” in getting you something you would like that was a change from music themed items.

    As Erica has proven, some of our family do not just border on obsessive, but let it take over with great enthusiasm. I think that is fine, so long as we do keep balance in our lives. Fact: Erica loves the Red Sox. Fact: Erica loves BU hockey. Fact: Erica has more interests than with which I can keep up. Therefore, her Red Sox obsession is not unhealthy, but fun. She does not let it RULE her life, but enhance her life.
    (A major distinction I believe.)

    For many Moms, it becomes whatever our kids are into. Boy do I know more about hockey than I ever dreamed I would! But by the same token, I spent years with marching band. The theatre years were easy since that was my own thing. I have a friend who is the ultimate football Mom–and she really doesn’t like football, (she does love her football playing sons) so, what are you gonna do?

    Most obsessions run their courses–enjoy the season of frogs while it lasts, then let everyone know you’re over frogs, and move onto something else in life. But didn’t you, and by extension, your family learn a lot about frogs? I know I did. And …whatever knowledge we gain in this life…” 😀

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