I can feel you rolling your eyes as you read this. If you’ve been around this page long enough, you’ve heard me threaten to find a hobby over and over (and over) again. I was a competitive dancer growing up and I had aspirations of a dance career. Back then, my only real hobby involved pink tights and a lot of hairspray. I never played sports or crafted or any other thing that could keep a kid busy.
After my time on the college dance team, I took an occasional dance class wherever I worked as a reporter. I had a punch card at the Broadway Dance Center during our time in New York City. Once kids came along, I just never got around to finding local classes.
I do know my life would be better and more fulfilling if I had a hobby of my very own. Since I’ve devoted this month to documenting my mental health focus I have to fess up:
Life has taken over and I fear I’ve become one of those people whose hobby is their kids.
The definition of a hobby is, “an activity done regularly in one’s leisure time for pleasure” so yeah … my kids became my hobby.
I’ve allowed their sports and academics and social lives to fill most of my time when I’m not working. I do it happily (most times) because I know that this part of my life will go so, so quickly. Lola will have her license next year and I predict we won’t see much of her after that. This time in the car is our quality time, believe it or not. I’m not wishing it away.
But when all the school and doctor’s paperwork asks, “What are your hobbies?” I have ZERO things to write on that line. Of course, I have friends, a wonderful marriage, and a job I love, but what is something, literally anything, that provides an escape.
So here I am, once again, making a declaration: I’m going to find a freaking hobby.
I know enough about myself to know it should be something non-competitive.
I have loved playing pickleball but I get a little twinge when I lose (and I mostly lose). I haven’t devoted enough time to the sport to get a lesson, but if I did, I could see myself getting obsessed.
Here’s the thing about your friend Kim, I am bizarrely competitive. We were on The Amazing Race and I didn’t even tell the producers how much we prepared. I knew we were never going to be the most physically capable team so I devoted every spare moment to research, memorizing flags, and refreshing my high school Spanish. I guess you could say getting ready for that race became my hobby. I loved the preparation for the race, but the race itself was panic inducing.
If I tried to make running or something like pickleball my hobby, I could see myself routinely disappointed. It’s my least favorite part of myself, but I hate losing and I don’t want to inflict that feeling on myself for something that’s supposed to be fun.
Don’t get me wrong, I will still play pickleball. But there’s the thing: If I don’t try with practice and lessons, then it’s FINE if I fail. I’ll have an excuse.
I know, I know, I know. This way of thinking is basically job security for my therapist.
So here I am with the first hobby I’m auditioning. Ready?
IT’S A NEEDLEPOINT!
I have a friend who is a talented needlepointer and works at a wonderful local store. She set me up with basic supplies and a little lesson. So far, I can report that I’m terrible but it’s lots of fun.
The wrist surgery delayed my progress but now I’m back at it.
I love keeping my hands busy at night, especially when I would just be scrolling mindlessly.
I love the act of creating something that didn’t exist before.
I love learning something new if I suck at it.
I love that it’s not a contest! Sure, others sell their creations for big profits, but I don’t have aspirations other than making something I can look at with pride.
It will probably take me six months to finish this first piece. But look at me! I have a new hobby!
What else should I try? What are your favorite hobbies?