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Hobby meet Life

Posted Sep 14 2008 2:41pm

So maybe I misunderstand the word “hobby” but I don’t think I have any. First of all, in my mind, “hobby” applies only to things people did in the Fifties: stamp collecting, model airplane building, bird watching. But the bigger problem is that, to me, a hobby - like Lynn said - is a pursuit that is all consuming. Of spare time and money. A continual thing, persistent.

And it’s not like that with me. I have many interests, but what is most interesting is how my interests have weathered life. How they have shifted over time given different life situations and happenings. Activities that used to bring me joy, have become obligations and things that were once “had to dos” are now welcomed. And back again.

Take gardening for example. When I was single and lived in an apartment gardening might have been a hobby. Something that I wanted to do and chose to spend a sunny Saturday doing for no reason other than because I enjoyed it. Digging beds, planting flowers, even weeding. But now that I live in a house with far too much yard, gardening has become a chore. It needs to be done. It pressures me through the windows: “That back bed is going to hell”, “We’ve got to do something about the front lawn!” Given the time, I am still able to enjoy putting in a few annuals and get a thrill out of picking carrots that started as seeds, but it’s not something that I can follow through on. Not now, anyway, but check with me after the kids are in college.

A different example…knitting. I taught myself to knit with chop sticks when I was somewhere around ten years old. I finally got real needles and played with them here and there over the years, but didn’t really get going til college. Since then it has grown into a favorite distraction, but there have been times when it doesn’t soothe me. Like when I found out I was pregnant for the first time and excitedly, lovingly picked out yarn for a baby blanket. I think I had about 6 inches knit on my pattern in a fabulous green – not too boy, not too girl - when I had the miscarriage. I stopped knitting for almost a year; my once favorite pastime now too painful. I knit again now, but still haven’t been able to frog or finish that blanket. Or knit any other baby blanket for that matter. My nephews each have one from their Ashley-aunt, but the later born nieces had to settle for sweaters instead.

And the list goes on. Cooking…love to try new recipes, impress a guest, gorge on the goodies, but when it is Monday night and J is later coming home than he said he would and Baby Boy is pulling on my leg howling “Up!” “Up!”…it’s time for take-out. Reading…I’m a reader from way back. But put me in a book club and the pressure is on.

And then there are the interests that have benefited from the pressures of life. Take sewing for example. My sister and I have decided to try out an etsy shop to peddle our wares and my creativity is the better for it I think. The “business” gave me a focus that allowed the ideas to flow. Still have to sew them, mind, but the ideas are going strong. And then there is writing. I have a deadline of sorts for my contributions here, but I have looked forward to each entry so far. It is nice actually to take the time to concentrate on one thing. To consider who I am these days. To focus.

Maybe that can be my new hobby…focusing.

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