Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Hobbies Stay in your Life Forever

How many of you still take part in, or wish you had time to take part in, a hobby or activity that gave you joy as a child? Not that it came as any brainstorm, but last night I realized that the chain of loving an activity is rarely broken as life goes on; it just gets put aside. I can’t think of anyone who loved something as a child and then disliking it as an adult; chances are, they gave it up for any number of reasons and simply never had the time, opportunity, or resources to get involved with it again.

My husband still fishes; my brother in law still collects coins, and I still take ballet class, not to mention reading mysteries before going to sleep and riding horses occasionally. We probably all have at least one love that’s totally ours alone that we don’t even want to share with a spouse, child or partner. Such hobbies don’t merely define us; they offer us refuge in our stressful lives. Age, location, health, career, and other life conditions aside, those activities have never cease to bring us joy, and assumingly always will. That’s pretty amazing when you think about it. Do we like those things because we’ve done them so long that we feel good at them, or do we just enjoy the level of comfort we have in their environs? It’s probably both. No matter what your hobby is-physical or sedentary-chances are, if you gave it your all as a kid, there is a magnetism that has pulled you towards it, and that will never completely cease.

In each and every ballet class (there must have been thousands), as I go through the time honored movements, I get the same rush of exhilaration as if I was doing so for the very first time. Standing at the barre and performing the combinations (which are basically the same but always different, if you can understand that) brings me home. It takes me back to my younger self, to studios in New York. It reminds me of countless variations in accompaniment, dozens of leotards, and thousands of other females (all pretty much looking the same). While I’m there, the rest of the world comes to a standstill, and a missing part of my existence is back in place.

It’s also good to know that the word “hobby” is quite broad in its interpretation. The description can include every manner of athletic, sport and team endeavor, intellectual pursuit, and collecting…in fact, almost anything can be considered a “hobby” if it falls under the category of an unpaid used of time. (It’s funny how when I taught dance, I no longer considered it a hobby.) The one consistent thread is that it requires time, but whether it’s a lot or a little, daily or monthly, alone or with others, but it’s totally up to us. Hobbies can include other individuals, and provide social fun such as Karaoke, a mental challenge like Chess, or competitiveness, like Poker. Yet the same range of needs can be found in lone hobbies: The creative fun of computer-generated Sims people, a mind-challenge of crossword puzzles, and perseverance for jigsaw puzzles may provide what our normal lives are lacking. That’s the beauty of hobbies; they wait patiently for us. Their friendship doesn’t fade, and our relationship with them rarely suffers.

I can’t imagine my life without ever having been exposed to my hobbies, and I have my parents to thank for that. I feel bad for people who don’t have at least one hobby to “take them away” and provide decades of happiness. But it’s never too late to find something that you might love doing in your spare time, something that brings you peace and enjoyment and offers a sense of purpose, albeit a minor one.

It’s wonderful to keep things close to us in our heart, not just in the sense of others but in the sense of activities. We need outlets for a sense of rejuvenation. If you need a little shove in that direction, give it some thought. You’ll be happy that you spent the time searching for a new hobby, or revisited an old one.

No comments: