My sister is a hobby nut. She plays the piano and rides her bike and maintains scary abs with fabulous Pilates manoeuvres. She can make her own kombucha, plays competitive tennis and is a vaguely terrifying poker player. She wreaks havoc on the court in her mixed netball team, likes painting and is learning to surf. Did I mention she has a demanding, full time job? Yeah, she hobbies. She hobbies hard.
Hobby noun: an activity done regularly in one's leisure time for pleasure.
We all have hobbies (yes even you, eating peanut- butter-with-a-spoon. I see you. That is your hobby. Time to get a new one. Although. Peanut butter. I understand you). They can sometimes feel like a drag, eight weeks into the weekly touch footy competition; or revitalising, taking our Saturday morning yoga class; or reassuring, whipping out our crochet needles with a comforting clickety-clack. Whether you’re a bike rider or a voracious thriller reader or a competitive swimmer or a football fantasy aficionado or a foodie on a mission to try the latest epicurean plated craze or you just like hanging out with your kids (or fur babies); your hobbies give your days’ substance and structure, something to look forward to and a way to fill in your hours beyond the straining binds of adulting business; work and family and obligations like taxes and cholesterol. Urgh
The thing about hobbies is that you commit to them. You give them your spare time, shaving off minutes here and there to dedicate to that wonderful release, the rush of endorphins acquired from doing something you love. You pour gentle love into your hobbies. Saving up to buy the kite surf, or to upgrade parts on your dirt bike or shelve that first edition novel on your Beauty & the Beast-esque bookshelf.
I recently re-read the words of the wonderful author and poet Annie Dillard, who said 'How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing.’
If you’re looking for a new hobby, could it be that loving yourself could be the best thing you could take up today? If we framed a bit of self-care as a worthwhile whim in our goal-orientated, skill-acquisition-crazy world, what potential could we coax out of our tired, un-glossy selves? Gosh, imagine the existential conversational possibilities on Tinder. “hey, wat do u do for fun?” “I Self-love. That involves napping. And spelling.” “…cool.”
When loving yourself becomes a hobby, all sorts of synchronicities start to unfurl. You feel more rested, perhaps with a little energy to spare. As your cupeth does brimmeth overeth, it ripples and pools in other areas of your life; your work, your relationships and your skin. Yay for skin. Opportunities bubble to the surface of your day; potent possibilities that you might not have noticed before, or had the zest to uncover. You start to vibrate at a higher frequency, curling people and chances and moments to you like a green and frothy wave that matches your energy, crashing on your shoreline with juicy verve and vim.
It can feel counterintuitive, spending rare and precious time on yourself in the eye of your business storm. But what if, crazily, this new found hobby gave you time-travelling skilllz that meant taking a bit of time gave you shiny new minutes in spades...when we're feeling more rested and energetic, we work more efficiently, have greater clarity and get our hoopla done with less frazzle. Working smarter, not harder.
How do you pick up your new hobby? Like anything, you start small. Or if you’re like my sister, you buy the kit and also the book and also watch interviews on YouTube about how to REIGN SUPREME AT THIS NEW SKILL. You start small, and you begin to practise. That might begin with two tiny letters - no. Saying no to things that aren't a priority right now, or don't serve your best interests at the moment, can be a liberating, if difficult thing to start. We're ingrained to be people please but honey, you can be the juiciest peach in the whole world and there will always be someone who doesn't like peaches.
Practise takes discipline, and it takes commitment. So, set a daily alarm on your phone with a little reminder. And we practise until it goes beyond an intellectual understanding, and becomes a muscle memory, something you do without noticing.
This isn’t about meditating till you levitate or growing all your froggy legs at once, my small spiritual tadpoles. You don't need to juice all of the kale and run screaming from all of the wine. Maybe your hobby begins right now with three deep belly breaths, or 15 minutes listening to the 1 Giant mind app. Maybe it's simply planting a seed of consciousness and that's a flipping great start. Take the time you can and you never know, this hobby might last a lifetime.
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