One of my favorite things to do is address Christmas cards. I get school-girl giddy when I receive a gorgeous piece of mail, and I want to give my friends and family that same feeling. The last few years I have set aside an entire week of evenings to address envelopes as beautifully as I can with a gold fine-tipped Sharpie. I had no idea what I was doing, but I loved it.
Finally, this summer — in preparation for Christmas card season — I signed up for a calligraphy class so that I might actually know what I’m doing come December. Guys… it’s like a drug for me. I cannot stop writing. Song lyrics. Calendars. Bible verses. Thank you cards. Alphabets. It doesn’t matter what it is — I just wanna write. I feel great when I’m writing, and I feel accomplished afterward. Even if I haven’t really accomplished anything.
Since taking the class I’ve been considering the value of the hobby, and I’ve come up with a few reasons why we should all take a little time to dabble in an enjoyable activity.
Intentional “me” time
This is something moms talk about all. the. time. We use words like “self-care” and “time off,” but do we really know what we mean when we say those things? For too many of us, those things mean “shower” then “watch TV” and “drink wine.” But how refreshed do you really feel after you do that? Personally, I usually feel like I wasted an evening doing nothing. What if you decided to get a little more intentional about creating purposeful “me” time by doing something you enjoy? It doesn’t have to take a lot of time, but it should be something you can walk away from feeling good about how you spent your time.
Feeling like your best self
For most of us, adolescence and early adulthood were filled with activities we enjoyed — sports, clubs, lessons, Friday night football with friends. Our parents spent tons of time, and possibly a pretty penny, making sure we were spending our time doing things to make ourselves better. When did we stop doing this? For some of us, it was a slow fade — you get busy with work, you get married, you start spending more time involved in shared interests, then you have kids, and… well, that’s pretty much where the slow fade gets flipped to a pitch-black void of all things self-involved. So here we are, living our lives catering to the needs of our precious tiny humans — and we wouldn’t have it any other way. But, you are a person outside of “mommy” and “honey.” And I know that when I do something outside of my house — something that doesn’t, in any way, involve my daughter or my husband, I come home feeling better. I am a better wife and a better mom. The time is worth it. (Everyone in my house agrees.)
You’ve earned it!
Before you start with the mommy guilt, stop to think about all the time you invest in others. There probably has been no other time in your life where you have been so involved in something other than yourself — and so uninvolved in yourself. Seriously. Think about it. Self-improvement for the sake of self-improvement is a good thing. You work hard, you love what you do, so get out and treat yo’ self to something fun!
Now, before you talk yourself out of finding a hobby, here are a few guidelines:
- Don’t complicate things. If there’s something you loved doing when you were younger and can find a similar activity now, awesome! Or, if you passed by a paint-your-own pottery shop three years ago and thought, “Gosh, that looks fun,” go!
- This is not something you have to be invested in for the rest of your life. You can go learn to make your own pasta, then continue buying Kraft mac and cheese for the rest of your life. What counts is that you did something you loved, even if it was just once.
- Don’t be afraid to try something new. You might love it. You might hate it. Either way, you’ll probably come away with a story.
Still at a loss? Here are a few ideas to get the hobby juices flowing:
- Learn calligraphy at Lettering by Liz (this is what I did — I highly recommend her classes, no matter your skill level)
- Sewing lessons at Stitch House Dorchester
- Dance classes at Jeannette Neill Dance Studio
- Learn to knit at Black Sheep Knitting
- Beer and wine brewing at Homebrew Beer and Winemaking Emporium
- Join a choir through the Greater Boston Choral Consortium
- Learn or perfect a skill in the fine arts at The Eliot School
- Farming, gardening, fermenting, and more at Newton Community Farm
- Attend a book reading at Trident Booksellers & Cafe
- There is a huge variety of activities at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education