I was in a meeting a couple of weeks ago with a woman who is interested in languages. She is a native Spanish speaker, fluent in English and currently studying French. She takes classes during her free time. She has a couple other hobbies that I can’t remember right now because the main thing I remember about our conversation was when she asked me what MY hobbies are and I couldn’t think of a single one.
Actually I DID think of one hobby. My kids. My kids are my hobby. Or at least, they are what I do with my free time. But I didn’t want to tell her that.
It seemed so boring to say that my kids were my hobby. Like I’m some kind of working mother automaton who makes lunches, does conference calls and goes home to play endless rounds of tiddly winks.
Did I mention that this woman has no children?
I’ve never really been a hobbyist anyway. I like to read. I like to veg out at the beach. I like to go to the movies. But I wouldn’t really describe those things as hobbies. In fact, the closest thing I’ve ever had to a hobby was baking, but I do that because I like to eat baked goods. I don’t package them to sell at craft fairs or pack them up as Christmas gifts, so it’s not officially a hobby. Hobbies are things like sewing clothes for plastic porch geese, dressing up to reenact the Civil War, photographing flowers or whatever else people do when they are not working, raising children, making meals, doing laundry, going to church, running errands, taking care of elderly parents or mowing the lawn. Unless of course caring for the lawn is your hobby in the first place, in which case you can take that off the list of chores.
The point is, I was feeling really lame for being unable to come up with any hobby besides my kids. And then I started thinking that life is all about stages. This woman is at a great stage – married, young, childless, able to travel, able to pursue a variety of interests. Able to sleep past 7 am on Saturday.
I’m at a different stage. My kids are young. They require – and deserve – a ton of attention and time from both me and my husband. We’re more financially stable at this stage, but have far less free time and that’s okay. I LIKE doing things with my kids. They’re funny and fun. They’re talkative and filled with opinions (a genetic gift and curse all at once). And I know this time in their lives – and thereby our lives – is fleeting. They won’t want to hang out with us forever. The years of them thinking we’re the lamest people alive are not far away. So I’m going to enjoy this while it lasts, tennis lessons be damned.
P.S. I guess you could count writing this blog as a hobby, but given the frequency with which I post it’s pretty easy to see how well hobbies fit into my current life stage, no?
Friday bonus: Here are a couple of very cool sites I’ve been enjoying lately.
Pinterest lets you explore other people’s ideas, see cool things, find neat crafts… it’s kind of a web-based stream of consciousness that’s perfect for someone like me who is easily distracted and likes to look at cool stuff.
I don’t know where this guy finds the time, but Curiosity Chronicles is a favorite blog I stumbled on. He is, apparently, at a life stage that enables him to explore his wide ranging interests about random, yet fascinating, things. Excellent reading.