{09/08/2012}   Hobbies

I go through phases with hobbies.  Sometimes I have them in abundance and sometimes, like now, I don’t have hobbies.  But I always feel I should have hobbies; I have a belief that hobbies make you interesting because people generally know what your hobbies are and it’s a way of shouting, “This is who I am”, which we don’t really do otherwise.

In recent years my hobbies have included photography, squash, kayaking, book binding, lino printing, reading, writing, going to auctions and cooking.  After I spent last Saturday making a pair of trousers (sewing is not and never has been my hobby though!), I had an overwhelming feeling of satisfaction at having completed a project.  It really struck me how having hobbies is a pleasure, something you regularly do because it makes you feel good.  So why deny myself such a feeling by abandoning all hobbies for periods of time?  I have no idea; I guess it’s all about your mind set at a particular time.  I think I have recently gone through a spell of lethargy and apathy.

In the past week, I have done four lots of baking, having not done any for a good few months.  It felt good, not only because it meant I had cake and cheese straws to eat but also because one of the reasons I love cooking/baking is because it is a pleasurable distraction and enables me to forget about anything serious or pressing that’s otherwise on my mind.  It’s escapism, I guess.  Then you get an excuse to make a cup of tea, for it would be wrong not to sample freshly baked, still warm cake.

I enjoyed maybe eight months of playing squash with a friend, it was sociable and I love squash.  But we both moved out of London and I have no one to play with now, and anyway I enjoyed playing with her in particular.  As for kayaking, I don’t like doing activities that are on specific days at specific times, that’s just not how I work.  I would also prefer to do something that I don’t need to be in a formal lesson environment for, so if I had my own kayak (which is not something I want) and were a lot more competent, I would like to be able to paddle on my own when I am free and the sea is calm.

I often moan that I don’t have time for hobbies, but in reality I have chunks of time when that is a genuine reason and other times, like now, when I have plenty of time.  I feel slightly lost when I get home and either have nothing to do or don’t feel like doing anything.  In such situations, I often just sit and/or watch television.

As an EFL teacher, a common icebreaker question was, “What are your hobbies”, to which the students and I would be forced to list exciting hobbies or think of something, anything, we did regularly.  I would say the most common hobby was watching television.  I suppose it is a hobby really, but I always used to feel quite despondent that, on pushing them to detail other hobbies, they would announce that they didn’t have any others.  But really the purpose of a hobby is not to get your knickers in a twist about thinking up a cool or interesting pursuit to make you seem more interesting than you are, rather it’s supposed to be something you do regularly that gives you enjoyment and if it is a geeky pursuit, it should be embraced because at least you have interests.  But sometimes, when you’re really busy, there genuinely is no time for hobbies, which is a shame.


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