When my kids were young, I had to find a hobby time in the nooks and crannies of my day to day routine. It was incredibly frustrating! Do you remember that?
In my case, I’d have my easel sitting at one end of the kitchen. That way at least I could see my latest painting and think about the changes that I was going to make if I could ever get to it. Some days, I’d manage to carve out an hour to just play with my paint and brushes. But it seemed like mostly the kids needed to be picked up from school or it was time to make supper or a thousand other must-do’s that were screaming for their share of my time. So very often, the painting just sat there and hobby time had to wait for another time.
Find a Hobby Time When You’re Busy With Life? Is That Possible?
And it wasn’t just painting. I played with one hobby after another. Papier mache, pottery, knitting, crocheting, mosaics made of stained glass….probably some other things that I can’t remember. And always the same frustration at not being able to ‘play’ more often. But finally, as I got older I started looking forward to being able to retire and really begin to spend time on whatever hobby I was into at the moment I was thinking of it.
Find a hobby of some sort for the sake of all kinds of benefits!
Benefit #1: Brain Exercise
When you find a hobby you like, they’re like an enjoyable exercise to keep your brain active and healthy. You’re making decisions and plans, following patterns…..It wouldn’t surprise me if you aren’t actually exercising multiple areas of the brain as you’re knitting that sweater or planning your wood carving or whatever it is that you do. Dr. Robert Bender of the Johnny Orr Memory Centre and Healthy Aging Institute in Des Moines, Iowa has said that your brain has a ‘tendency to atrophy when it’s passive’. So the effort involved in your hobby has more impact then just ‘filling time’.
Benefit #2: Learning New Skills & Social Benefits
When you find a hobby that’s new, it might include having to take a class to at least learn the basics. And spending time with other people who are doing the same thing as you can be a terrific way to meet others. There’s always a lot of laughter and enthusiasm in the room when you’re all messing around together at learning the same thing. So the social component can be one of those benefits.
Benefit #3: Personal Development
Any time you learn new things, you automatically become a more interesting person. Instead of just going on about the weather every time you meet someone, once you find a hobby that you like, you have something new to talk about. It can lead to all kinds of discussions can’t it? You get to share how you do it and where you’ve learned it. Or maybe you get to talk about selling whatever you make. Sometimes you even get to inspire someone else to try something different. And as they find a hobby, you get to play at being a teacher as they begin to explore it.
Benefit #4: Preventing Isolation
Another thing that I’ve noticed too as I’ve gotten older, is that my ‘world’ seems to be getting smaller. Once the kids are gone, you’re not at the school and then there comes a point when you’re not at your job. But if you find a hobby, it takes you outside of your own little quiet four walls because you have to at least go to a store and get new supplies, or you decide to try a class to improve your skills. And don’t get me started about online discussions on hobby forums! There’s literally a world of information there for the asking and people just like you, who would love nothing better than to ‘chat’ about their interests..
Benefit #5: Personal Satisfaction
I think it’d be safe to say, the sense of satisfaction that you experience when you spend time at your hobby, is like a tonic. Especially when viewed against the backdrop of the commotions and activity of daily life. And the more adept you become, the greater your satisfaction.
Benefit #6: Physical Benefits
And if the hobby that you take up is more physical like hiking or golfing or even joining a running club, then you can add keeping your body healthy to the list of benefits. So you can see that there are benefits for every aspect of you. Your brain, your relationships, your ability to learn, your body…benefits from head to toe when you find a hobby that captures your imagination!
The Fire is Gone! now what?
And now that we’ve established the value of having a hobby, what do you do when you finally retire, only to discover that the fire just isn’t there? You have all the time you only dreamed about for years, and not a single idea comes into your mind. That blank white canvas has been sitting there on the easel for a week and instead of feeling inspired you’re starting to feel uncomfortable whenever you see it.
Or maybe you’ve been so busy all your working life, that having a hobby just didn’t happen. And now, you’ve recently retired or will soon and you’re discovering that you have a lot of hours to fill but what to do?
Retirement Can Do That to You!
I was talking to a friend who retired a couple years ago and she’s having that very experience right now. Before she quit working, she played with assemblage art or found object art and she was prolific. Her tropical plant collection was pretty amazing too, with some beautiful plants that took up a lot of her spare time.
But I was talking to her a few days ago and she was saying something that I could totally relate to. She mentioned how she just isn’t interested in any of those things that used to light her fire. At this point she said, she doesn’t have a clue how she’s going to fill her days. It’s like she’s ‘hobbied-out’ if you know what I mean.
So What Do You Do to Get Ignition For Blast Off Again?
Obviously I’m not going to have THE answer. As many people as there are, that’s how many variables there are to solving this kind of a problem. What I can do is tell you about my own situation and hopefully with that telling, something will give you the spark of an idea.
I’ve always been a very visual person which is why I gravitated towards painting in the first instance. Loved the colours, working on big canvases, even the idea of ‘being an artist’ was super appealing. But for all kinds of reasons, one day the drive was gone.
What’s With the Identity Crisis Again?
I floundered for a while. After all, I’d been thinking of myself as an artist even though it was only for my own pleasure. But when you aren’t creating art, what are you? So not only was I trying to fill time, but I found myself experiencing a bit of an identity crisis. Initially, what I did was mope around a lot. Then I did try learning about stock market trading and while I learned a lot and worked out a reasonable system, I discovered real fast that it just wasn’t me. I think that if you’re a more ‘creative type’, then putting your time into something like the stock market is unlikely to feel right or good.
So to feed my creative urges, I decided to switch from painting to what I refer to as ’thread painting’. I was happy for a while doing this, but there were still some aspects of it that were much like painting, so it began to feel like ‘more of the same’ and I just wasn’t feeling the urge like I did when I had to fight for my scraps of time.
Ask Yourself, “What Gets You the Compliments?”
As I’ve written elsewhere, I’ve been a letter writer from a way back. Operating under the theory that everyone loves to see a handwritten letter from someone you care about there in the midst of the pile of bills, I began writing regularly to several aunts and a cousin who all lived in other provinces. One compliment that I heard repeatedly was ‘what nice, chatty letters’ I write. And that’s where I could see a kernel of an idea. But how do you build a hobby on that?
While I was busy racking my brain for some new hobby to fill my time, I came across a website called Entrepreneurs Journey, written by Yaro Starak. He presents all kinds of case studies and interviews with people who’ve become successful writers and entrepeneurs. Well, long story short (as they say), and here I am, writing this blog. Which I hope you’ve thoroughly fallen in love with by the way! Have you subscribed yet? Not that I’m hinting verrrry broadly right or trying to be pushy?
Deciding to Try Something Different….
Anyway, I went for something that has creative components, is also an area where I’ve historically been the least capable. It wasn’t that long ago and I was getting help with the televisions remote control from my nine year old grandson! Not hard to imagine then that I’d find the technicalities of setting up a blog, to be a hefty learning curve. But, it’s coming together and I’m thinking I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
The thing is, I haven’t really been bored since I started learning to do all these things. I’m learning new things all the time and I’m having to stretch my ‘creative genes’ with the writing. I’ve met all kinds of wonderful people in the process in my new online blogging community. And I like to think that I’m still interesting and relevant because now, I’m a writer who works online!
Maybe Find a Hobby That’s Out of Your Comfort Zone…..hmmm?
I think what I also find interesting is that it’s not very similar to all the other hobbies that I’ve played at. Well, maybe a little similar because I do get to create the images in these posts. But it’s different because it’s more about words and technical blogging stuff. As I was pondering these things, I started to wonder something. What is the secret that will help you find a hobby when you can’t muster the the interest?
Could it be to try something completely out of your comfort zone? For example, if you loved the crafty stuff but you didn’t love cooking, maybe your new direction is there? Maybe finding a simple to use and gorgeous website or cookbook and learning to cook the dishes in it will the beginning of a new passion. Or if you’ve previously been heavily involved online, then look for something physical. Hiking or marathons or maybe take up a Master Class in gardening?
Look to the opposite of what you do or used to do. Maybe you’ll find what you’re looking for there. So far it’s working for me. And who knows, maybe it’s just contrarian enough that it would put a little fire in you again.
…..Whatever the case, I’d love to hear what you’ve got to say! So if you’re in that ‘artistic-no-man’s-land’ or looking for the first time at how to find a hobby, share your thoughts and let me know what you think. In the meantime, be safe, be kind and enjoy your day wherever you are!
As always, I will remind you that I’m not a medical doctor. I’ve spent the last 20 years focusing on and learning to ‘grow’ my own health however. And that’s what I’m sharing here. All of it based on my own experiences and also the things that I’ve learned from the real experts! Those are the researchers and doctors who’ve seen the actual patients, worked in the labs and write the medical reports that are sprinkled throughout these posts.
My goal is to motivate and help you find your best way to live a healthier and more peaceful life. I and Ageless at Sixty cannot be held liable for any resulting injury or adverse change in health status.
I also advise that any changes that might affect your health status be checked with your accredited physician. This would include changes to your exercise routines and any medications you might be taking or other supplements.
As well, this blog and each post may contain affiliate links. That means that if you buy something through them, I’ll receive a commission, at no extra cost to you.