“Hobbies are for pleasure, but rituals keep you going.” (David Mitchell)
I was one of those ‘involved’ kids. There were two types of people: the involved and those that snorted at the thought of being involved.
Monday- Drama club
Wednesday- Keyboard lesson
Sunday- Private tutoring
My schedule was jammed packed. Perhaps you fell into the ‘involved’ category? Or maybe your children are? My parents drove me around to ensure I managed to get to all of my activities on time. Arriving slightly out of breath and ashamed for turning up late, I never missed a session. These were not just hobbies; these activities were my passion! I was able to join in with something, learn a skill and make friends. This is how my life continued up until my GCSEs. Puberty hit. I suddenly became too cool to swim on a Saturday, instead I merged with a gaggle of girls in the local shopping centre to wander aimlessly for hours. In all honestly there was an aim, an unspoken aim… To meet the boys!
And so, my evenings practising chords faded, as did the faint whiff of chlorine which would linger in my thick hair, only to be replaced by the odour of cigarette smoke and Dolce and Gabbana Light Blue. Spending my evenings on MSN chat and learning to quickly type BRB or G2G whenever a knock was heard on my door, seemed much more satisfying than rehearsing lines for the upcoming performance of Midsummer Night’s Dream. Overtime all of my extra curricular commitments ceased to exist.
Recently, searching through my childhood belongings in my parents house, I found my retro keyboard which my dad bought for me in year 3. I had to try it out. Despite not having played in over a decade, I was confident it was like riding a bike. So I took it downstairs, more like lugged it, I forgot how heavy it is, and plugged it in. A sense of discomfort betrayed my fingers as I laid them out across the white keys and awkwardly rested my right thumb on middle C. Instinctively, my brain scrambled for songs I knew. Blankness. Emptiness. So flipping open my iPad, I googled ‘piano song sheet music’, only to find myself confused by the volume of results the search engine so efficiently churned out. We didn’t have this technology in my day amusingly whistled through my mind, like my father’s echo. Deflated, I returned upstairs only to be confronted by a pair of dusty ballet slippers… I thought I would give it a miss. Not sure I could handle the rejection of not being able to plié!
Bewildered by my inability to complete such ‘simple’ tasks, I began to ponder what do I spend my time doing? Apart from work, what are my activities? I hear the boys still play their Sunday league, but what about the girls? We socialise, drink wine, go for dinner, the pub, maybe even the gym. But can we really call these hobbies? I have given up my hobbies and replaced them with meaningless, time consumers, such as trashy TV and Netflix dramas. Long gone are the days when I practised, rehearsed or perfected… It’s like my life has entered a long winter.
With this realisation, I am determined to bring in the spring with a new hobby. Any suggestions are welcome!
*Musing to myself about trying a new activity every month to seek a life long obsession!