It’s Hobbies Day on #BEDN! Yay! Or, perhaps boo…
You see, for a scanner, everything is interesting. And therefore everything is potentially a hobby. On a great day, that can make you feel like you’re on top of the world but on a bad day it’s just impossibly frustrating as the knowledge that you’ve only got one life and are simply not going to get the chance to try everything that takes your fancy, never mind actually get any good at tennis, piano-playing, photography (or whatever subject is this week’s passion) is all too real.
To deal with my endless interests, I’ve always written plans, annual lists of what I want out of my life. When moving house the other day, I came across a handful of my notebooks and had a quick read through.
They made for depressing reading. Year after year, I’d written the same goals about my hobbies, about things I wanted to try or improve. Yet for some reason, I’ve never achieved many of these goals. I suppose there are many potential reasons for this. It could be a genuine lack of time or money. It could have been for reasons outside my control. But in honesty I think there are two main issues.
One – that I have far too many goals for my hobbies without any sense of prioritisation. Without knowing where to start I procrastinate endlessly, because the fear of choosing one thing over another feels like taking a one-way road and cutting other routes off forever. This is clearly not true, I can change my mind whenever I like!
Two – that I need to do the things I want to do, not the things I think I should want to do.
Which means allowing myself to just enjoy doing something for fun not purely for a challenge or to improve. It means going out horse riding just to enjoy a hack around the countryside instead of to improve my half pass. It means cycling to spend time with my boyfriend instead of purely to increase my distance. It means a slow walk in the woods instead of a hike around The Three Peaks. It means reading a novel for pure enjoyment and escapism instead of picking a ‘must-read’ improving classic. Sometimes, I need to slow down, and allow a hobby to be just that – something I do for fun!
And I need to recognise when, really, I don’t want to do something. For example, I’ve written ‘run a marathon’ on one of my wish lists for a few years in a row. Do I want to run a marathon? No. I do not. But I’ve written it because I think I should want to run a marathon. Because I’m a runner (or have been, at least) and that’s what runners do. They run marathons. But I’m bring honest with you and myself here – I never, ever want to run a marathon. A few miles of running around the local woods will do me just fine, thank you.
And, if I stop turning every hobby into a challenge of one kind or another, then I’ll probably end up doing more anyway because it takes the self-imposed pressure off.
I’m going to ride my new bike this week. And do you know, the highlight will be the grin that my new pink bar tape gives me, not the distance I cover. Because hobbies should be fun and I’ll do well to remember that…