“Hobbies are a contradiction; they take work and turn it into leisure, and take leisure and turn it into work.” – Steven M. Gelber
If you’re reading this, you’re probably tired of searching for the next Netflix series to binge. Don’t get me wrong, there are some amazing shows out there that are well worth your time watching, but do you really want to spend your free time only watching television? I don’t think so. Nowadays there are more things than ever wanting to steal your time, so it’s important that you have a good hobby to pull you away from the monotony of work, the vacuum of social media, and the stress of family and friends.
Studies show that hobbies lower stress, improve sleep, increase overall satisfaction in life, and even help create new friends and social networks. So, honestly, there is absolutely zero reason not to have a hobby (unless you already have too many to handle, in which case this is probably not the post for you).
What is a Hobby?
A hobby is an activity done in one’s pastime for the purposes of enjoyment. Pretty much anything can be a hobby, so long as it’s something you actively pursue. Reading a couple articles on birds and their migration patterns does not make you a birdwatcher, but sitting on the side of the road with binoculars watching an eagle make its nest does. A good hobby ought to challenge you and take repeated effort to improve upon. If it’s something that can be done passively or without thought or growth, it’s not a hobby. Making dinner is not a hobby. Watching television is not a hobby. Walking the dog is not a hobby. Do you want to know what is a hobby? Cooking/baking, writing movie reviews, and hiking. You can turn passive activities into hobbies if you so desire, which we will get into in the following recommendations.
Start with Something You Already Like to Do
As stated previously, a hobby is an activity, not a passivity, so take something you already like doing or have an interest in and turn it into a repeated activity. Maybe you really enjoy baking cookies from an old heirloom recipe. Well, try looking into other recipes! Ask friends and family members for more generational recipes, do a quick Google search, buy a cookbook and pick an interesting dish to try your hands at. Expand the already existing task into a growable activity.
If you like the flowers in your side garden, plant more flowers out front. If you doodle in your notes, try drawing in an art-book. If you’re obsessed with picking your outfit in the morning (in a good way), then try studying fashion trends and go thrifting to make new outfits. Any activity you do in your daily life that you find some amount of enjoyment in can be turned into a hobby, just think about how to expand it!
Join a Friend on Their Hobby
Maybe you can’t think of anything you like doing and that’s okay. I can guarantee it exists but sometimes it’s hard to think of it on the spot. Another thing you can do is just steal a friend’s hobby. Don’t worry, they won’t mind (hopefully). In fact, they’ll probably love it! It’s a way to spend more time together and they’ll help you through all the steps of starting out.
If you have a brother who likes woodworking, try making a birdhouse with them. If your best friend likes hiking, go on an outdoor adventure with them. If your best friend's sister is an avid birdwatcher, use the birdhouse you made to watch birds with them...I think you get the idea.
Try Something Completely Opposite to What You'd Expect
At this point, you’ve tried making chocolate chip cookies but almost burnt the house down in the process or you’ve tried joining your friend on a camping trip but almost got eaten by a bear and decided the outdoors were meant for animals. Nothing is sticking. It’s time to think outside the box!
We go through our daily lives convinced we know who we are. It’s how we remain sane, but the truth is we’re constantly on a journey of self discovery. I’m sure there are lots of things you know about yourself now that you didn’t know ten years ago, and so will be the case ten years from now. Perhaps you're stuck in a loop of trying the things you think you should be trying, instead of actually trying something new. If this is the case, throw everything out the window and do something wildly non-you. I highly recommend staying healthy and safe and not jeopardizing the health and safety of others, but as long as you're doing that, there’s nothing wrong with trying something out of left field.
Maybe you’ve been convinced you absolutely hate sports ever since you were six and your father forced you into little league baseball, only for you to get hit square in the face by little Timmy’s overhand pitch. If that’s the case, it might be worth showing Timmy who’s boss and joining a recreational baseball team for a season. Or maybe you just go to a baseball game with a friend and have them explain the rules to you. You might find that you like it.
If public speaking terrifies you and you were always too scared to join the theater club in high school for fear of embarrassment, now you can try volunteering as an extra in the local play.
The point is, just because you think you don’t like something, doesn’t mean you actually do. Who knows, maybe you’re not exactly who you thought you were.
Finding a new hobby is not always easy. Start with what you already like and go from there. Join a friend on their recreational adventures. Do something you never thought you would do. If you keep finding dead ends, that means you're learning and progressing closer to that new spark in your life. Trust me, it’s worth it in the end. The worst that happens is you have some funny stories about burnt cookies and moments of awkward stage fright. It’ll make you a more interesting person, and who doesn’t want to be a more interesting person? Not you. Definitely not you.
Want to know how I know? You read this far which means something resonated with you. Go try some things, keep doing the things you like doing, and stop doing the things you don’t. It’s literally that simple. Trust me when I say that nobody knows you as much as you know yourself, so trust your own gut!