Years ago, when I read somewhere that knitting (or crocheting) and buying yarn are two different hobbies, I felt that instant recognition you get when someone points out something you have experienced, but haven’t named. Yes, I often buy yarn for a specific project. A friend is having a baby and I need the perfect yarn in the just-right color for that friend and that baby. But I also have been known to grab up yarns because I love the color, the texture, the idea of a some unknown future project. And most knitters and crocheters I know admit to having a ‘yarn stash’. Sometimes there’s an embarrassed tone to the admission, but sometimes there’s an acknowledgement that anticipating future, yet-to-be-determined projects has a charm all its own. And it’s a way to feed our creative juices.
Sometime after learning about this idea, I realized that it applies to my books and may explain the unwieldiness of my To Be Read Pile. To be honest, it’s more properly characterized as piles and I won’t tell you how many linear feet of bookshelves I have dedicated to these stacks. Seems that buying books may be its own hobby connected to but different from reading.
I often start in the mystery and sci-fi/fantasy sections. I read the Lord of the Ring trilogy in high school and I discovered Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein about the same time. I’ve been reading mysteries since I started reading with Nancy Drew, the Bobbsey Twins, Cherry Ames, and the Happy Hollisters. (You may not know that last one, but they were a mystery-solving family.)
And then I wander. I pick up books from all sorts of places. I read more non-fiction than I used to and those books take a bit longer to read but as someone who has Learner and Input in their top five Strengths, I guess it’s not surprising that a trip to the book store with no plan is a favorite activity.
And yes, I have heard about the existence of libraries, but I like to re-read books. The books on my shelf are old friends. Any time I move, (and since I married a book-lover, between the two of us we move a lot of book boxes) each place becomes home when the bookshelves are filled. I have learned to give away books now. It was becoming ridiculous and even I had to admit that I was never going to reread the Nebelungenlied or Beowolf which had been required reading in a Medieval Literature class. But I’m not getting rid of Isaac or Agatha (Christie) even if I don’t read them often. It would be rude.
I can hear some of you saying. Great, she has multiple hobbies and I barely have time for one. I get it. But I make time for them. I have been known to read while I used the blow dryer and curling iron in the morning. I knit or embroider while I watch movies or TV or football. And of course, it has all varied over time.
As part of a workshop on creative leadership, I asked everyone to write a hobby of theirs on a scrap of paper. We were going to use it as the basis for an activity. I soon had to clarify that playing with your children is not a hobby. However, it is possible to share a hobby with children, partners, friends. Geocaching gets everyone out into the fresh air. Trivia night at the pub is good for your brain and for your laugh muscles. Bowling, dancing, bingo, model trains and reading together, the list of possible hobbies is nearly endless and often quirky. My favorite answer on those scraps of paper was ‘raising prize roosters’.
As we move into a busy new year, I hope you’ll make time for your favorite hobbies, dust off an old one, or find, even create, a new one that involves family and friends. There are links below explain why two of the hobbies I’ve written about are good for you and there’s one about having a hobby in general. Prioritizing a hobby isn’t goofing off or wasting time, it’s a form of self-care and the new year gives us one more chance to practice taking care of ourselves as we take care of others.
Remember, take care,