The word “hobby” has a lot of unfair connotations. When someone describes an activity as a hobby, they’re implying that it’s not serious, or it’s not “professional” work. But many people are incredibly skilled at their hobby, and it’s not uncommon for people to turn a hobby into a more serious endeavour. Plus, hobbies have a ton of mental and even physical benefits. But for many people, a hobby is something you did when you were a kid, and once you “grew up,” you stopped having time for it.
The stress of adulthood, however, often drives us back to those hobbies, in part because they may represent a happy, contented time in our life, and taking them up again brings back that sense of happiness; and in part because we suddenly remember why we got into them in the first place. But if you want to get back to a hobby you once loved, how do you jump back in — or find a new hobby as an adult?
Find a community
One of the great things about living in the future is the ease with which you can find Your People. If you feel a little silly getting back to a childhood hobby, one way to get over that barrier is to find a community devoted to it. On Reddit alone, there are hundreds of hobby-related subreddits where people gather to discuss their passions, and a Google search will turn up plenty of other places. There’s also a good chance that there are places in your local community where people gather to indulge in and discuss their hobbies. And once you’ve re-established a hobby in your life, these groups will serve to encourage and validate your work in it, because you’ll have an audience for your achievements.
Accept the rust
One key aspect of re-hobbying is to remind yourself that you’re not a robot, and if you haven’t practiced any of your hobby-related skills recently you’re not going to just pick up where you left off. Don’t hold yourself to an unrealistic standard — accept that you’re probably rusty, that you’ve forgotten a lot of what you once knew, and that the hobby itself may have evolved over time. Patience is key — give yourself the time and runway to get back up to speed, or else you risk becoming frustrated.
Getting back up to speed requires the one thing that probably caused you to give up your hobby in the first place: time. One reason hobbies surged during the global pandemic, after all, was the sudden infusion of free time people experienced (spiced with existential dread and terror, of course, which made hobbies comforting).
So a key aspect of re-hobbying is to make time for your hobby. That starts with quantifying how you use your time in the first place, which you can do by keeping an old-school diary for a week or two, or using a new-fangled app that tracks how you spend your time. You will almost certainly discover you have a lot more slack in your daily schedule than you think, giving you plenty of time for your hobby — and keep in mind that “plenty of time” is a variable, and will be different for everyone. For some folks, a half hour a day spent on a passionate interest is enough, but some hobbies might require more time investment. But only you can know how much hobby time is fulfilling.
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