‘So what hobbies do you have?’
It’s a question that I do think sends a sense of worry to a lot of people my age. Sitting there trying to work out what you are interested in and do. Sadly, a lot of us have limited things to say seeing as many of our hobbies left our lives a long time ago. Looking back on my childhood, I played the piano, saxophone, was part of a local youth wind band, did swimming lessons and Tae-Kwon-Do. Each hobby came with more commitments from gradings, regional training sessions to band practices and concerts. I had so many hobbies and most nights, if not every night had some hobby involved. At one point, I remember training five times a week for my black belt whilst also having piano and saxophone lessons and taking part in my band. Oh, and all whilst studying for my GCSE’s and A levels. I don’t know how I did it all.
I was talking to my housemates about this and it made me think why do we stop doing these things? Why do we stop doing what we love? We said that we almost wish we hadn’t stopped some of them. It seems to be a sad part of life that many of our hobbies don’t last into our next life stages. I gained my first-degree black belt almost ten years ago and part of me really misses the sport. I loved it. I can’t help but think at what point do we decide we don’t enjoy something anymore?
Thinking back to my hobbies, I began to lose interest around a similar time. A levels and University. A time where new distractions and opportunities were everywhere joined with an increased workload at school. A time where we are growing up and new and exciting times caused us to be disinterested in the things we used to love. It’s not a bad thing but our (or definitely mine) focuses are changed. I hadn’t realised how much I used to do until the conversation with my housemates. The whole idea of rediscovering these hobbies can feel daunting, especially after so long. The thought of entering a new training club seven years after my second-degree black belt grading scares me.
It has to be mentioned that we do sometimes just lose interest in things, that is the way things go. This raises the question of do we just grow out of certain things and into something else? Maybe the reasoning is that we just grow out of some things and that actually each hobby is a stepping stone to something else, building our skills up to something we have no idea about yet. We learn everything there is to learn and move on. From a young age, my hobbies taught me how to work for things and that things don’t come to you easily. They taught me confidence, resilience, patience, how to read music, how to defend myself whilst meeting some wonderful people and so much more. Skills and qualities that I still have with me today thanks to my parents cheering me on at every grading, competition, concert and exam. These hobbies might have left my life a number of years ago but there is nothing more relaxing than going home from University and being able to sit back at a piano and play it like no time has passed at all (although the same cannot be said for the saxophone…).
I guess what I’m trying to say is hobbies grow with us throughout life. Whilst it is sad some aren’t with us anymore, it doesn’t mean that they have to be gone. I was never good at sport as a child. I’m too clumsy and unfit for a wide range of sports. Martial Arts taught me that I could be mildly good at a sport that didn’t involve me being ‘that child who needed a constant breather during the 400m warm up’. I didn’t need to be the child that hated sport anymore. It taught me that I could still be good at something, I just had to find my ‘part’. Each individual hobby and experiences within that have taught me something that is still with me today. Things that might not seem apparent but I know will help me in my adult life and career. I have new hobbies to help me to continue building on these skills, just in a different way.
These hobbies, old and new give me something to talk about. Something that makes me. It is important to have something you are passionate about that isn’t work or University. Something that makes you, you. Something that makes you different. It is healthy and takes your mind off the busyness that is everyday life, whatever age you are, whatever that hobby is.