Hobbies for everyone: why they matter, and how to get one!Mar 11, 2023
In the middle of the pandemic, Eve Rodsky published her second book “Find your Unicorn Space”. In it, she summarizes the common experience that many women share: feeling like something is missing in life. That is, “unless they create and prioritize time for activities that not only fill their calendars but also unleash their creativity.” When we carve out time to do something for the sake of creativity, self expression, or because it’s enjoyed, we are finding our Unicorn Space. And to clarify, the intent here is for this space to be just that, without ulterior movies (no side hustle, or professional development, or charitable work - although this is important too!). It is literally time for enjoyment.
It’s so easy to fall into the trap of feeling like every moment of every day needs to be productive. To be focused on work, or chores, or what the people we share our lives with want. Cultivating that unicorn space can feel impossible, even selfish (how can I possibly take time for myself when there’s so much to do??). But as Eve so wonderfully points out, it’s important. REALLY important. Having space for creative pursuits, for fun, helps us live more meaningful lives, and helps battle burnout and exhaustion. Her whole book is a permission slip to become unavailable to the many demands of our lives in order to create the opportunity to pursue what lights us up.
So with this idea in mind, today’s blog post focuses on how to explore and cultivate hobbies as an adult. Consider this your official invitation, and permission, to experiment with something you’re curious about or interested in, for no other reason than you want to. Go ahead, be unavailable. Try something new.
That’s all great, but how do I get started?
Step 1: What are you interested in, or curious about?
Is there something you used to love growing up? Or that you really enjoy when you get to do it? Is there something you’ve always wanted to try? Brainstorm a list of ideas. Our recommendation is to set a timer for 3 minutes, and write down as many ideas as you can think of, without filtering or editing. If you’re light on ideas, check out the next section for a whole bunch of ideas to get you started.
Once that’s done, circle 3-5 ideas that jump out that you’d like to explore further.
Step 2: Think about your hobby ideals
Think about what aspects would most support you in establishing a new hobby. Here are some questions to consider:
- Are you looking for something you can do on your own? Or would you prefer to share your hobby with others?
- Are you looking for something that can be done anytime (on-demand?), or does a regular routine with a defined time work better for you? Are there specific windows in which you’d need your hobby to take place? (for example, early morning, during school hours, after work hours, on weekends, etc.)
- Are you looking for something that’s at your own pace? Or would you like to explore a program, a club, a membership, or a course?
- Would you prefer something indoors? Or do you prefer being outdoors/in nature?
- Do you prefer to commit to something upfront? Or are you more interested in experimenting/trying a variety of things (like a drop in class, or something on your own)?
Nothing in here is a showstopper, or a reason you shouldn't pursue something if you're really interested in it. Understanding what you’re looking for, and what your limitations might be, can help set you up for success.
Step 3: Research some options
What's available in the areas that you’ve identified? This is a great place to identify a bunch of alternatives, keeping your ideals in mind.
For example, let’s say that you want to explore something creative, like painting, or drawing. At this stage, you might look at:
- Classes offered from local studios
- Community center programs
- Local meetups
- Drop in paint and sip offerings
- Virtual offerings, like Let’s Make Art where you can access tutorials and get supply kits for different creations
- On-demand content that you do yourself (there are lots of options on YouTube)
You may find lots of different alternatives available, or only one. Exploring what’s locally available that meets your needs might help narrow your options.
Step 4: Make a plan
It can be VERY easy to stay in the analysis stage and not actually move forward to DOING. The goal of Step 4 is to give you the space to make the arrangements you need to be able to go ahead and try your new hobby.
This might include:
- Booking/reserving a spot if applicable
- Putting the time on your calendar
- Communicating to anyone you share your life with that you’ll be unavailable (this is important!)
- Arranging for childcare, pet care, etc. if needed
Step 5: Try it!
All the ideation and planning does nothing if you don’t actually do the thing. Commit to trying a new hobby you’re interested in within 2 weeks. If you are pinched for time, try a version that’s more accessible and flexible (like the virtual painting option!).
Our suggestion is to give any new hobby a few tries before deciding whether you want to make it a long term commitment, or try something else on your brainstorm list!
The great hobby inspiration board!
Are you looking for inspiration? Here’s a boatload of ideas!
- Arts - Find a course, a group, or a drop-in session for painting (including sip and paint!), pottery, photography, music, metalwork, glassblowing, flower arranging or jewelry making. Knitting, crocheting and quilting are also all crafts that often have local groups!
- Adult community theater - Try joining a local production of a play, as an actor or crew!
- Individual sports - There are many sports clubs you can join. These could be professional coaching, or community organized. You might try walking, hiking, cycling, mountain biking, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, skiing or swimming.
- Group sports - You might enjoy trying a local league or club, like basketball, pickleball, kickball, soccer or ice hockey. Check out your local community center, or Meetup for what’s available nearby.
- Book club - Local bookshops often run book clubs. If there’s nothing close by, you might join a virtual book club that meets up on video conference.
- Dance classes - Whether an informal group or a structured class, find a style you enjoy - tap, ballet, ballroom or hip hop!
- Board games - Join a local meetup, or find a board game focused shop (they might host game nights or point you in the right direction).
- Food & Wine - Try cooking classes, wine tasting courses, pairing courses, available both online and in person.
- Languages - Join a language course, or a local language club.
- Gardening - Grow your own plants and flowers, join a gardening club or a community garden!
- Writing - Join a creative writing club, take a class, or simply write for the enjoyment of it.
- Music - Learn to play an instrument, sing, or join a choir.
- Volunteer work - Give back to your community by volunteering your time and skills, or join a local nonprofit board.
- Travel & tourism - Explore new places, play tourist in your own town, visit local museums or sightseeing spots.
What intrigues you? Put it on your list, and give it a try!
Done is better than perfect
Remember that it’s often easier to convince ourselves that we don’t have time, than to take the space for ourselves. We are convinced that we’re too busy, there’s too much to do, that our loved ones need us more than we need time for ourselves.
Creating time for things that fill our tanks helps us be more present, more vibrant, and live with more purpose.
Go ahead, give it a try!
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