This phrase, normally given as advice in the workplace can also be applied to hobbies. Those things we do because we love them. Not because they make us money or move us up the ladder, but because they make us unequivocally happy. They are our special things and no one can take them away from us. Hobbies are the one thing that we choose because we enjoy it. They aren't forced on us or dictated from on high. And while you may not have oodles of free time, doing something you love, as often as you can, is so important to your well-being. So without further ado, the blog team presents the hobbies that keep us smiling. Danielle:
Who would've thought that hitting a yellow ball across a net could be something anyone could derive pleasure in. And yet, since I've been back on the court, tennis has made me happy for the past 6 years. I played in high school and growing up, but after I gave birth to my son, I needed a fitness activity that wouldn't make me feel guilty about leaving him and one that would motivate me to get out of the house. To say I was rocky when I came out of the gate after a long tennis hiatus is an understatement. But years later, I've captained USTA teams, moved up a level and love (and sometimes loathe) this game. It's exciting, unnerving, frustrating, fascinating and exasperating at the same time. But I love it! It's my time. My time to be me - not a mom, or a writer or a 40-something - but just Danielle, passionate tennis player. And let's be honest, hitting that ball definitely helps relieve some stress too. A win-win!
Now this may sound cliche based on the company that I work for, but one of my favorite hobbies is entertaining. And not just the act of having friends over and playing Catch Phrase, but planning get-togethers with themes, signature cocktails, activities (usually some sort of competition is involved) and sometimes even party favors. As a people pleaser, the fun that people have gives me joy but I'm also extremely detail oriented, so I love watching all the small parts come together beautifully. This is probably why one of my most successful events thus far was my DIY wedding (oh, and I netted out with a pretty fab husband, too - a win-win). And at the end of it all, I get to hang out and relax with friends and family, which is why the whole experience of entertaining from planning to closing time is one of my favorite hobbies. The cleaning is surely the exception here - I could do without that part.
Woodworking. I know it may sound odd or antiquated, but I promise you it isn't. It may be one of the older trades that may come to mind and Norm Abrams may not make it look glamorous on the last episode of "This Old House", but I've learned how much time, dedication and painstaking effort can be poured into the craft. I spent time in high school and college refining designs and techniques for sculpture and woodworking, in particular fine furniture. Though I never intended to make a living from it, I'm always, always fascinated by what great artists and craftspeople are able to do with an organic medium like wood and how we as consumers can incorporate those pieces into our everyday life, spaces, experiences and memories.
Admittedly, I don't get the opportunities that I routinely used to get in order tackle woodworking projects. (Let's just say that while a good quality table saw is an essential building block of any good woodworker's shop, it's certainly not among the household necessities of a quiet, respectful New York City apartment resident.) That said, I still sketch projects that I plan to eventually complete and dream of the time when I can fill a garage with saws, jigs and routers instead of simply a car. If there's ever been a hobby I could truly call a source of meditation and a creative release, woodworking is it. I can't place my finger on it exactly, whether it's learning the particulars of a genus of wood, fashioning an idea into a physical object or learning the art of perseverance (no matter how many times you measure and cut!): woodworking delivers a lifetime of discovery.
I started competitively swimming when I was five years old and it's been one of my favorite hobbies since. I grew very fond of it and even became a swim instructor when I was 16. To me, diving into a pool and having that cold water hit your face, is one of the most refreshing feelings. Swimming can be either a strenuous, exhilarating workout where you blow off steam or a relaxing, tranquil glide where you forget about all your stress. When you're under water, you can tune out the world for a little while. I generally enjoy being around water, whether I'm doing a 200-meter butterfly or floating around on a raft. Swimming is also vastly different than any other workout because you utilize every muscle of your body; I get out of the pool sometimes feeling like I just got hit by a bus. It's tiring, but it's worth it.
What's your favorite hobby?