The only insult I've ever received in my adult life was when someone asked me, "Do you have a hobby?" A HOBBY?! DO I LOOK LIKE A FUCKING DABBLER?!
~ John Waters, Role Models
It seems we are trained, from a very early age, that having hobbies and multiple interests are an integral part of being an interesting and enigmatic human being. As children, we are encouraged to try our hands at any number of sports, musical instruments, activities - usually at the urging of our over-involved parents - and it just evolves from there. In junior high and high school? You must join clubs and participate in extra-curricular activities...must have a laundry list of credits to your name in order to ensure you'll get into a good college (again, this is our parents). In college, these hobbies often fall by the wayside as we discover the pure joy of being in charge of ourselves for the first time. Hobbies are replaced by classes, skipping classes, frat parties, bars, discovering who we are in the absence of our parents and their rules. However, we still strive to maintain an appropriate level of interests, if for no other reason to appear dynamic and to have something interesting to say about ourselves upon meeting someone new....and this practice will continue into adulthood.
Personally, my list of "hobbies" is admittedly boring and cliched. When asked what I enjoy doing in my free time (after I pause to lament the lack of free time in my life not already spoken for), I am acutely aware that the typical response is along the lines of reading, cooking, spending time with my family and friends, etc. Hardly the illuminating list I would have once imagined for myself. Admittedly, the list of things I wish I did in my free time is not only longer, but more admirable...playing piano, writing that book I've always wanted to write, having the knack to discover great antique finds, gardening, painting, and so on.
I posess a tremendous lack of ambition when it comes to conquering my list of "someday I'd really like to..." list. I tend to get pretty gung ho when I decide I want to start learning something new, improving at something I'm only half-assed at, doing that one thing I liked that one time in college because that guy I met (and cannot recall the name of) made it look so amazing...and after I talk it to death and decide to give it a shot, I find it alarmingly difficult to maintain the stamina and drive to make it more than a brief occurence.
I grapple internally (and sometimes not so internally, sorry Ray) with who I want to be, what I want to be doing, and with generally becoming the striking and wholly well-rounded person of my dreams. I think it can certainly become more difficult in the presence of marriage and parenthood, because there is a propensity to lump yourself into one big pile as opposed to remembering who you were before those things appeared in your line of vision. It's dangerously simple to define yourself by terms such as wife, mother, stay-at-home mom...especially at an age when the person you were at your most defining times of self-realization (early adulthood) seem to be but a speck in the rearview mirror.
So, in the interest of becoming that well-rounded person that I so strive to be, I am resolving to step out of my comfort zone, out of myself, and into a place where I can stop thinking about what I wish I were doing and instead, be doing it. Taking inventory of where I currently sit, as opposed to where I saw myself sitting at this stage in my life, has presented me with a bit of distress and discomfort that most certainly needs to be addressed.
Let the games begin...