Pick A Pastime
When I was a kid, my brother and I had stunt kites—the ones that you can do crazy maneuvers with in the sky. We’d go to the beach on the weekends as a family. After all the sunbathers and swimmers went home for the evening, we’d walk onto the sand, kick off our shoes, and start unraveling the kite string. We’d fly those kites until the sun went down, making those pieces of nylon dive and twirl through the sky.
Last summer, at a friends 4th of July cookout, we flew kites from the dollar store with my three-year-old twins. Despite 90+ degree heat and cheap plastic kites, I felt like a kid again as I ran across the grass holding the end of the string. It brought back a sense of excitement and joy that I hadn’t felt in myself in a while.
In her podcast episode, “Choose a Pastime,” Emily P. Freeman talks about the value of a pastime. Participating in an activity that’s different than our normal work engages our brain on a new level, helps us to not take ourselves quite so seriously, and can relieve stress, boredom, or worry. Our bodies, minds, and souls need activities that provide enjoyment and creativity in a way that we don’t get during our everyday responsibilities.
For me, this activity used to be writing. Don’t get me wrong, I still love writing. But as writing and food blogging turned a corner to becoming an everyday responsibility, I realized I needed the creative freedom to do something just for the sheer joy of it. I needed a new pastime.
While I’d love to go fly a kite, it’s currently raining and 35 degrees here in the Chicago area, so that’s not quite an option. But one hobby that I used to love doing was making DIY bath and body products. That may sound random, I know, but it’s something I enjoyed doing for years. I could create with my own hands, and it didn’t have to be a thing. I wasn’t trying to sell products, and I wasn’t worried about developing new recipes for my blog (although I occasionally shared what I’d made online). I just liked doing it. I want to get back to that—to creating and making for the joy of it.
1. Look at your childhood
What did you do as a kid that made you come alive? When’s the last time you did that thing? (Painting, riding a bike, reading fiction, climbing a tree, building a sandcastle, flying a kite, etc.) Carve out time in your schedule for that activity. It might feel silly, but maybe what you need is to head to your backyard during nap time and climb a tree. Or bring your kids into the activity and go for a family bike ride or teach them to fly a kite.
2. Look at the last few years
What hobbies have you enjoyed in the last couple years that have taken a backseat? Knitting? Snowboarding? Yoga? Craft projects? Cooking? Photography? How can you incorporate those back into your life? Maybe it’s not possible to add a hobby back into your weekly routine, but maybe you can take a half hour on a Saturday to play the piano just for the fun of it. Maybe you can walk around a local park with your camera and snap a few photos. Keep it simple, and keep it fun!