I’ve written before about how I hate New Year’s resolutions and the way they generally seem to involve taking something away or doing less of something. Last year I un-resolved and gave myself permission to do more. Unfortunately, COVID had other ideas, I stayed home and did rather less that I’d hoped. I know, you did too. Moving forward, I want to reconnect with things that make me happy.
But what are the things that make me happy?
Speaking with a girlfriend recently, we were both surprised when we realised that somehow our hobbies have slipped away from us. Our free time was spent ferrying other, smaller people to their hobbies or snatching the odd moment for ourselves en-route to doing groceries or some other family-related business.
This year, I’m determined to find my new thing. That ‘something’ I love doing, the something I will gladly make time for and enjoy just for me.
Why do I need a thing?
You need a thing because having a hobby enriches your life in many different ways and has known positive health benefits as the cherry on top. Having something that interests and excites you promotes eustress … promotes what? Eustress…a type of beneficial stress which enhances wellbeing. Without eustress to help us stay energised, it’s easy to feel bored, unmotivated and disengaged from ourselves.
Aside from offering new challenges, hobbies can enrich your social circle as you meet new like-minded people. If nothing else, finding something you love to do will ensure you take time for yourself; something I know many women see fall down their list of priorities.
How do I find my thing?
Start with some questions – do you want to do something active? How active? What did you enjoy doing as your younger self … does that still interest you? Ask yourself if your midlife knees are really up to kick boxing. Are you looking for something new, different, and perhaps less strenuous? Yoga? Pilates? Wild swimming? Do you want to participate in something structured or do you need more flexibility? And the big one, don’t forget to factor in how much money you’re willing to spend on your new hobby. Deciding to take up golf requires way more budget than joining a pub knitting circle!
Try before you commit
Before you run out and buy head to toe biking gear, give yourself permission to try different things out without expectations. Channel my friend Liz, who has tried hip-hop, Flamenco and belly dancing classes with hilarious results. Quickly recognising hip-hop classes weren’t for her, Liz tried to make a quiet and dignified exit from the studio. Unfortunately her fellow students had other ideas, ebulliently shouting encouragement and willing her to stay. She did finish the entire embarrassing and exhausting class, never to return. The moral of the story is to put yourself out there and try things on for size. Even if you don’t find a hobby you love, you’ll amuse your girlfriends for years with re-enactments. I’m pleased to say Liz now has stand up paddle boarding in her sights.
You’re not going to love everything you try and that is part of the fun. Don’t give up on finding that new (or revisited) something you love to do — you will. Like all good things, it might take some effort but as for me, I reckon it’s high time to get back on that hobby horse!
Tracy is a media professional working in television. An enthusiastic explorer of the inter webs, she's held many different roles and has worked on documentary, reality and lifestyle television shows across almost two decades in the industry. Tracy also writes.