Hobbies & Why They Matter

I’ve never been someone who has a bunch of hobbies. In fact, if asked, I used to tell people I don’t have hobbies. Most people I know have hobbies like drawing, painting, hiking, sewing, etc. Are you getting the picture? So, naturally, I thought hobbies were only things that fell into those categories: nature and art. I’m allergic to nature, no lie. So I avoid it. I am also a fan of modern comforts so camping isn’t usually something I am volunteering for. I have the artistic talent of a newborn. I cannot draw a stick figure with a ruler so art is always out of the question for me. I tried sewing for a little bit, it was rather complicated and something I struggled with. Hardcore.

Despite my lack of artistic talent, I get really creative and good ideas up in my noggin. I always tend to think I can make something myself instead of buying it. A wise woman I know once told me that DIY is always better because (usually) the cost of materials is cheaper than paying for it or hiring someone to do it, AND you get to learn a new skill. Also, my husband’s first MOS is an engineer soooo he is rather handy. I’ve always been about doing things myself.

As an adult I’ve learned that hobbies are whatever you do that makes you happy. I had the wrong idea the entire time. Hobbies are the things that give you time to yourself. While I may not be the best drawer, I’m great at making cute things with cute sayings. This is something that only got easier once I got my Cricut. I also went back to writing, which I’ve learned is my passion and something I am pursuing as more than a hobby. Writing started out as a hobby though. It was a way to kill time when I was a teenager. I’ll tell that story a different day. 

I’ve learned a few things regarding hobbies since I’ve discovered I have them. Oh, I’m a huge reader too. I’ve always had a book in my hand since I was a kid. Reading all the books at the bookstore is definitely a hobby and I refuse to let anybody tell me otherwise. I digress. Back to what I’ve learned with hobbies. 

Hobbies are a mandatory.

Some might not agree with me on this. Hear me out though. For me, ever since I discovered hobbies are not just drawing and existing in nature, I’ve learned why they are so important. People who enjoy hiking usually enjoy getting away from the chaos of life. People who draw silence out the world around them and pour whatever they might be feeling into their drawings. For me, writing is where I figured out things I was dealing with in life. It is where I brain dumped all the crap going on and figured out what really mattered. All of these are good things and get you away from the chaos of life. Everybody these days seems to be preaching about self-care and how important it is. They are not wrong. Self-care if very important. If you are not taking care of yourself, you cannot take care of others. You cannot be at your full capacity when you are in desperate need of a break. You cannot draw from an empty well. When I read, I read a lot of YA (young adult) books. One of the reasons I will never give up YA is because YA books make reading an escape. The storylines in YA books are usually simple, even with series books. Sometimes we are dealing with the toppling of a government like in The Hunger Games, but even then, Katniss didn’t wake up and decide to overthrow the government, it sort of just happened. She was just trying to keep Peeta alive. The simplicity is what I enjoy. Being an adult, life is hardly simple, there are always more problems, more things to do, more cleaning, all of the above. It takes me out of the chaos of my life and inserts me into a fictional world where the (usually) the biggest issue could be solved with communication. 

Hobbies are life-giving.

How many people do you know right now who are making a side business with their hobby? How many people do you know that were able to create a business using their hobby? In today’s day we can make a business out of everything. There are plenty of people, like me, who would rather learn how to do something and make it themselves when a problem comes up. Then there are others that would rather save the time and energy and just buy whatever they are looking for. That is where your hobby comes in! Hello side gig. However, just because you have a hobby doesn’t mean you need to make money off of it. Before getting my Cricut, I used to tell myself I cannot have it because I didn’t need it. I didn’t need it because I didn’t have some side business that required the use of it. I eventually got a Cricut so I could make my son and myself shirts for our Universal trip. Ever since I got it though, I’ve discovered a whole new world of crafting that allows me to make cool stuff for myself and for my friends. I didn’t need a side business to get it for myself. (Although, it does open potential. hahaha)

Hobbies help creativity.

Today, I spent hours creating bible tabs. It took longer than I anticipated. It was frustrating at times. However, at the end, I got a beautiful product and I’m happy about. While making it, I got to think of other things I could make with this new use I found of my Cricut and how easy it was to get the paper off my cutting mat. (Last time I tried to make a card, it was a disaster.) I got inspired for other projects though, while in the process of this one. I got inspired for my book while working on these tabs because every day things happen to characters and my frustration over how much time this project took could easily be placed into a story with different circumstances and it would help make my character seem more real. Inspiration like this doesn’t come from doing the same thing over and over again. New experiences = new inspiration. I think we don’t realize how interconnected things are. Every area of life will bleed into the others. Stretching your creative muscles in a different hobby or craft can help your creativity for your job or future problems. I am a huge fan of creative problem solving. 

This is just a short list of why hobbies are important. There are plenty of reasons why you need to allow yourself have a hobby and enjoy that hobby. Don’t let the culture of today and the demand to be cool and busy allow you to take away the things that refresh your soul.

Cats- The New & Old

I should probably mention that I am not talking about the animal cat in this blog post, like the ones you have for pets. Although our cat, Garfield, is quite the character (he thinks he is royalty) and I could write about him. This is not the post for that. 

I want to talk to talk about the musical Cats by Andrew Lloyd Webber. I remember having the VHS of this musical growing up. My brother loved it and would watch it on repeat. Myself, on the other hand, didn’t get it. The beginning seemed cool. Wait, what?! Cat’s have different names?! What is this? Tell me more!

They didn’t. They just went off explaining how cats have more than one name and giving examples. As a child, I didn’t enjoy slow songs and the moment they started singing about Grizabella I was out. My interest was officially lost. Also, WHERE WAS THE SPEAKING?! Gosh, haven’t these cats heard about sentence structure and conversations? Why was everything a song? What did this even mean?

So most of my childhood, I knew three things. 1) Cats was a musical. 2) One that I was not particularly fond of. 3) There was zero dialogue and that was weird. It made me weary about musicals because I liked dialogue and conversations and dang it, I wanted that in a musical. Cats gave me a skewed idea of musicals and I basically avoided them until 7th grade. 

Fast forward to freshmen in college Ashleigh. She’s more mature, has gained life experience, isn’t totally clueless like she was as a child. I’m introduced to Phantom of the Opera (!!!!) and decide to give Cats another try. My uncle was telling me that I was missing something. And missing something, I was. I was missing out on the magic of the musical Cats.

Once I sat down and actually paid attention to what was happening during the songs, things started to make sense. I started to appreciate the fact that the musical didn’t include any dialogue. That was the main part of the magic of this musical for me. I loved figuring out everything for myself and through each song. Macavity? He’s the bad guy. He just isn’t a name they shout when the music gets dramatic (like I previously thought). Also, Macavity is my favorite cat. He has a total of like 4 minutes of screen time and they are awesome. One day, one of my characters in a story will have a cat named Macavity, you heard it here first. 

Fast forward to last month where a trailer for a new Cats movie dropped. What?! YES! A modern Cats, sign me up. I got so excited waiting for the trailer to load. Seeing the cast list also got me excited. 

Then I saw the trailer and now I’m concerned. Why is Victoria suddenly becoming a main character? Wait, are they talking? There are actual words in this movie! Cool! Wait, no. They didn’t talk in the musical. That is what I eventually loved about it. Wait. 

Back when I finally watched the full musical and discovered that it was magical and everything was great about it, I watched every bit of the special features I had. I watched the director’s thoughts, the behind the scenes, the figuring out how to make the movie and how they picked their cast, all of it. I watched it all. Every single second, I’m not even kidding. I was obsessed. 

The one thing that stuck out to me was when Andrew Lloyd Webber was talking about how he got the rights to Cats (from T.S. Eliot’s wife), he mentions that Eliot wouldn’t give the rights to Disney and he thought there was no way he would get them from the wife. Eliot didn’t give Disney rights for a movie because he was afraid the cats would be too pretty. Webber got the rights because he wasn’t going to make the cats pretty, these were street cats. Cats the musical was born from the text of the poems. That is what I was thinking about as I watched the trailer. This little memory I had of all the behind the scenes footage I watched.

I’m trying to keep an open mind, but now I understand why the older generations dislike when modern remakes get all the attention from classic films. I get that you cannot make a movie without dialogue but I’m afraid the dialogue will change things. I don’t know. This is trying to keep an open mind. I’ll still be in theaters watching it.

Although, I did recently learn that Universal Pictures has owned the film adaption rights for a while now, and Webber is involved with the movie so maybe I’m overreacting. 

(Said no fan of something. Ever.)