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.

Finding Happiness

One of the most common things I say is that you can’t allow one bad second, minute, hour, two hours decide the rest of the 24. I started thinking this when I would wake up feeling rushed and like I couldn’t get out the door in time. Regardless of feeling rushed in the morning, I shouldn’t allow that hour it took me to get ready to decide that the other 23 hours are going to be rushed and crazy. That’s like setting the day up for failure. I didn’t want that kind of commitment to a bad day. 

By the time you read this, it will be yesterday, but I’m going to tell you about my day and how I worked out finding happiness despite the bad moments. I even found happy parts in the bad moment. Today was grand.

This morning started off awesome, we got up, got ready, took my dog to his grooming appointment, you know typical adulting stuff. We got doughnuts and got some stuff we needed for the house. This year I am home schooling Little Man for preschool since he starts Kindergarten next year so we got some stuff to get that ready. We start Monday! We also made a trip to Ikea to work out Little Man’s school desk (and found the cutest one and he loves it). Side note, I would just like to point out I went to Ikea and I was in and out in less than an hour. I don’t think I’ve ever done that. I’m giving myself ten points for that. 

Later, we were driving to go look at a model house. I hit a curb and completely killed my tire and had to pull off onto a side street where builders were currently working on the houses. This put both my husband and I in a grumpy mood because we were both frustrated that it happened. It’s not like anybody enjoys having to change a tire, in the heat, when you were in the middle of something. I highly doubt that someone would want that to happen to them. 

So, we off on this side street, blocking part of it, standing outside while my husband is working on putting on the little donut I had in my trunk. One of the construction workers came over with a car jack, that was better than mine and helped us change my tire. Faith in humanity restored. There are still nice and good people out there. Which is a nice reminder when there is so much awfulness going on in the news.

This one thing could have ruined our whole day. In the past, something like this might have even caused a fight because we were both so frustrated. While we weren’t frustrated at each other, and just the situation, in the past, we wouldn’t have recognized that and just taken it out on each other. Let’s be thankful for growth right now because even though we were frustrated, we didn’t take it out on each other. We went and checked out the model after we got the donut on. We weren’t impressed. It was a long shot anyway, hubby doesn’t like townhouses but since I do, he was open to checking some new ones out so see if he could get behind it. He can’t. I couldn’t get behind those either, to be honest. 

After, we headed over to the tire place to get a new tire. Instead of being grumpy that this whole thing was throwing off my day ( we were supposed to continue the adulting journey and go grocery shopping) I was grateful that we changed our budget and financial habits years ago so we had savings and I was able to go in and get my tire fixed without worrying about how we were going to get the money. Changing my tire was going to take a few hours, the tire shop was busy. So we walked over to the shopping center next door, got a snack, and walked around the store. We even ran into some friends and got to talk to them for a bit. Then my car was fixed earlier than the quoted time and we came home and had pizza for dinner. I got to work on a couple projects I’ve been meaning to work on and my brother and Little Man watched a movie together. 

Despite the hit to my savings and the time lost, it was still a very good day. While we were walking around the store, we got to have great conversations with each other and with our friends. Sometimes, it is really nice to run into someone at the store. I could have let ruining my tire be the end of the day and everything after it sucks. You know? It’s so easy to get into a “everything sucks” when something bad, frustrating or irritating happens. Especially when it comes at the end of a difficult week (like we had, a lot of emotions ran through my house). I choose to be happy today.

I believe happiness is a choice. I’m also a half glass full kind of girl. I bleed optimism. However, it isn’t a super hard choice to decide that something is going to ruin everything else. It is hard to act out, that is definitely a learned discipline. The choice to decide that one bad thing cannot rule out the other good is simple. I mean, if you had $1,000 would you be upset if you lost $10 of it? Would it ruin your whole day? That is why you shouldn’t allow a bad hour define the other 24. Finding happiness is pretty simple, you just have to look for it. 

Being Content

Being content gets a bad reputation. Some might think that being content is a step below happiness. Others think being content is settling for less than they deserve. Also, according to dictionary.com, content has nothing to do with your state of mind or your emotional health. So that doesn’t help the bad reputation content already has. If you can’t even find a definition of it being something to do with emotions, how on earth can you tell someone that being content is a good thing?

Well, that is what I am going to tackle. I believe being content is the key to true happiness. If you are constantly chasing something, looking for happiness, you will never catch it. It is like chasing perfection. It’s a marathon with no finish line. If you are looking for happiness in your significant other or your friends, you are going to be miserable. While being around certain people can lift our moods, it is not their responsibility to make you happy. That is a huge expectation to put on someone and it’s unrealistic. No person will make you happy every single time you talk to them. These other people you are trusting with your happiness are human. Humans are nowhere near the spectrum of perfect. They are going to make mistakes just like you make mistakes. If people are the reason you get to be happy, what happens when that person offends you on accident? Or hurts you unintentionally. People don’t wake up in the morning and think about how they will make all the mistakes that day, but mistakes still happen.

The truth is that only you can be responsible for your happiness. Happiness is a choice which is why I believe happiness lies in being content. Being content is also a choice. You have to decide that you are okay, you have everything you need and that you are good where you are. Things change constantly, life throws huge curve balls and places hurdles to jump over. Imagine if your happiness was ONLY in your job and you lost it. What then? Do you live your life being miserable all the time? I’m not talking about losing your job and instantly being happy after being told you no longer have a job. I’m talking about a month later or even a few weeks later. Are you just going to sit and stew because you lost the only thing that made you happy? How could that situation be different if your happiness was because you were content with everything else in your life?

I’m generally a happy person. Even growing up with all the curve balls and hurdles placed in front of me, I kept a smile on my face. Growing up, I didn’t know that there was another option, to be honest. I didn’t know that you could be unhappy about something. I knew when I didn’t like things but I couldn’t control anything in my life so I sort of just had to ride the wave. Riding the waves taught me a lot, I became adaptable to change. Change seems scary. I won’t lie, every time things start to change in my life my stomach knots up a little bit. I could allow my emotions to take over and think of everything wrong that could happen and dwell on it. OR. See, there is another option here. Or, I could decide that no matter what happens, I’ll be okay. I am alive and that is the most important thing. My son is thriving and happy. That is important to me. My husband and I are pursuing our dreams. That is important to me. Nothing can take that away from me. Nobody can take away my dreams or goals. Nobody can take away my husband’s dreams and goals. Nobody can stop us from pursuing them. These are all things that are going on in our lives and we’re okay with that. We are okay with finally pursuing our dreams and goals now instead of comparing ourselves to others who have already accomplished something they have set out to do. We also have faith and nobody can take God from us.

Life is all about change, seasons change, people grow, businesses open and close. Hardly anything ever seems constant anymore. Even the friends you thought would be around forever might not be around much anymore. Which is why I argue that you should be content with where you are at and what you have and when the waves start crashing in, you can adjust and be okay with whatever happens next. There are a lot of things in life that you cannot control. Being happy and being content with where you are at is one of the things you can control.

In the spirit of being content and enjoying exactly where I am in life. We are doing a year of no spending challenge. Another awesome blogger I follow, Miranda, has done this and is the inspiration for our family challenge. She also has a podcast and in one of the episodes, she talks all about her family’s experience during their year of no spending.

So for us, we are not buying anything non-essential. We are also challenging ourselves to buy our stuff online so we don’t have to go to stores. (Also, going to stores takes more work for me these days so this part of the challenge is also to help me out.) Part of this challenge is also not adding to the things we already have. We are still figuring out exactly what that looks like for us and what is realistic  and doable for us. The one thing I can say for sure we are not buying this year is toys. My son has plenty. 

Basically, my husband and I talked about how we wanted to be doing more and not consumed by our to-do list or obligations. (This is mainly a problem for me, my husband usually just has to work around me and that isn’t always fair.)  We wanted to be spending more time as a family. The goal is to become more family time focused and more fun time focused. Going to stores is cool and all but stores are not experiences. My son is already 4 and I still feel like I just had him. I’ve been told that it will feel the same even when he is 18. If he is going to be growing up when I blink, I want that blink to be full of awesome memories instead of me wondering where I was.

With wanting to be more family time and fun time focused, we have a few challenges we have started. This no-spending challenge is one of them. I’ll be sharing more about them in future posts.

I am also launching a newsletter! If you sign up for it you get my 5 Day Kickstart to Journaling for FREE! Let me know if you need help or have any questions. A pop up should have displayed if you are on the blog page.

So, to recap- being content is a choice. Being happy is also a choice and true happiness lies in being content. The things we chase after do not really make us happy. Also, being miserable is also a choice. You define yourself, nothing else does unless you allow it to.