We went to a dinner party last weekend with a man who retired at age 46 to enjoy his 4 young children. He is now 63 and wants to go back to work. Why? Empty nest, no grandchildren and no hobbies. He said that he was going to work because he didn't have any hobbies. That made me sad and prompted this post. Everyone needs a hobby to make life more fun.
As adults, we are really busy. We often have jobs, family and friends to juggle. We try to squeeze in keeping our clothes, house and car clean. Plus we have to eat and sleep. There are lots of demands on our time particularly when your kids are young. I am here to add one more "must do" to your already full life. It is imperative that you have a hobby in your life as well, maybe two!
Our families are important, the most important element in our full lives. Those fabulous members will grow up, they may move, some of them may not be in your life during your whole life. You need to love and be with them but reserve time for your own interests.
Jobs provide money, contact with other people and a sense of who we are. But we need to be more than the job, we need to define ourselves as more than our occupations because sooner or later, work will change. You may retire. Your company may move. Your position may be eliminated. You need ways of seeing who you are above and beyond what you do for a living.
We all need hobbies and interests outside of our family role and paying gig. Now how do you go about layering in one more thing?
1. Books - Reading in and of itself is a great hobby. You can read a every time you are in the bathroom. You can read before you fall asleep. You can listen to books in the car or while you are eating dinner. Books can lead to information about hobbies which may interest you.
2. Background - Have Podcasts playing while you cook or clean. Play a new kind of music, say jazz or classical, while another activity is going on.
3. Rent not buy - Rent clubs or a bike. Try something new which may or may not work out and you can go on and try something else.
4. Park district - They offer inexpensive dabble experiences, Yoga classes, cooking classes or investment advice.
5. Library - There are books, cds, dvds, clubs and groups on almost everything under the sun and it's nearly always free.
6. Sidekick - Go along with a friend or family member and check out their hobby. Try something new which may lead to another interest.
7. Internet - Read blogs about pets, quilts, sailing or recipes. Sign up for Goodreads or a fitness site. Find out what is going on in your neck of the woods and once a month, do one of them. Start a group or join one.
I retired from teaching but I still teach a class most semesters so I keep my interest in Spanish current. I follow French pages on Facebooks and Twitter. I have a current membership to the Art Institute. I quilt and sew and belong to four guilds. I do Aqua Exercise, write reviews for Yelp and write this blog.
As a result, having an empty nest, older body and no job to go to has not been a problem for me. (OK, the older body is no picnic, I admit it.) I try to keep my mind engaged and learning. I meet new people and keep up with those I've known for longer. I see and hear about too many people who are unhappy, lonely and withdrawing from life because they only had one thing going in their lives.
However, I have had major fails. I may love my purple golf clubs but, boy, I stink at the sport. I have made some scarves but knitting is still a challenge. But that's OK, you can try things and move on or keep practicing them.
The important thing is that you get a hobby right now. Expand who and what you are. It may be hard today but you will be really glad later. That's all, I have to go work on my hobbies!
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Is this my only post about how to have a better time of it when you're older? Nope, I had one on Aging Fearlessly.
Need help finding a hobby? Check out this list.