Making time for my hobbies again...
Sometimes it hits me that I appear to have a lot less hobbies that I used to. When I was a teenager I dabbled in athletics, amateur dramatics, yoga, and I did a great deal of reading and writing. Losing track of what you enjoy to do in your spare time as you get older is inevitable in a sense, as we tend to get less free time but more responsibilities. For example, the summer when I was 16, I spent the whole six weeks holiday writing fun blog posts for my first blog (which is now deleted as it is highly embarrassing!), but in the summers following, I tended to spend most of the time working at my part-time admin job.
It's easy to blame not doing any creative writing or not picking up my ukulele for a year on "not having enough hours in the day", but I manage to find time for other things. I find hours for watching mindless re-runs of trashy-but-cosy programmes like Four in a Bed and Come Dine with Me.... I find the time to watch YouTubers babble away about a new top they've bought or what they've eaten that day. I could use that time to pick up a book or dig out my notebook. I just seem to have got out of the habit of doing so. It's a bit of a paradox - why do we tend to put off things that we want to do? Maybe I put off doing these things because I build them up in my mind and have the tendency to be a perfectionist about them. If I take half an hour of my evening to do some writing, naturally I want the words I produce to be excellent, so that it feels worthwhile. And similarly for reading - if I spend a bit of time with a book, I want to get through as many pages as I can so that I can congratulate myself on being such an avid reader.
But I shouldn't think like that... I've heard time and time again that writers (for example) just write. It doesn't matter if what they are producing isn't always wonderful, they keep on writing every day, because that's whats writers do... they write. I guess the cliche of practice makes perfect can be applied to anything. If I feel like my creativity is lacking, I can bet that it's because I haven't been taking the time to do anything creative lately. Whilst I do think it's true that some people are naturally more creative than others, anyone's creative spark will get duller if you don't give it the opportunity to stretch its legs.
I need to pick up the book or the notebook without thinking of all the unnecessary pressure I've put on myself. Rather that having the argument in my mind about whether I should read for ten minutes or watch a YouTube video about something I'm never actually going to buy, I should just grab the book without thinking twice about it. I've actually been trying this out over the last couple of weeks and I already feel that I've got back into the habit of reading. It's starting to feel natural again. Just like anything else that you want to get back into, be it going to the gym or getting up earlier, it takes time to make it a habit... and seeing as I really got out of the habit of reading for enjoyment whilst I was at university, it's understandable that it would take me a while to get back into it.
At the end of the day, we all prioritise and make time for the things we want to do, even if we don't realise it. In the past, I've prioritised watching vlogs on YouTube over reading, so I've done that in my spare time rather than picking up a book (and I wondered why I wasn't reading as much as I used to... it was hardly rocket science!). But now that I've made the conscious decision that I want to make time for my old hobbies, I feel assured that I will be able to.
I used to read loads before bed when I was younger, but that's not something I've done in a while because my boyfriend is such an early bird and prefers to have to light out by half 9! To combat this, I've been making use of my iPad and the Kindle app. I can dim the light right down and put it on night mode, and the gentle light doesn't disturb him. Plus there's no sound of pages turning. I have to admit that I much prefer reading from a physical book, but this has been a great solution. I'm currently reading The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry and my old childhood favourite, The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett. It sounds cheesy, but I definitely feel like I'm doing my mind and my creativity a favour when I'm reading these two brilliant books instead of watching YouTube clothing hauls.
Do you have any hobbies that you've left behind and want to get back into?