Saturday, September 15, 2012

Fearless Fridays: What Do You Love to Do?

**This week's Fearless Friday's installment is a day late due to some technical difficulties on the author's part. My apologies. And enjoy!**

I was talking with my 17-yr old cousin yesterday and we ended up on the topic of making things. I told her that it's great to be creative and how I love to make things. Her reply was "Being creative is boring." Then she went back to playing on her smartphone, listening to music, texting her friends and checking Facebook. Ah, to be young in this time and age.

Commodore 64 - ancient!
When I was her age, I didn't have an ipad or a cell phone. There was no Facebook, not even myspace. What I had was an imagination and creative soul. I was creating my own scripts for games on my first home computer (Commodore 64), making my own playlists on cassettes, painting designs on my jeans, making my own bracelets and hair accessories and writing. Back then in the 80's, things weren't so readily easy to get and I think it gave kids a deep appreciation for being creative and independent when it came to having hobbies.

Having a hobby offered me a way to channel that creative side of me and it offered me an escape from stress. Being creative and having a hobby helped me to discover my talents. Honestly, having a hobby or two keep me sane. As we get older, it's even more needed. We have a job, a family to care for, rent to pay, etc. Having a hobby allows us some time for ourselves. Many of us spend so much time taking care of others or focusing on things outside of ourselves so having a hobby gives us that ME time that we need and deserve.

Having a hobby will also put you out in the world more in different capacities outside of your normal routine and life. You will make new connections and have new experiences. Having a hobby could even make you really see your life's calling and cause you to embrace a career change. It helps you to get in tune with your inner self and what you love to do. It helps clear your mind and calm your nerves. Having a hobby is a spirit booster. It'll bring you joy.

My dad, taking a self-portrait using a mirror
As a kid growing up, I used to watch my dad in awe. He was the Hobby King. The man had a new hobby every other week! But later on, I realized that they were all related. My dad was great with his hands and had a sharp eye for detail.  So whether he was building model airplanes, putting together computers, building a book shelf, at the rifle range, shooting at targets or taking pictures with his 35mm camera, he was engaging in hobbies that used his great talents. My dad was very old school. He believed he should be the one to go out and work while my mom stayed at home and cared for my brother and I. So he worked very long hours. When he came home, his hobbies allowed him time for himself and gave him joy.

A hat I crocheted for my niece
I thrived on that notion about hobbies. When I was presented the chance to play an instrument in junior high school, I decided to learn how to play the flute. To this day, I still play the flute. It’s a great hobby of mine that clears my mind. The music soothes my soul. One day, while visiting my aunt in Florida about 10 years ago, I saw her crocheting and after watching her for a little while, I was intrigued. I asked her to teach me how to crochet. I’ve been crocheting ever since and especially love to make hats, bags and scarfs. When I am riding the NYC subway, I love to put on my headphones, listen to some Public Enemy or Amy Winehouse and crochet something. Something about the process clears my mind and then the finished product just makes me proud of my gift. I, too, like my dad, am great with my hands and have a sharp eye. I love to take pictures like he did and my love for travel allows me to take pictures and document my adventures. I have many hobbies I love, which made me discover that I have the gift of being able to make things. I discovered that I am truly a DIY-type of person and it brings me such joy.

However, my greatest hobby ended up showing me what my true calling is. I have always been a writer since I was able to put a pencil to a sheet of paper. It was a way for me to express myself and share thoughts that I was not ready to expose to the world. Despite many detours and bumps on my life’s journey, my writing always remained constant. It took a major shift in my life for me to see that writing is what I should be doing. And here I am. I have a short story being published in an anthology that will be released in November. I am writing my own book. And I have my own blog as well as having written for other blogs, such as this one. And I am just beginning! If that isn’t proof that a hobby can lead you to your calling, I don’t know what is.

A pic I took of the CN Tower in Toronto
So I ended my conversation yesterday with my teenage cousin, telling her that she needs to get a hobby. It doesn't have to be a major creative thing where she is making something grand. Not everyone is meant to create a fashion line, write novels, make jewelry or create fantastic works of art. But you never know...a hobby can lead to something wonderful. It can lead to you to further learn about yourself, push your boundaries and honestly, keep you sane.  And hopefully, one day she will see that being creative is her birthright and certainly not "boring".

I remember what my dad said to me once regarding choosing a hobby: 

“What do you LOVE to do? Whatever it is, embrace that and do it as much as you can. It doesn’t matter if it’s collecting bottle caps or writing poetry. If it is something you love, it is who YOU are.”  

Some people go their whole lives without doing what they love. And like I said before, who knows? A hobby may lead you to discover your true calling. And while you’re on that journey, a hobby will at least make you smile and give you some joy. That, in itself, is a beautiful thing.

So what do YOU love to do?

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