Thursday, September 15, 2011

When did you stop having hobbies?

When you were at school, did you have a whole bunch of hobbies that you did, not for any long-term career goal, but simply because they were fun and you enjoyed them? As a child and teenager, I probably did have an annoying amount of hobbies (including Irish dancing, kung-fu and ballet), but my main hobby was always music - playing piano and being a cellist in the local youth orchestra. So how I went over 10 years hardly playing a note, I don’t know. For some reason, when we "grow up", we leave hobbies behind. Hobbies are associated with something kids occupy their time with and it’s not exactly socially acceptable to have a "hobby" beyond the age of 17.

A few years ago, I realised over the course of my time training to become and practising as a lawyer, I had lost all my old hobbies. I envied the resumes of the young graduates entering the profession and all their interests outside of the law. So that was it. I bought a piano. It was one of the best things I ever did. I am not the greatest pianist in the world, nor will I ever be, but it all came back to me much quicker than I thought.  It may not serve any career-orientated purpose (since, let’s face it, with my tiny hands, I’m never going to be a concert pianist), but when I’m on my own, playing a piece, I get lost in it. I am allowed to have emotions and for those emotions to be channelled through the music. I can imagine a story behind the music and can feel and live that story while I play. Yes I make mistakes, but it doesn’t matter. For that time, while I’m playing, everything else goes away. And that in itself is enough of a reason to play.

So here’s my challenge to you. Stop telling people you "used to" do this or that. Pick up the instrument you used to play, draw and paint again or take up a dance class. Why should kids have all the fun? You might surprise yourself.


  1. It's all about being 'intentional' with your time, isn't it? I stopped first when I started work, and then again when I had kids. Stopping work was a turning point - I rediscovered a couple of things then, but lost them again when the kids came along. Now I find time for 1 of my 3 main hobbies, the one it is easiest to squeeze into the odd corners of time which present themelves occasionally! I miss the other 2 which I used to do with other people....but as I tell myself, it's a phase which will pass, and I will get back to them one day. Inspired to hear your piano purchase made such a difference!

  2. I dragged my guitar around the world for 15 years before I took it out of the case and restrung it and signed myself and my son up for lessons. After my first lesson I was hooked. I couldn't believe my brain could function in that way again. That was 2 years ago and now my life is getting busy again, so I can feel my guitar time slipping away and losing importance. I need to somehow rejuvenate that fun feeling when learning was easy and not a so much a chore. Maybe I need to start my own band...