If you follow me on social media, you’ll be well aware of my relatively new obsession with salsa dancing. I’m a woman possessed. I can’t stop. Every spare moment is spent doing that right now and though the dancing may not be particularly dirty, I truly am having the time of my life (plus, you damn sure can’t put Baby in the corner). Anyhoo, throwing myself into this wholeheartedly has made me realise how often we just don’t have hobbies as adults.
When we’re kids, we’re signed up to all sorts of activities, in the hope they make us interesting, well-rounded individuals, who have some sort of set of skills. As a child, I was lucky my parents constantly ensured I was filling my time with something; horse riding (til my obsession with horses came to a stop), piano lessons, swimming lessons, violin (a sonically painful time for everyone involved), dance classes. My time after school was taken up with some sort of activity at least three times a week. I was encouraged to learn, explore, cultivate some skills and interests.
So as we get older, why do we stop exploring all the avenues of what interests us and who we can become? It seems there’s this large chunk of adulthood where we kind of just think ‘well, this is who I am’ and just rock it out til we retire and decide to take up painting with watercolours or get into gardening.
We’ll use busyness as an excuse. We work a lot, keep ourselves busy with that, maybe go to the pub after work or dinner with friends. If you have kids, obviously that takes over and your interests have to take a backseat for at least the next eighteen years. So it’s easy to justify having a lack of interests beyond intense napping and Netflix bingeing.
But hobbies are super important. You owe it to yourself to take some time and put some effort into something that doesn’t involve furthering your career. Just doing something completely unrelated to your job or daily grind lights a fire in you. You’ll see other parts of yourself come alive.
Learn a language, join a book club, take a class, learn a skill. And just enjoy it. Do it because it makes you happy. People will see you enjoying said thing and will tell you to turn it into a side hustle and make some money out of it, ’cause these are the times we’re living in now – everyone is expected to have a portfolio career. But it’s really OK to just do something ’cause you enjoy it. It doesn’t have to be a transition into a new career. Just take pleasure in learning something new.
We may be adults but we’re not fully cooked yet. There’s always room to learn, grow and explore. Get out there and go do something.