Too many hobbies

Time for a confession: I have too many hobbies. There are so many things that I enjoy doing that there’s no way I can enjoy all of them at once. Here’s an incomplete list, in no order:

  • Knitting
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Learning languages
  • Improving my handwriting
  • Cross-stitching
  • Hiking/going for long walks (the difference in my mind is rural vs urban)
  • Singing
  • Cooking/eating
  • Crocheting
  • Meditating

I like all of these things because they’re fun and I’m happy while doing them, but also because they’re all things I can do to improve myself. Their presence in my life makes me a better person, and by spending time doing them I can improve my skill/knowledge of them by measurable degrees (which is immensely satisfying). Does that mean I should call them passions, instead of hobbies?

In order to improve at and really enjoy any of these things, I need to devote a lot of time to them. If I try dividing my time between all of them, I’ll make no progress in any of them, and I’ll get frustrated by my lack of growth in each. As my life exists right now, I can only really focus well on two at a time (three if I divide my attention by listening to audiobooks while doing another thing, or if I quit wasting so much time on the internet). I blame that pesky full-time job I have for my lack of time to devote to hobbies. And what happens when I find a romantic partner that gets offended when I spend more time with my needlework than with him?

But how do I choose? If I spend a week focusing on knitting and reading, I start missing long walks. If I spend more time on long walks, then I realize I’ve neglected my progress in penmanship. I have a hard time sticking with projects (as evidenced by the sputtering struggle of this blog) because I feel pulled to other projects.

Sometimes I wonder at the people in my life with no hobbies, instead spending their time on TV and socializing. On days like today, I envy them.

For the record, I do enjoy TV and socializing. Socializing, to me, is a necessity for life rather than a hobby, and therefore doesn’t belong on the list. TV is fun and stuff but like… have you seen the above list?? I only watch TV while I’m doing something else on that list.

How do you choose? What passions do you have, and how do you prioritize them?

P.S. Right now I’m re-reading Jane Austen’s Emma and reading-for-the-first-time Ian McEwan’s Atonement. Both gems, of course.

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