Friday, June 13, 2014

The stuff of hobbies

by ecstaticist via Flickr
Hello, friends. Things have been a bit quieter around here than I would like. Since the year is almost halfway over (seriously, how did that happen?!), I thought I would update you all on the progress of my challenges, as well as comment on an interesting thing I've observed in my attempts at enjoying life more.

  • Write and mail at least one letter a month to a loved one: I believe I managed to do this every month except for April and I usually send more than one letter a month. I've really been enjoying picking out cards and thinking of reasons to send someone a letter. It makes me feel more connected to special days and the people I care about. I like to think the recipients enjoy this one too :-).
  • Forgive someone who has hurt you in some way and really mean it: I haven't made any intentional progress on this one, but I have a few people in mind that I need to sit down and finish working through the pain that they caused me.
  • Volunteer: No progress made on this one either. Now that my ceramics class is over, I feel like I'll have more time to devote to other things, so I'm hopeful that I'll make some headway soon.
  • Stop dating for awhile: Gold star for this one. I was entirely single for close to three months and while I haven't been actively trying to date anyone, there have been a few instances where guys have crossed my path and we casually saw each other for a spell. I'm not sure how I'm going to handle this in the near future- if I want to continue being rather passive about it or if I want to fully jump back in and try for something more serious.
  • Be more active: Lots of gold stars here! I started running the end of January and I'm currently up to running 3.25 miles. I signed up to run my first 5K the end of June. I'm super, duper proud of myself for this considering how I thought I was terrible at running for most of my life. I've been hiking a ton as well and was even able to swim a few times.
  • Go on a 1 week vacation to somewhere I’ve never been: Can I fudge on this one a little bit? I treated myself to a little birthday trip in May and spent about 5 days in and around Portland, OR. There's quite a bit going on between now and the end of the year, so I doubt I'll be able to take a vacation that's a full week.
  • Be near the ocean regularly: I've managed to get out to the beach and the bay, mostly on hiking trips, about once a month or so.
  • Start blogging again and post at least once a month: As you all can attest, this one is a big no. I've been managing to write a post about every 2 months. Something I definitely want to work on.
  • Go thrifting once every two months: Another nope. Not a high priority, but something to consider doing when I'm feeling low.
  • Make my pets happy: I think this one is a yes. My cats have been getting canned food for dinner and all the extra boxes they want to play in. I've also been paying more attention to why they misbehave and altering things accordingly. I feel as though I generally have been yelling at them less, but for some reason they've been acting like jerks the last week or so, so they may have negated all of that.
  • Take writing more seriously: A big, fat no. I feel as though a few things have been conspiring against me to make this less of a priority. While I greatly enjoyed my ceramics class and am really glad I took it, it took up a good chunk of my free time and creative energy. Now that my class is over, I'm thinking I'll have more time and will be in need of a steady creative outlet. 
  • Make strides to get my dad's artwork out there: Another pretty big no. I did finish scanning all of my dad's slides, but I still need to go back and rescan the slides of the pieces we think have the most potential, so we can have a higher quality image of them. I simply need to make this a higher priority and stop coming up with excuses.
  • Be more creative/allow yourself to pursue hobbies and interests: I feel like I've done a pretty good job at this. Aside from my ceramics class, I signed up for a one day glass fusing class this month and generally feel less bad about and more excited to pursue creative things. I still feel like there's room to grow here though. I've managed to identify one thing that's been holding me back and I thought I would share it with you all since it no doubt has a lot to do with the way I grew up.
It will probably come as no surprise to you that I generally hate stuff. Clutter gives me feelings of anxiety, uneasiness, and loss of control. I feel as though I can't think as well when I'm surrounded by disorder and too many things. Considering I grew up in a hoard, it makes total sense for me to feel these things and I would say that broadly, not liking to have an overabundance of things is a good thing. When it comes to being creative and exploring interests, however, my dislike of stuff tends to hold me back since many hobbies require the acquisition of supplies or equipment in order to do them.

Want to run? You'll need sneakers and appropriate clothes. Swim? You'll need a bathing suit, towel, goggles, and a cap. Ceramics? You'll need the appropriate tools to work the clay. Reading? You'll need books. Knitting? Yarn and needles. Biking? A bike, lock, helmet, repair tools, and spare parts. Yoga? A mat and appropriate clothes. You get the idea.

The stuff of hobbies is what regularly holds me back from trying new things. I don't want to try something out because I'd have to get all the supplies and then if I don't like it, all those things will just sit around. Even if I do like it, those supplies will sit around unused when I'm not actively pursing the hobby. If I take up something creative that requires me to create physical things, those creations will also wind up taking up space, like all of the things I made in my ceramics class. One of the big reasons I'm not planning to continue taking ceramics in the very near future is because I feel as though I already have too many pieces of my pottery sitting around my apartment.

I haven't come up with very many solutions to this problem. I, of course, can try to be selective in what hobbies I undertake, specifically choose hobbies that don't require a lot of stuff, try out a hobby before I commit to purchasing supplies, and give away most of the creations I wind up making. The biggest hurdle for me though is the mental barrier I keep coming up against: the "stuff=bad" mentality I've ingrained in my brain. I can take all of these approaches in an attempt to convince myself to pursue an interest, but I will still have an aversion to acquiring stuff. The stuff will damper my enjoyment of the process and the results. The stuff will stop me from being as fully creative as I can be. I think taking my ceramics class was a big step in the right direction and I think the enjoyment I got out of that class will help propel me towards pursuing other hobbies.

There are clearly times when it is a good thing to allow stuff to accumulate: the pursuits of expression and creativity, physical activities, and things that enable pure happiness to be achieved. Rewiring my brain to embrace that concept is definitely going to be an ongoing uphill battle.

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