When I was in middle school, my mom took me to see our family doctor concerning a large lump that she noticed on the back of my neck. The lump didn’t hurt and, considering I was a quickly and inconsistently growing pre-teen, it didn’t seem all that unusual to me. But to my mom, it looked like it could be a cancerous tumor, or a bone growing incorrectly, or the beginning of my humiliating yet inevitable journey to starring in the live-action Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Because it was important to my mom, it was a major ordeal getting me to the doctor ASAP-- like, a “getting taken out of school”-type of affair. And despite being my talkative self (nothing’s really changed since middle school), my mom spoke to the doctor on my behalf and I couldn’t get a word in edgewise. The doctor examined my neck, my posture, checked me for scoliosis, the whole shebang.
“I’ve figured out what the problem is,” he said.
Then, he turned to face my mom. “You need to get a hobby.”
She was worried for NOTHING. This story is infamous in my family, and still comes up in conversation regularly. Any time my mom fixates on something in my life, “you need to get a hobby” is the perfect rebuttal. It’s also the perfect comeback when my internal critic’s voice gets loud, or when life’s stressors seem to “level up.” Maybe a more comprehensive and research-backed statement: hobbies can reduce our stress (and even our depression!).
Quarantine is the perfect example. Possibly my favorite outcomes of the past year are the activities I did to combat the endless twists and turns of 2020’s nauseating emotional rollercoaster:
🕺 Learning a few Tiktok dances (“I’m a savage… classic, boujee, ratchet 🤪”);
🏃♂️ Walking outside on my lunch breaks and after work;
📚 Picking up and finishing a book (actually, several books) like I’ve been fantasizing about for a few years now;
🎨 Painting two walls in my apartment;
💄 Dabbling in skincare and makeup;
🪴 Taking care of houseplants and even learning a bit of vegetable gardening;
🐶 Did I mention I adopted a puppy who is now my whole world?
I set aside everything stressing me out and allowed myself to not be productive. Some might call this a “radical act of self-love,” others might call it a complete waste of time. I’m sure it falls somewhere in
the middle. What I do know is that, despite everything the past year has thrown at me/ us, I am happier and healthier than I have ever been (and I had COVID, so that’s really saying something).
My point is: hobbies are good for us and the lump on your neck is probably nothing more than your C7 vertebra.
BTW, the responses to last week’s post on taking baby steps to achieve the greatest amount of success with the least chance of failure were great! Many of us are looking for ways to progress beyond the traumas of the past year. As promised, I’ll be checking in today with those of you who reached out.
I would love to know what your hobbies are. Did you start a hobby this year? Maybe you picked up an instrument, you started hiking… maybe you had a baby, and that baby is your hobby? (I don’t know how babies work, so forgive me). Respond below and let’s talk about it!
Let’s get it (together),