Monday, December 17, 2012

A Hobby or Two

I think I'm what you call impressionable. I often see something (normally something of a creative or imaginative nature) and find myself attempting it a short time later. It could be the line in a song, a music video or a character in a movie that gets me started on a tangent. I learn about it and I add my own flair. I don't know what it is about me, but I find myself collecting hobbies all the time.
It wasn't such a strange thing in the Victorian era for someone to have a fair few hobbies. Women were taught to play piano and draw and read and sing. But, now if I care to list all that I do with my time I fear the people I meet may think of me as a try-hard, an over-achiever, an intimidating little witch... The thing is though, that I'm not great at all of the things that I do, and I know it. I'm not in airy-fairy land, I just do things that I enjoy regardless of how well I do them, And, I stay behind closed doors when I do.
When I told someone that I had learned to  play the guitar (and I made a point of saying not well), they wanted to introduce me to electric and base and a whole bunch of brilliant guitar players that I could aspire to one day share the ranks (or the bar) with. Don't get me wrong, I love playing my acoustic guitar, but that love doesn't extend past a few easy chord progressions involving "open" chords. Is it so strange to want to stay at a certain level - to not excel any further? After all, hobbies are for enjoying...
Along with playing the guitar (quite basically) I play the keyboard (with even less skill), I paint and draw pictures (have you seen the background photo for my blog?), I attempt to dance in the contemporary style (I took 9 years worth of dance classes, trust me, they don't count for much as far as technique is concerned...), I like to read books (obviously), sew/crochet when I feel like it and generally become infatuated with certain movie stars or musicians to the point that they fill up my tumblr (but, no I don't get their names tattooed on my bottom). And, then there are other things that, well, I don't even know if they are hobbies. Is a website a hobby? Is the concept of "vintage" a hobby?
So as you can probably guess, I spend an awful lot of time doing things I'd like to be doing, rather than having to be doing. But, it's probably less time than you think, after all, I'm not focusing on them too hard. One afternoon I might say "Oh, I'll play the guitar today", and that could last anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour depending on the mood I'm in. But, what annoys me is when I hear people talking about not having enough time for hobbies, or even worse, pretending there is no such thing.
I work in a customer service position, so I overhear an awful lot of conversations. There are two conversations that I often hear that bother me:
1. "She won't know what to do with herself now that she isn't working?"
2. "Aren't you going to have any more kids? Won't you get lonely?"
Let me firstly make it clear that I do not have anything against women that want to have a large family, that is fine, that is their choice. I don't have any problems with older women who decide to work provided they actually need the money. What bothers me, is when an older woman gets a job for the sake of having something to do. Or when older people think that the mother of a small family will get bored when her children go to school. Do hobbies not exist?
If you need something to do, but have a fair bit of money saved up, or a husband with a high income, then go work in a charity store. They need volunteers. Get a library card. Hire out some movies, attend a baking class, get a personal trainer, go bowling or learn how to recover sofas. Surely there is something out there for you to do, where you won't take a job away from someone who genuinely needs one. And as for mothers of soon-to-be school age children or the people who are judging them, there are hobbies out there. The Mother could go back to work if she wishes, further her education, stay at home and start a scrap-booking album, buy a dog...
Obviously the thing about having so many hobbies is that you have to sometimes choose between the things you want to do and the things you need to do. Often the To-do-list gets forgotten and I end up on the computer instead of actually cleaning my room, or doing the dishes, or giving the dog a bath.
There are a few other pros and cons in regards to having a few hobbies. I think that my hobbies. My wanting to watch a new retro movie or episode of charmed at night, my plans to finish that book and write about it, effect my ability to socialize with people outside of my house and computer. I'm not a very social person, and this adds to that.
On the other hand, not socializing works out very cheap for me. A fair few people have said to me about how they wish they could save money like I do. It's simple. I live with my parents (rent is cheaper than board and bills), I don't go to the movies that often (unless it's for a major film), I don't go out and drink, I don't go out and eat takeaway, And, I am very particular about what I buy and what I pay for. Most of this, is because I'd rather be reading or dancing or painting, and the money to support those hobbies is less than what I'd need to pay to socialize.

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