The Hobby That Won't Go Away

I have no hobbies …so I thought…

I do things. Go to work, walk the dog, empty the dishwasher, do the laundry, pickup the house, cook the meals and find things. I am really good at finding lost things like iPhones, keys, socks, and a certain 13 year old boy’s homework.

I do try activities to see if I can like it enough to turn it into a leisurely habit.

I’ve tried felting and made a miniature, grey hedgehog. Felting is taking strips of felt and molding it into shapes by jabbing a needle into the felt over and over. The key is to not stab your fingers, which I did, over and over. I like my little hedgehog. He resembles a lumpy potato. I am not sure what I am going to do with him so he sits in a closet along with the felting kit of seven little gnomes I bought in a fleeting moment when I thought I might felt again. That was nearly a year ago.

I once submerged my body into icy water in the middle of February. It was dusk, the water ink black with shards of ice floating on the surface. I couldn’t see the bottom of the lake and wondered if I’d come up from the black hole. It was a one and done episode, no more polar bear swims for me.

I made a vision board to help me map out some hobbies. It was a workshop I signed up for and I hoped the facilitator would say the magic prompt that would weed out the epiphany I craved. But the teacher just flipped through magazines and snipped out photos and fancy fonts and glued together her own vision board. I tried to read all the tattoo sayings she had inked on her arms to find some inspiration,” My life is my art, My art is my life. … Too wild to live, too rare to die. …” But that didn’t work. I did clip out a recipe I might try.

My nightstand is chuck full of books I plan to read. I have read the first four chapters of Meg Wolitzer’s Female Persuasion five times this year. I either fall asleep or my mind drifts off until I realize I am at chapter five and don’t recall what I just read.

Consuming chocolate chip ice cream while watching Living Single is enjoyable. Living Single is an underrated sitcom from the 90s with Queen Latifah and Facts of Life’s Tootie. I want to be with the girls, getting ready to go clubbing with Overton and Kyle, decked out in some over-sized shoulder pads. They should do a reboot reunion and have the cast come back to celebrate their 50th birthdays. I’d tune in for that — me and my ice cream.

I even Googled popular hobbies for 50 and older. Golf. Owned two sets of clubs in my early 30s and took lessons. I like the green grass and driving in a golf cart, but that is about it. Jazzercise. I do Cross Fit to off set the chocolate chip ice cream. Hiking. I do go for nature walks with my dog Rocco. Needle point. The felting confirmed I don’t like needles.

The fact is, there is a 300 page hobby with a decade’s worth of dust on it that I can’t ignore any longer. My search for hobbies is just a distraction to keep me from sitting on a hard chair and finishing this book. It’s like the novel’s characters sit on my shoulders, poking me with a felting needle asking, “how’s it all going to end? Make us do something? We have things to say still!” It’s the 13 year old girl in me who wrote her first book during 8th grade Home Economics that I owe this hobby to. So today, alone in my house, I scrapped all the plans to try gardening or quilting or binge watching Netflix. I sat on a hard chair, read the 300 page book I wrote and realized it wasn’t as terrible as I remembered it. It was pretty good. With five more chapters, a few holes to fill and some inconsistencies to correct I might have a complete book ready for my next hobby pursuit … finding an agent.

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