The Haunting of a Hobby

Many years ago my work life involved a lot of air travel, often on a 3.5-4 hour haul back and forth to Las Vegas to work with marketing teams of hotel properties.  This may sound a bit glamorous but as an introvert who prefers quiet, lets just say Vegas was not my jam haha.  One particular trip, I boarded my flight home where I settled into the window seat. I put my earbuds in and cracked open my book…the universal code for, “I’m not up for conversation”.  Not long after I settled in, a man plopped down in the seat next to me and I could almost feel it coming.  He did not read the room.  Or maybe he didn’t care about the room??  Either way, he was determined to strike up a conversation with me. He first asked me what book I was reading.  I was sure this was my way out the conversation as the name of my book was “Woman Code” which is all about our cycles and women’s health.  Alas he was not deterred in the slightest and proclaimed that his wife would probably enjoy the book as well.  He went on to ask me about my work and why I was in Las Vegas and revealed to me that he was the principal of a middle school in Nashville (this probably explains so much! haha).  The next question on this social journey was one that would bother me for years to come.  He asked me what I did for fun or for a hobby.  I was completely stumped and frozen.  As a single mom with four young children, working full time, which often involved travel, I really had no answer for him.  It felt like I should have a list of hobbies readily available but my tongue was tied and I can’t even recall what I told him but I’m sure I just made something up. This man had no idea that this question would haunt me for years to come.  

As you can imagine, his question launched me into a funky head space for the remainder of the flight and maybe even the rest of that week.  Was I really that boring of a person?  Did I even know who I was anymore?  Had motherhood swallowed me whole and I had completely lost myself?  Sleeping felt like my hobby at that point in my life, haha!  Did I even know what a hobby was anymore?  A quick google search yielded this definition:  an activity done regularly in one’s leisure time for pleasure.  So by that definition, yes, sleeping and washing my hair were my life hobbies, lol.  This felt like a desperate situation but also one I was just too tired to dedicate much time or energy to but it would continue to come in and out of my thoughts for years to come.  

Had I really ever had a hobby?

Throughout the years that followed that flight home, this conversation has entered my mind so many times and I have also considered the idea of hobbies in my life as a whole.  In high school we moved a lot so it felt like my forever hobby was trying to make new friends and keep some sort of social life although I would argue that was possibly more pain than pleasure, haha.  Then the college years came and my studies took over a huge part of my time and mental space and my life.  In our down time or leisure time my friends and I would watch favorite TV shows or bake and simply enjoy each other’s company. There was a lot of pleasure and I think about those years fondly.

I was married straight from the college days and at that point we moved again and then my days were filled with acclimating to a new city and a new marriage.  In my leisure time I would run and work on new friendships; that seems like a mixed bag.  It wasn’t long into my marriage when I unexpectedly discovered we were going to be parents.  Baby number one was on its way and we had once again moved to a new city.  More acclimating to a new place and new people. 

In my season of young motherhood I remember a few things, although so much was a blur.  I loved hosting my new friends at our house for gatherings and loved a good detail.  That was definitely my hobby and my outlet as a first time mom trying to get my footing in this new adventure.  But as life moved onward and we moved once more and added more babies, I no longer had the energy or as much time or interest in the details of hosting. The things that seemed to interest me in that season of life was making my home beautiful and comfortable for myself and my family and making sure my kids were growing and healthy, cooking good food and just enjoying life.  Nothing wild.  No unique list of hobbies could be listed or identified.  My life felt full with my kids, a marriage, play dates, the occasional mom’s night out and developing my foodie taste buds. 

Fast forward to my season of single motherhood.  I think it’s pretty safe to say that there were a number of months and maybe even a couple years where my “hobby” was quite literally just trying to get my bearings again.  It was simply survival.  Life changed exponentially.  I went from staying home with my four kids and homeschooling the older two, to living in a new place, working full time and juggling all the single parent things.  Enter, man on plane, unknowingly and innocently asking me an existential question.  

Redefining a hobby

While I’ve considered and been bugged by this man’s question over the years, I’ve come to understand that often our hobbies change over time.  This doesn’t mean that we’ve lost ourselves or don’t know who we are. And also, a hobby doesn’t have to be a big deal!  Perhaps you are lucky enough to have a particular hobby that has remained somewhat the same throughout all of your life seasons. I think that’s a lovely thing. I would venture a guess that most of us probably fall into the first category.

In learning about the enneagram, I’ve realized that personality type can play a big part in this as well.  I’m an enneagram 9 which means I tend to “go with the flow” and not think much about my own desires. This is probably part of the reason why this man’s question about my interesting hobbies struck such a nerve with me. My nature is to inwardly prioritize a peaceful environment and thought life. Moving, marriage, and having kids are all really big life events and for me, those have taken up a lot of energy but I have also found my bits of pleasure within them.  I didn’t understand it at the time but his question exposed a deep desire I had, that in reality, I had never really explored and I didn’t have an answer for.  My enneagram 9-ness was on full display and I felt a bit sad about what I saw.  It reminded me that my own interests were important and valuable and worth considering too.

All these years later, I am now thankful for that persistent man.  God uses the funniest of circumstances sometimes. I think often we enter into adulthood and its just so easy to keep our heads down, moving forward and we forget to look up and slow down and enjoy life. I’ve slowly learned that this has to be intentional.  Life doesn’t slow down, we have to choose that.  We rarely find ourselves with a magical chunk of leisure time to enjoy an activity that gives us pleasure.  I also don’t think this has to be something epic.  I used to feel like this needed to be some kind of list of passions. It doesn’t.  And really what more is a hobby than doing the things that fill your cup.  These days for me that looks like dinner out at a really good restaurant with a friend, making a batch of cinnamon rolls, planning a girls trip, putting on my pajamas early, pouring a glass of my favorite wine and watching a show I enjoy.  So if you are sitting smack in the middle of motherhood or adulthood, perhaps feeling a bit like you’ve lost yourself, you are in good company. Sometimes the best things are in the small things.  Grace for the journey.  

Big hugs


Adulting, Featured




The Haunting of a Hobby

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