by Michele Redmon
When I was single, hobbies and personal endeavors took priority over nearly everything. I loved to write poetry, take photographs, devour classic literature and explore old cemeteries and abandoned buildings. (On an obvious side note I did not have many friends.)
Becoming a wife and mother were choices I made, unprepared for the subtle riptide that would carry me further and further from myself. After I had children there was a perceptible shift in priorities, demoting creative pursuits from the most important thing in my life to the least. I remained an avid reader, but family obligations took up the space my hobbies once occupied. I put my own dreams and interests on hold for so long I nearly forgot what they were and on more than one occasion, when asked what I enjoyed doing, I could not think of a response.
My first few years of motherhood were punctuated with periods of depression, anxiety and feelings of dissatisfaction and guilt. When I expressed these feelings the most common suggestion I heard was, “Try going to they gym.” (Because if you’re unhappy it MUST be related to your waistline.)
It took me years to discover that what I really needed was to get reacquainted with myself. I started small, planting a garden and watching it grow into something beautiful. I was never one for the gym but I started walking and riding my bike to clear my mind. I began writing again and am slowly releasing my grip on the notion that my worth is determined solely by how others perceive me as a wife and mother or how successful I am in my career.
We have been conditioned to place the highest value on activities that offer a physical or financial return, yet most of us have learned from experience that when we neglect the spirit, everything else falls apart. Therefore I propose that we make this the year of the hobby. I know “hobby” is a cheesy word that brings to mind all sorts of seemingly trivial activities, but ultimately it’s about personal fulfillment. By reconnecting with pursuits we let fall away because we were, “too busy” or finding new interests that make us feel electric, our lives will change.
Happiness changes everything!
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