The other day someone asked me a completely benign question that sent me reeling. She said, “What do you do in your spare time? You know, what are your hobbies?” I blinked, blinked again, and stared blankly back at her. I had absolutely NO IDEA how to answer that question.
What are your hobbies?
My mind went back to all the times I had quickly responded to this question with a whole host of fun things I did in my spare time like skiing, camping, reading, or cooking. I thought back to the Friday nights my husband and I packed up our camping gear on a whim after work and headed out with friends to enjoy the weekend away in the mountains. I remembered all of the Saturdays we spent blazing down snow-covered mountains on our skis and snowboards. There were those fun concerts with friends, nights out laughing and enjoying great food, and rainy afternoons spent reading, sewing, or baking. But, in that moment, when asked what my hobbies are… I couldn’t think of anything I had done recently. I realized that my hobbies had become my kids… my family.
As I think back over the last few years, (let’s be honest – it’s probably 10 years) my spare time has been spent picking up toys, running loads of laundry, dropping one kid at volleyball practice while the other kid is at jiu-jitsu, and making sure we have something in the crockpot for dinner when we all make it back home. My hobbies and “spare time” activities have been raising my kids and taking care of my family. And while I wouldn’t change it for the world, I think maybe it is time for a change.
See, I’m in a new phase of my life.
My kids no longer need me to be with them, helping them 24/7. They can make their own snacks to eat, entertain themselves, and – when asked – fold their own socks and underwear. This phase of life is bewildering and yet, liberating. I am no longer totally defined by motherhood. I have time to explore what makes me happy and what I’m passionate about as a 40-something-year-old woman.
So, I’m out looking, searching for what makes my heart sing and not just what fills time between school drop off and lunch dates.
And although it feels a bit like dating at times, I’m open to trying a few hobbies on for size and seeing what grabs me. I’m revisiting some things that made me happy as a child and young adult to see if that is still who I am, and I’m opening up my mind to new areas I’ve never heard of before. I’m free to reawaken and remake my interests. I may not find my new hobby today or next month, but I’m allowing myself the time and energy to explore and reinvent myself.
Coming back to the question that started it all—what I do in my spare time… My answer is I don’t know…yet. But, right now, I’m a busy mom and happy wife looking for a passion and a hobby to call my own. I’m in the middle of my hobby remodel, so please excuse the mess.